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thanks in advance for the help.

Mainly, what characteristic of matter is wavelike? Does is physically move up and down like a wave, does it phase in and out of existence with a wavelike gradient, or something else entirely?

Also, how does this relate to superposition and interference of waves in terms of matter?

Finally, how does this describe the atomic orbital? I understand that an orbital is a region with a high probability of electron location but I don't understand how this is a wave.

I have been scouring the internet for this. Very frustrating. In multiple disciplines they drill into your head: "Matter demonstrates wavelike properties!" "Matter demonstrates wavelike properties!"

Yeah! Sweet! What a cool and important discovery! Explain it to me! ....nothing.


marked as duplicate by ACuriousMind, Kyle Kanos, Qmechanic Mar 15 '15 at 1:04

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

  • 3
    $\begingroup$ possible duplicate of Is the wave-particle duality a real duality? $\endgroup$ – ACuriousMind Mar 14 '15 at 18:12
  • $\begingroup$ As it stands, this is a pretty broad question. Look at the link ACuriousMind included, and try to edit this question to get a little bit more specific. $\endgroup$ – Sean Mar 14 '15 at 18:29

Wavelike properties usually means interference first of all. This is the first wavelike property of light that was demonstrated, I believe, and that's usually what you want. So, yes, matter can interfere with itself, as in the electron double-slit experiment.

Often when people talk about matter behaving "wavelike" they're talking also about the fact that quantum mechanically the particle is delocalized, and cannot be said to be in one particular place. When this happens, we describe the particle by a "wavefunction" whose amplitude represents the probability to detect the particle in that location. The characteristic wavelength for a matter wave is related to its momentum by the DeBroglie relation--DeBroglie would be a good name to Google about this. The wavefunction is what interferes.

Atomic orbitals are solutions to the equation that describes an electron orbiting a central potential (a nucleus). They tell us what wavefunctions are allowed.

  • $\begingroup$ I don't think that answer could be improved in any way $\endgroup$ – user74893 Mar 15 '15 at 0:21

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