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19
votes
7answers
2k views

Is the wave-particle duality a real duality?

I often hear about the wave-particle duality, and how particles exhibit properties of both particles and waves. I most recently heard this in this video. However, I wonder; is this actually a duality? ...
19
votes
2answers
697 views

What is a phonon?

I am trying to understand intuitively what a phonon is, but for the moment I find it quite difficult (having a limited background in quantum mechanics, an undergraduate course in non-relativistic QM). ...
13
votes
7answers
2k views

Does electron in wave form have mass?

I heard from my lecturer that electron has dual nature. For that instance in young's double slit experiment electron exhibits as a particle at ends but it acts as a wave in between the ends. It under ...
12
votes
4answers
745 views

Are the Maxwell equations a correct description of the wave character of photons?

In basic quantum mechanics courses, one describes the evolution of quantum mechanics chronologically. Interference experiments with particles showed that particles should have a wave character; on the ...
11
votes
4answers
1k views

Does the uncertainty principle apply to photons?

Wikipedia claims the following: More generally, the normal concept of a Schrödinger probability wave function cannot be applied to photons. Being massless, they cannot be localized without being ...
8
votes
4answers
762 views

$\lambda=\frac{2h}{p}$?

I am studying quantum physics and there is something I don't understand: I know that for any particle $E=hf$ (Einstein relation) and $v=\lambda f$ ($v$ is the speed of the particle). I also know that ...
7
votes
7answers
843 views

Why can't we have a wave of particles?

I understand the nature of light can be complex and has extensive theories/experimental data. We hear light can be both a wave and particle, so why can't it be both, a wave of particles?
7
votes
4answers
540 views

Quantum Wave Mechanics

I am studying QM-I these days. Now, I just think of the wave function as just a mathematical function that defines the state of the particle at an instant and from it you can extract various ...
7
votes
4answers
2k views

Why is the speed-of-light “the upper limit” rather than the speed of “particle type X”?

Basically, I can't stop wondering why light (the photon) is so special, compared to all the other particles known (and unknown) to modern day physics. Could it be that there exists an upper limit on ...
6
votes
7answers
3k views

Why does observation collapse the wave function?

In one of the first lectures on QM we are always taught about Young's experiment and how particles behave either as waves or as particles depending on whether or not they are being observed. I want to ...
6
votes
1answer
138 views

Will a football (soccer) diffract?

Apparently all objects have wavelike properties, so, if we kick a football (soccer ball, if you must) through a pair of posts, does the ball in any sense diffract? If this is ridiculous then let me ...
6
votes
2answers
2k views

De Broglie wavelength, frequency and velocity - interpretation

Two fundamental equations regarding wave-particle duality are: $$ \lambda = \frac{h}{p}, \\ \nu = E/h .$$ We talk about de Broglie wavelength, is it meaningful to talk about de Broglie frequency ...
6
votes
3answers
905 views

Electrons - What is Waving?

If an electron is a wave, what is waving? So many answers on the internet say "the probability that a particle will be at a particular location"... so... the electron is a physical manifestation of ...
6
votes
2answers
909 views

How can a Photon have a “frequency”?

I picture light ray as a composition of photons with an energy equal to the frequency of the light ray according to $E=hf$. Is this the good way to picture this? Although I can solve elementary ...
6
votes
1answer
432 views

How to tell theoretically whether an electron behaves as wave or particle

I have seen many questions on SE on the dual nature of electrons behaving in certain circumstances as particles and as waves in some other circumstance. There is one thing I couldn't get a clear ...
5
votes
5answers
808 views

What do we actually mean when we say that matter is a wave?

What do we actually mean when we say that matter is a wave? What does the wavelength of this matter wave indicate? The idea of a particle behaving like a wave is kinda incomprehensible to me. ...
5
votes
4answers
829 views

What does a de Broglie wave look like?

What does a de Broglie wave look like? Are de Broglie waves transverse or longitudinal? Can they be polarized? What about the de Broglie wave of a ground state neutral spin-zero Helium 4 atom? ...
5
votes
2answers
266 views

Why does light diffract only through slits?

We can see diffraction of light if we allow light to pass through a slit, but why doesn't diffraction occur if we obstruct light using some other object, say a block? Why are shadows formed? Why ...
5
votes
2answers
209 views

How does the frequency of a particle manifest itself?

In terms of wave-particle duality for, let's say a photon; how would the frequency practically manifest/demonstrate itself? Like, i understand that the frequency is related to the energy a particle ...
5
votes
3answers
248 views

How can particles travel in a straight line?

A particle can be set off in a certain direction by giving them momentum. Momentum is a vector, so the particle heads off in a specific direction. But the wave function of the particle allows it to ...
5
votes
0answers
85 views

Anyons as particles?

I'm trying to understand the basics of anyons physics. I understand there is neither a Fock space they live in (because Fock is just the space of (anti-)symmetrized tensor product state, see e.g. ...
4
votes
4answers
774 views

What does it mean (how is it visualized) for a particle to act as a wave?

I have no background in physics. This isn't for homework, just for interest. In quantum physics, it's described that a particle can act as both a particle and a wave. Quoted from HowStuffWorks ...
4
votes
2answers
652 views

Matter waves - DeBroglie's relations

I am currently studying from Modern Physics for Scientists and Engineers by Taylor et al. They derive the DeBroglie relation $p=h/\lambda$ from setting mass $m=0$ in the energy-momentum relation ...
4
votes
4answers
234 views

Slit screen and wave-particle duality

In a double-slit experiment, interference patterns are shown when light passes through the slits and illuminate the screen. So the question is, if one shoots a single photon, does the screen show ...
4
votes
1answer
77 views

How do you measure a particle's postion or momentum?

This question is about the Uncertainty Principle $$\sigma_x \sigma_p ~\ge ~\frac{\hbar}{2}.$$ Looking at the maths, I understant why the uncertainty in the poistion increases as the uncertainty in ...
4
votes
3answers
388 views

Young's experiment or why the light can't be described as a particle [closed]

Who hasn't heard about the double-slit experiment? It figures in any book of quantum physics. But there is something no one can explain to me : I understand why the light cannot be described only as a ...
4
votes
1answer
505 views

The nature of time, according to quantum field theory

I will try my best to ask the question that best fits something I have been pondering on for a few days. Are virtual particles really constantly popping in and out of existence? Or are they ...
4
votes
3answers
476 views

What is the experiment where subatomic particles appear to foresee the future?

I've seen a documentary, whose name I don't remember but I'm curious because it suggests that subatomic particles are able to "foresee the future". I'll try to describe it here: Some particles are ...
3
votes
4answers
535 views

Isn't wave particle duality of light actually cheating?

When answering questions about light, I see that we conveniently shift between wave and particle nature of light to match the answer-- isn't this really cheating? Or, is it the principle that the ...
3
votes
2answers
198 views

Does String Theory explain wave-particle duality?

Does string theory explain the weird things that happens at the quantum level, especially wave-particle duality?
3
votes
2answers
336 views

Particles vs Waves

As I remember long ago, in my physics classes, I always had a great trouble understanding the concept of waves. Our professor used to explain, as if everything in this world is made up of waves. ...
3
votes
3answers
295 views

What does it mean that a wavevector is null?

I have derived geometric optics for gravitational waves and I am trying to interpret one of the results. I have \begin{equation} k_{\rho}k^{\rho}=0 \end{equation} for the wavevector. For the case ...
3
votes
1answer
414 views

wavefunction collapse and uncertainty principle

We all know that wavefunction collapse when it is observed. Uncertainty principle states that $\sigma_x \sigma_p \geq \frac {\hbar}{2}$. When wavefunction collapse, doesn't $\sigma_x$ become $0$?, as ...
3
votes
2answers
207 views

Which equation tells you the minimum energy of a wave needed to see a small particle?

I have a problem that asks for the minimum energy of a wave that we will use to see a particle of size $.1\text{ nm}$. I understand that I can not see a $.1\text{ nm}$ particle with any wave length ...
3
votes
3answers
747 views

The Dual Nature of Matter

I can't seem to understand the dual nature of matter completely. If electrons have a wave nature, then if two electrons were to collide, wouldn't they undergo interference and form an electron wave ...
3
votes
1answer
59 views

De Broglie Wavelengths

I have a working knowledge of wave-particle duality, I think. I know the de Broglie wavelength is a sort of probability of finding a particle in a specific position, and is calculated by ...
3
votes
2answers
222 views

Photons-Wave/particle duality

I know that photons and electrons and such are said to have a wave particle duality, but what does that mean for a photon? When light strikes an object, are many photons emitted, enough to draw ...
3
votes
1answer
239 views

Difference between electromagnetic radiation (EMR) and Electromagnetic Field?

I'm a freshly graduated electrical engineer. One course that I really struggled with was Field Theory, because it was a lovely assortment of vector calculus and things that were explained to me well ...
3
votes
2answers
396 views

How does the wavelength change in relativistic limit?

In the text, it reads that the momentum of a particle will change if it is moving at speed close to light speed. In the general case, the wavelength is given as $$ \lambda = \frac{h}{p} $$ and $$p ...
3
votes
2answers
2k views

What is light, and how can it travel in a vacuum forever in all directions at once without a medium?

I know there are many questions that are similar (maybe identical?). I am not a physicist nor a student - I am just interested in physics and have been watching many physics channels on youtube ...
3
votes
1answer
124 views

Determining the spin of wavefunction

We all know that by uncertainty principle, location of a wave-particle is perfectly determined when uncertainty of momentum becomes infinite. (I also heard that in reality, it is almost impossible to ...
2
votes
3answers
1k views

Newton's corpuscular theory

Where did Newton get the idea that light had a particle nature and not a wave nature? At those times, AFAICT there were no phenomena that showed particle nature. But wave nature is much easier to ...
2
votes
2answers
4k views

Frequency of an Electron

My question is very simple. If frequency is defined as the cylces per unit time, Then what is meant by "Frequency of an Electron" ? If the rotation of electron around a nucleus is considered then, ...
2
votes
5answers
283 views

wave superposition of electrons and quarks

Is quantum wave superposition of electrons and quarks possible? If not, can different types of elementary particles be mixed in wave superposition?
2
votes
2answers
180 views

Interpretation of de Broglie wave

Until what point can the de Broglie wave be thought as a real wave? I mean, is it made of something? What amplitude does it have? Is it a sine wave? How can it be related to the wavefunction of the ...
2
votes
4answers
5k views

Can an electron be in two places at the same time?

So I've been reading a bit and watching some videos about the double slit experiment, and therefore the wave particle duality; I've also read this "implies" that a particle can be in two places at the ...
2
votes
5answers
252 views

Wave/particle duality

Apologies if this has been asked before (I did check and I believe it wasn't). I have a question about the particle/wave duality of photons (or other particles). Depending on what and how we measure ...
2
votes
2answers
318 views

Is wave–particle duality considered a valid interpretation of the behavior of photons?

There are a number of questions on this site that explain the many wave-like behaviors of photons by making reference to wave-particle duality. However, I have just finished reading Feynman's book ...
2
votes
1answer
58 views

Which types of particles are affected by the wave-particle duality?

If we take the double slit experiment as a way of demonstrating the wave-particle duality, which types of particles would show an interference pattern? For example, I know that electrons show such a ...
2
votes
1answer
69 views

How is it possible for light to be a wave and a particle? [duplicate]

I have always been interested in Physics, and lots of people say that light is a particle and a wave. How is it possible? How can a photon (a light particle) be a wave as well, when its a particle? ...