Home Discussion Forum Can quantum tunneling really push a massless particle beyond the light barrier?

Can quantum tunneling really push a massless particle beyond the light barrier?


  1. You should know that nobody can answer that since that theory is still in it’s experimental stages. But I sure believe in it. 😉

  2. it is funny. what are we pushing — a massless particle ?
    I just pushed ‘nothing’ beyond the light barrier/ to the future.
    however, we cannot see “nothing” and it is too fast.

  3. Tunneling relies on the annihilation / creation of particle pairs and statistical mechanics. It has nothing to do with anything physically ‘moving’ anywhere.

  4. No, nothing can go beyond the light barrier. Tunneling involves a quantum wave function expanding beyond one classically allowed regime into another. That wave function can not travel faster than light. Though the particle can, to some extent travel from one location to another at the instant it tunnels, it would have to not be ‘observed’ for enough time for the wave function to expand across that distance. That is to say, you would not be able to know where the particle was long enough for it to have traveled at the speed of light across that distance.
    Of course, we could never verify this because tunneling requires traveling through a classically forbidden region, where the wave function falls off exponentially. That is to say, the probability of tunneling decreases very very quickly with the distance that needs to be tunneled. So any tunneling that occurs occurs over very short distances, where time-resolving is not really practical and speeds can not be measured.
    I’m not sure what Doug is saying. Photons can tunnel from a fiber optic into the whispering gallery mode of a toroidal disk, which is something physical (a photon) going from one location to another. And they have BEC’s that tunnel, which is an atom going from one place to another. Seems physical enough for me.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here