# How does particles move in waves? radiation?

I'm reading about particles for a project and had a question. I read that particles don't move forward in a wave, the simply oscillate up and down, and that gives it the wave look. But if they don't move forward and only oscillate up and down how do radiation work then? if it don't move foward?

Thanks!

• @AnubhavSrivastava-WASAYANSI But if its only the energy and momentum that is transferred how does neutron radiation work, if the neutron needs to get in contact with other atoms? Thanks for the reply! – HeeysamH Jan 23 at 11:16
• Welcome to physics SE. I assume that you speak about a wavefunction. Particles in general do not move or oscillate in the wavefunction. Yes, formulating question is sometimes the hardest thing. – jaromrax Jan 23 at 12:34

Particles do not move in waves. They themselves are waves and the up-down or max-min values of the waves amplitude is the probability with which it will be found at a given point. (Here I am talking about the quantum particles and not macroscopic particles like dust or water drops in an ocean wave.)

We can't measure both the position and the velocity simultaneously because of the Heisenberg principle and thus come the probability in picture. You can read more about that to deep dive into this.

Regarding going forward like for example the energy of radiation, they get transmitted when one particle collide with the next particle in the space and the energy propagates in the same direction as of transmission.

I think the particles that move up and down in a wave are the particles of a wave propagating through a medium, in which case the constituents of the medium make an up-down movement which is passed to the nearby constituents.

The waves that correspond to radiation are totally different in Nature because they move through the vacuum. They don't propagate through a medium (of course they can move through, for example, a medium like glass, but the e.m. wave is passed on through the vacuum). Then how can this up-down movement of radiation be passed through empty space if there is no medium to which the up-down movement can be passed to?

A long time ago it was thought that the aether was the medium for those waves, but now we look at it in an entirely different way.

The answer is that the e.m. wave is built out of a magnetic and electric part. A (periodically) changing electric field causes a changing magnetic field which in turn causes a changing electric field, in such a way the wave is propagating (this happens in a vacuum as well as in media). A wave built only out of a varying electric field does not exist.