0
$\begingroup$

This question already has an answer here:

I am newbie to all this and I learned that electrons can be wave as well as particles.

I don't have problem with the particle thing but how is it a wave? Isn't the wave just a path of energy travel.

For example: waves in string is a path of energy travel. Then how can electron be somethings like this?

Am I misinterpreting the term wave? Or is there something else?

Are waves also made up of particles? Please explain in simple words.

$\endgroup$

marked as duplicate by DarenW, Bill N, John Rennie, fffred, AccidentalFourierTransform Jan 25 '17 at 10:12

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.

  • $\begingroup$ Possible duplicate of wave-particle duality $\endgroup$ – The Question Jan 25 '17 at 3:04
  • $\begingroup$ @NoThought-NoConcept I can't get this wave function in position x and time t thing.If an electron is a wave,what does it mean? $\endgroup$ – Suraz Basnet Jan 25 '17 at 3:05
  • $\begingroup$ Could you take the time to be more specific as to what it is you do not understand? Did you read the information on"wave-particle duality"? $\endgroup$ – The Question Jan 25 '17 at 3:10
  • $\begingroup$ @NoThought-NoConcept My definition of wave is 'disturbance in space due to flow of energy through it'.Is that what an electron is?A disturbance?I read the information there but didn't understand quite well I'm just grade XI $\endgroup$ – Suraz Basnet Jan 25 '17 at 3:18
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ Possible duplicate of Is the wave-particle duality a real duality? $\endgroup$ – John Rennie Jan 25 '17 at 6:31
1
$\begingroup$

The electrons can be made to interfere, in the similar way that light or sound can be made to interfere. This was demonstrated experimentally by Davisson and Germer. Unlike sound, the wave associated with a particle is not "material", i.e. it is not made of "small bits of material stuff that move up and down". We think of electrons as waves because we can mathematically treat some of their properties, such as interference, just as we mathematically treat the interference of sound or light.

$\endgroup$
1
$\begingroup$

The waves that appears in the equations of quantum mechanics are the manifestation of interference effects.

These are interferences of a set of quasiclassical descriptions of the system dynamics weighted by a complex number, the probability amplitude. A quantum system is then described as being in a superposition of states.

Going beyond the quasiclassical description, the path integral formalism shows that what actually interferes is in some sense the infinite set of all possible behaviours of the system within boundary conditions, this time weighted by a phase factor where appears the action associated to each behavior. This is where the principle of least action, which governs classical mechanics, comes from.

In short, waves in QM are not excitation of a medium, they are mathematical artefacts justified by the fluid-like properties of probability densities.

The electron is nothing like a classical object. It is not a wave (as we just saw the waves are related to the probability of detecting its presence) and it is not a particle in the sense that it is not localized in a classical way, but only in a probabilist fashion and only upon actual measurement.

What the electron seems to be, like all other fundamental particles, is a physical manifestation of the symmetries of spacetime.

This is way more abstract (and deep) that what our intuition is used to handle...

$\endgroup$
0
$\begingroup$

Electrons can impart a momentum, so they have a partical property-has a mass(paddle wheel experiment) But when electrons are strikes into a sharp object they can create a shadow of that object like light waves does.They travel in straight lines like a wave. So it has a wave like property as well.(maltase cross experiment) So electrons are said to have a wave partical duality.

$\endgroup$
0
$\begingroup$

The electron is a quantum mechanical entity.

This means that it is constrained to follow the solution of a quantum mechanical equation . This solution is called a wavefunction because it has a sinusoidal dependence .

The wavefunction does not describe a path for the electron, but when complex conjugate squared it gives the probability of measuring the position of the electron at an (x,y,z,t). Thus it is the probability that waves, not the electron.

The double slit experiment one electron at a time, shows the dots which are the electron as it appears macroscopically, and its probability distribution as a wave interference.

The spiral in this bubble chamber picture is an electron kicked out of a hydrogen atom. It leaves a particle path, which follows the classical equations for a particle loosing energy in a magnetic field.

enter image description here

The rule of thumb to know when a particle appears in its probabilistic aspect, i.e. it is necessary to describe it quantum mechanically, is the Heisenberg uncertainty principle (HUP). If the momentum and location determination are within the HUP bounds it is necessary to use the quantum mechanical solution. In this case if one substitutes the numbers , the electron track is way outside the HUP constraints.

$\endgroup$

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.