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Wave particle duality

How to apprehend the duality

   Category: matter and particles
Updated October 07, 2014

This popularization video of Tout est quantique is a modern interpretation of wave-particle duality.

How to interpret this experience?

  Iron atoms seen by a scanning tunneling microscope

Image: On this image of about 5 millionth of a millimeter one can count 48 iron atoms that behave like waves.
In reality, we do not see atoms but the representation pictured in the visible that the eye can interpret, the measurement of very small electric currents passing through the tip of a tunneling microscope moving above the atoms.
© IBM Almaden Visualization Lab

The double-slit experiment of Thomas Young (1773-1829), dates from 1821. It is a physics experiment that involves interfering two beams of light from the same source.
This experiment made with photons has since been carried out with all the particles. With electrons in the 1920s, with neutrons in the 1950s, with atoms in the 1980s and with molecules in the 1990s.
All microscopic particles show quantum aspects and are likely to interfere as in the Young experiment.

Quantum mechanics describes the fundamental physical phenomena at work at the atomic and subatomic scale. It was developed in the early twentieth century by a dozen physicists whose Planck, Einstein, Heisenberg, Bohr, de Broglie, Schrödinger, Feynman to solve various problems such as black body radiation, the photoelectric effect, or existence of spectral lines. Quantum mechanics proved so fruitful that it solved the mystery of the structure of the atom. It also describes the behavior of elementary particles and is the foundation of modern physics.

An interference is a superposition of two vibratory phenomena of neighboring frequencies.
Interference is the combination of two interacting waves (light waves, electromagnetic waves, sound waves, etc.).
Like the waves, the waves split and combine.
When a wave passes through two slits, it splits first in two and then the two resulting waves meet and the ridges and hollows combine. Two ridges that meet form a larger ridge, two hollows that meet form a larger hollow and when a ridge and a hollow meet, they cancel each other out. The ridges and troughs create a succession of bands, what is called an interference pattern.

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