How does kinetic molecular theory relate to absolute zero?

1 Answer

According to Kinetic Molecular Theory, molecules have no kinetic energy at absolute zero.

See How does the temperature of absolute zero relate to the kinetic energy of a substance?

If the molecules have no kinetic energy, they have no translational motion.

However, according to quantum mechanics, all particles have a zero-point energy, even at absolute zero.

The Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle requires some motion even at absolute zero.

If there were no motion, we would know simultaneously the position and the momentum of the particle. The Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle forbids this.

Thus, there is some motion even at absolute zero.

At atmospheric pressure, liquid helium does not freeze at any temperature because of its zero-point energy.

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