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 Question 1026

 What is zero point energy? — AWG, Karachi, Pakistan
All objects in our universe have wave-like characteristics that manifest themselves in certain circumstances. These wave-like characteristics become more significant as objects become smaller. Their wave-like characteristics allow small particles to have ill-defined locations. To understand what I mean by "ill-defined locations", consider a wave on the surface of a lake. There is no one point at which this wave is located—it is located over a region of the water's surface. Waves don't have well defined locations. Similarly, if you observe an electron, which is really a wave, there is no one point at which that electron is located—it is located over a region of space. Because of the detailed relationships between wavelength, frequency, and energy, the smaller the region of space in which the electron-wave can be found, the higher its energy must be. Thus an electron that is localized at all—that is known to be within a certain region of space—must have a certain minimum energy, even if it is stationary. This minimum energy is called zero point energy and it is a consequence of trying to localize the particle within a certain region of space. Since the zero point energy is a base level and can't be reduced, you can't use zero point energy to do anything useful. It's just there.