In quantum physics
, a quantum fluctuation
is the temporary change in the amount of energy in a point in space, arising from Werner Heisenberg
's Uncertainty Principle
According to one formulation of the principle,
energy and time can be related by the relation
That means that conservation of energy can appear to be violated, but only for small times. This allows the creation of particle-antiparticle pairs of virtual particles.
The effects of this particles are measurable, for example, in the effective charge of the electron, different from its "naked" charge.
In the modern view, energy is always conserved, but the eigenstates of the Hamiltonian (energy observable) aren't the same (don't commute) with the particle number operators.
Quantum fluctuations may have been very important in the origin of the structure of the universe: according to the model of inflation the ones that existed when inflation began were amplified and formed the seed of all current observed structure.