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ERIC Number: EJ1043337
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2014-Oct
Pages: 11
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 43
ISSN: ISSN-0021-9584
Investigating Quantum Mechanical Tunneling at the Nanoscale via Analogy: Development and Assessment of a Teaching Tool for Upper-Division Chemistry
Muniz, Marc N.; Oliver-Hoyo, Maria T.
Journal of Chemical Education, v91 n10 p1546-1556 Oct 2014
We report a novel educational activity designed to teach quantum mechanical tunneling to upper-division undergraduate students in the context of nanochemistry. The activity is based on a theoretical framework for analogy and is split into three parts that are linked pedagogically through the framework: classical ball-and-ramp system, tunneling involving a familiar substance (NH3 inversion), and tunneling in core/shell quantum dots. Students first begin in the classical world--the world within which they are most familiar, explore tunneling in the NH[subscript 3] inversion paradigm to gain exposure to the stark differences between classical and quantum behavior, and finally extend the concept of tunneling to the nanoscale through the examination of spectroscopic results in the literature of CdSe/ZnS core/shell quantum dots. Additionally, the activity has been assessed via a mixed-methods approach using qualitative analysis of individual student interviews (pre-and postactivity) and recordings of students' group discourse, along with small-sample statistical techniques when appropriate. Our findings suggest that students are able to successfully incorporate the language of quantum mechanical tunneling into their scientific language, and there is evidence for analogical transfer between relevant concepts within the activity.
Division of Chemical Education, Inc and ACS Publications Division of the American Chemical Society. 1155 Sixteenth Street NW, Washington, DC 20036. Tel: 800-227-5558; Tel: 202-872-4600; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: National Science Foundation
Authoring Institution: N/A
IES Grant or Contract Numbers: DUE-1043529