In any double slit experiment, which particles are passed through slits, and what do the detectors look like - both the one at the end of the apparatus and the one at the site of the slit?

Oftentimes, photons or electrons are used as examples. However, as far as I know, in real experiments much larger particles like silver atoms are actually used.

My expectation is that any apparent weirdness will naturally follow from the setup of the experiment.

  • $\begingroup$ Photons and electrons are quite commonly used in double-slit experiments. They are not just examples. As for detectors, well, one uses ones that can detect whatever you are sending through the slits. For single and double slits with photons one can always use the human Mark 1 eyeball looking at a screen (wall). $\endgroup$
    – Jon Custer
    Sep 1, 2016 at 15:19
  • $\begingroup$ I think the most commonly done experiments are using light, other EM radiation, sound, water, and electrons. I presume you are asking about the equipment used for the less common particles such as Ag. Is that correct? $\endgroup$
    – garyp
    Sep 1, 2016 at 15:28
  • $\begingroup$ Related: Is it possible to reproduce Double-slit experiment by myself at home? $\endgroup$ Sep 1, 2016 at 16:16

1 Answer 1


The version of this experiment that I did during college used a light tight box with a light bulb on one end that had the intensity controllable on the outside then about a third of a meter down was one slit that focused the beam into a strip of light then about 10 cm after that slit was the double slits right in front of the double slits was a blocker that had a hole in the middle of it that was wide enough to allow light from both slits to go through when the blocker in the middle. The blocker also could be moved by turning a knob on the outside to block one or both of the slits. This could be said to be the detector at the slits.

On the other end of the box we had a photomultiplier tube to detect the photons admitted by the light bulb and the tube could be moved across the end of the tube and based on the frequency of the photons we could determine intensity of the light at that point. This was the detector at the end of the box.

We saw the wavelike properties of light when both slits were allowed to go through but when one of the slits was covered we saw particlelike properties.

There were other slightly different setups for this experiment that we went through including using a laser for a light source and using a photodiode as the detector at the end. Each different method produced similar results.

  • $\begingroup$ That makes it sounds like "wave-particle duality" isn't really a thing. A particle is just what we call a wave that is not experiencing interference. $\endgroup$ Sep 1, 2016 at 17:27

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