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In physics, the Planck length, denoted P, is a unit of length that is the distance light travels in one unit of Planck time. It is equal to 1.616229(38)×10−35 m.[1] It is a base unit in the system of Planck units, developed by physicist Max Planck. The Planck length can be defined from three fundamental physical constants: the speed of light in a vacuum, the Planck constant, and the gravitational constant.

Planck length
Unit systemPlanck units
Unit oflength
SymbolP
Conversions
1 P in ...... is equal to ...
   SI units   1.616229(38)×10−35 m
   natural units   11.706 S
3.0542×10−25 a0
   imperial/US units   6.3631×10−34 in

Contents

ValueEdit

The Planck length P is defined as:

 

Solving the above will show the approximate equivalent value of this unit with respect to the meter:

 

where   is the speed of light in a vacuum, G is the gravitational constant, and ħ is the reduced Planck constant. The two digits enclosed by parentheses are the estimated standard error associated with the reported numerical value.[2][3]

The Planck length is about 10−20 times the diameter of a proton.[4] It can be defined using the radius of the hypothesized Planck particle.

HistoryEdit

In 1899 Max Planck suggested that there existed some fundamental natural units for length, mass, time and energy.[5][6] These he derived using dimensional analysis, using only the Newton gravitational constant, the speed of light and the "unit of action", which later became the Planck constant. The natural units he further derived became known as the "Planck length", the "Planck mass", the "Planck time" and the "Planck energy".

Theoretical significanceEdit

The Planck length is the scale at which quantum gravitational effects are believed to begin to be apparent, where interactions require a working theory of quantum gravity to be analyzed.[7] The Planck area is the area by which the surface of a spherical black hole increases when the black hole swallows one bit of information.[dubious ][8] To measure anything the size of Planck length, the photon momentum needs to be very large due to Heisenberg's uncertainty principle and so much energy in such a small space would create a tiny Black hole with the diameter of its event horizon equal to a Planck length.

The main role in quantum gravity will be played by the uncertainty principle  , where   is the gravitational radius,   is the radial coordinate,   is the Planck length. This uncertainty principle is another form of Heisenberg's uncertainty principle between momentum and coordinate as applied to the Planck scale. Indeed, this ratio can be written as follows:  , where   is the gravitational constant,   is body mass,   is the speed of light,   is the reduced Planck constant. Reducing identical constants from two sides, we get the Heisenberg's uncertainty principle  . Uncertainty principle   predicts the appearance of virtual black holes and wormholes (quantum foam) on the Planck scale.[9][10] Any attempt to investigate the possible existence of shorter distances, by performing higher-energy collisions, would inevitably result in black hole production. Higher-energy collisions, rather than splitting matter into finer pieces, would simply produce bigger black holes.[11] A decrease in   will result in an increase in   and vice versa.

The Planck length is sometimes misconceived as the minimum length of space-time, but this is not accepted by conventional physics, as this would require violation or modification of Lorentz symmetry.[7] However, certain theories of loop quantum gravity do attempt to establish a minimum length on the scale of the Planck length, though not necessarily the Planck length itself,[7] or attempt to establish the Planck length as observer-invariant, known as doubly special relativity.

The strings of string theory are modeled to be on the order of the Planck length.[7][12] In theories of large extra dimensions, the Planck length has no fundamental physical significance, and quantum gravitational effects appear at other scales.[citation needed]

Planck length and Euclidean geometryEdit

The Planck length is the length at which quantum zero oscillations of the gravitational field completely distort Euclidean geometry.[13] The gravitational field performs zero-point oscillations, and the geometry associated with it also oscillates. The ratio of the circumference to the radius varies near the Euclidean value. The smaller the scale, the greater the deviations from the Euclidean geometry. Let us estimate the order of the wavelength of zero gravitational oscillations, at which the geometry becomes completely unlike the Euclidean geometry. The degree of deviation   of geometry from Euclidean geometry in the gravitational field is determined by the ratio of the gravitational potential   and the square of the speed of light  :  . When  , the geometry is close to Euclidean geometry; for  , all similarities disappear. The energy of the oscillation of scale   is equal to   (where   is the order of the oscillation frequency). The gravitational potential created by the mass  , at this length is  , where   is the constant of universal gravitation. Instead of  , we must substitute a mass, which, according to Einstein's formula, corresponds to the energy   (where  ). We get  . Dividing this expression by  , we obtain the value of the deviation  . Equating  , we find the length at which the Euclidean geometry is completely distorted. It is equal to Planck length  .[14][jargon]

As noted in,[15] "for the space-time region with dimensions   the uncertainty of the Christoffel symbols   be of the order of  , and the uncertainty of the metric tensor   is of the order of  . If   is a macroscopic length, the quantum constraints are fantastically small and can be neglected even on atomic scales. If the value   is comparable to  , then the maintenance of the former (usual) concept of space becomes more and more difficult and the influence of micro curvature becomes obvious". Conjecturally, this could imply that space-time becomes a quantum foam at the Planck scale.[16]

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "CODATA Value: Planck length". The NIST Reference on Constants, Units, and Uncertainty. US National Institute of Standards and Technology. June 2015. Retrieved 2017-06-22. 2014 CODATA recommended values
  2. ^ John Baez, The Planck Length
  3. ^ "Planck length". NIST. Archived from the original on 22 November 2018. Retrieved 7 January 2019.
  4. ^ "The Planck Length". www.math.ucr.edu. Retrieved 2018-12-16.
  5. ^ M. Planck. Naturlische Masseinheiten. Der Koniglich Preussischen Akademie Der Wissenschaften, p. 479, 1899
  6. ^ Gorelik, Gennady (1992). "First Steps of Quantum Gravity and the Planck Values". Boston University. Retrieved 7 January 2019.
  7. ^ a b c d Klotz, Alex (2015-09-09). "A Hand-Wavy Discussion of the Planck Length". Physics Forums Insights. Retrieved 2018-03-23.
  8. ^ Bekenstein, Jacob D (1973). "Black Holes and Entropy". Physical Review D. 7 (8): 2333–2346. Bibcode:1973PhRvD...7.2333B. doi:10.1103/PhysRevD.7.2333.
  9. ^ Charles W. Misner, Kip S. Thorne, John Archibald Wheeler "Gravitation", Publisher W. H. Freeman, Princeton University Press, (pp.1190-1194,1198-1201)
  10. ^ Klimets AP, Philosophy Documentation Center, Western University-Canada, 2017, pp.25-28
  11. ^ Bernard J. Carr and Steven B. Giddings "Quantum Black Holes", Scientific American, Vol. 292, No. 5, MAY 2005, (pp. 48-55)
  12. ^ Cliff Burgess; Fernando Quevedo (November 2007). "The Great Cosmic Roller-Coaster Ride". Scientific American (print). Scientific American, Inc. p. 55.
  13. ^ Migdal A.B., The quantum physics, Nauka, pp. 116-117, (1989)
  14. ^ Migdal, A B (1985-10-31). "Niels Bohr and quantum physics". Soviet Physics Uspekhi. 28 (10): 910–934. doi:10.1070/pu1985v028n10abeh003951. ISSN 0038-5670.
  15. ^ T. Regge, Nuovo Cim. 7, 215 (1958). Gravitational fields and quantum mechanics
  16. ^ Wheeler, J. A. (January 1955). "Geons". Physical Review. 97 (2): 511–536. Bibcode:1955PhRv...97..511W. doi:10.1103/PhysRev.97.511.

BibliographyEdit

External linksEdit