I do understand that wave-particle duality has been established for electrons after finding that it posses wave nature from results of double slit experiment, but is it possible that the electrons get deflected due to their collision with edges of the slit and not because of their wave nature? Although I do believe that would have caused random pattern instead of the structured interference pattern but I can not find an explanation anywhere saying how we are sure the electrons are not particles experiencing the change in path due to collision with slit edges.

  • $\begingroup$ Keep in mind that you wouldn't have to explain a interference pattern, you would also have to explain how the interference patter varies as you change (1) the slit width (2) the distance between the slits and (3) the electron energy in all possible combinations. $\endgroup$ – dmckee Jun 7 '18 at 21:37
  • $\begingroup$ Interaction with the edges of the slit is what makes diffraction happen. web2.ph.utexas.edu/~coker2/index.files/diff.htm $\endgroup$ – Solomon Slow Jun 7 '18 at 21:46
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    $\begingroup$ "due to their collision with edges of the slit" - this would imply that the electron is localized at the edge of one slit. But this would destroy interference rather than cause it, right? BTW, there's an interpretation (Bohmian mechanics) where the electrons are point particles and pass through one slit or the other. However, on this view, the electrons do not collide with the edges of the slit; a 'pilot wave' that 'passes through' both slits guides the electrons to produce an interference pattern on the screen. $\endgroup$ – Alfred Centauri Jun 7 '18 at 22:23
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    $\begingroup$ Consider electron diffraction experiments, easily repeated with a transmission electron microscope (TEM) and a thin target. For example, with a 10 nm polycrystaline film one sees rings, corresponding to the FCC gold pattern rotated about the beam axis. If the beam intensity is dialed down (lower flux) the same pattern appears, only speckled, as the diffracted electrons strike the detector. If enough time passes, the pattern fills in, and you receive the full diffraction pattern. In this case there a tremendous number of slits from the crystals. Yet the pattern corresponds. $\endgroup$ – Peter Diehr Jun 7 '18 at 23:29
  • $\begingroup$ Given that the diffraction angle depends on the width of the slit attributing it to the edges alone with philosophically questionable. Moreover, you can generate perfectly equivalent diffraction patterns by generating waves uniformly along a range equivalent to the open parts of a slit (though I am only confident that this is realizable for mechanical waves such as sound and ripples, and am fairly sure that it is not realizable for electrons). $\endgroup$ – dmckee Jun 8 '18 at 0:21

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