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Thread: Wave-Particle Duality...

  1. #1 Wave-Particle Duality... 
    Forum Bachelors Degree x(x-y)'s Avatar
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    Has this theory of sub-atomic particles acting like waves been proven yet or not? Or even disproven?

    I'm not quite sure if it has, after reading articles on it from what I can see it hasn't been proven yet, or has it?

    Also, I just need to clarify, wave-particle duality is where sub-atomic particles move in a wave-like motion and so you can measure it's wavelength and speed etc, can't you? But how would it's regular motion (not as a wave) be any different to moving in a wave motion- is it because a wave moves in an oscillating line?

    Sorry, for all the questions, but I'm only 16 and want to expand my knowledge on these kind of topics as it interests me greatly.

    Thanks,

    - x(x-y)


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  3. #2 Re: Wave-Particle Duality... 
    Moderator Moderator Janus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by x(x-y)
    Has this theory of sub-atomic particles acting like waves been proven yet or not? Or even disproven?

    I'm not quite sure if it has, after reading articles on it from what I can see it hasn't been proven yet, or has it?
    Electrons passing through double slits will produce an interference pattern. This is a property of waves.[quotes]

    Also, I just need to clarify, wave-particle duality is where sub-atomic particles move in a wave-like motion and so you can measure it's wavelength and speed etc, can't you? But how would it's regular motion (not as a wave) be any different to moving in a wave motion- is it because a wave moves in an oscillating line?

    [/quote]This isn't what wave-particle duality is. It is the ability to present either particle like or wavelike properties.

    Sorry, for all the questions, but I'm only 16 and want to expand my knowledge on these kind of topics as it interests me greatly.

    Thanks,

    - x(x-y)


    "Men are apt to mistake the strength of their feelings for the strength of their argument.
    The heated mind resents the chill touch & relentless scrutiny of logic"-W.E. Gladstone


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  4. #3 Re: Wave-Particle Duality... 
    Moderator Moderator Janus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by x(x-y)
    Has this theory of sub-atomic particles acting like waves been proven yet or not? Or even disproven?

    I'm not quite sure if it has, after reading articles on it from what I can see it hasn't been proven yet, or has it?
    Electrons passing through double slits will produce an interference pattern. This is a property of waves.

    Also, I just need to clarify, wave-particle duality is where sub-atomic particles move in a wave-like motion and so you can measure it's wavelength and speed etc, can't you? But how would it's regular motion (not as a wave) be any different to moving in a wave motion- is it because a wave moves in an oscillating line?
    This isn't what wave-particle duality is. It is the ability to present either particle like or wavelike properties.

    Sorry, for all the questions, but I'm only 16 and want to expand my knowledge on these kind of topics as it interests me greatly.

    Thanks,

    - x(x-y)
    "Men are apt to mistake the strength of their feelings for the strength of their argument.
    The heated mind resents the chill touch & relentless scrutiny of logic"-W.E. Gladstone


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  5. #4  
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    Wave-particle duality has possibly nothing to do with reality. Science develops theories which describe reality, mathematical models or analogues if you will. In the case of sub-atomic particles wave theory doesn't describe all their properties and neither does particle theory. we have to mix and match theories to get useable predictions depending on conditions and properties. Diffraction is impossible to descibe using particle theory, for example, but easy with wave theory. And statistical thermodynamics is impossible to formulate using wave theory but needs particles.
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  6. #5  
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    I'd find it hard to say that a mathematical model that predicts reality accurately has nothing to do with reality, regardless of how unintuitive or whatever it is.
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  7. #6  
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    I think the confusion comes from trying to apply everyday macro visualizations to a realm of reality that we have no frame of reference.
    I do not see anything wrong with a photon having both particle and wave properties, it can quite easily behave as both. The absurdness of trying to imagine a billiard ball and a wave in a pond at the same time is due to us trying to imagine what it all "looks" like, when maths is all we can really use to describe it.

    Maybe eventually some new approach may be used were thermodynamics and diffraction can be described using the same mathematics, probably a complete quantum theory. So far it seems to be that specialised theories are really smaller simpler versions of more complex, far reaching models.
    For example I design electronic circuits, but I wouldnt use complex quantum mechanical equations to calculate the resistors required for a certain voltage drop, although I'm sure it could be done. But I think both methods still represent reality equally.
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  8. #7  
    Forum Bachelors Degree x(x-y)'s Avatar
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    Ok, thank you everyone for your input, it's much appreciated...

    I think I understand now.
    "Nature doesn't care what we call it, she just does it anyway" - R. Feynman
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  9. #8 Re: Wave-Particle Duality... 
    Time Lord
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    Quote Originally Posted by x(x-y)
    Has this theory of sub-atomic particles acting like waves been proven yet or not? Or even disproven?

    I'm not quite sure if it has, after reading articles on it from what I can see it hasn't been proven yet, or has it?
    They've done experiments where a single photon is passed through double slits, and as Janus points out, it created interference patterns, showing the wave aspect. It's particle aspect is proven by the fact the photon always ends up being detected in exactly one location on the detector.

    Using the same experiment apparatus, they also sent some Carbon atoms through, one at a time, and the Carbon atoms demonstrated all the same wave properties.




    Also, I just need to clarify, wave-particle duality is where sub-atomic particles move in a wave-like motion and so you can measure it's wavelength and speed etc, can't you? But how would it's regular motion (not as a wave) be any different to moving in a wave motion- is it because a wave moves in an oscillating line?

    Sorry, for all the questions, but I'm only 16 and want to expand my knowledge on these kind of topics as it interests me greatly.

    Thanks,

    - x(x-y)
    The trick to understanding wave-particle duality is understanding that probability is taking the place of the concept of intensity at the wave front.

    If a sound wave hits you, then the further you are away from the source, the lower the intensity of the wave gets before it reaches you. The energy gets more spread out, but some portion of it is always present no matter how far away you are. With a particle wave, the further you are away, the lower the probability of any given particle hitting you. The probability is what gets spread out, and becomes weaker, but never drops to zero. (After the dice are rolled, the particle either hits you or it doesn't, just like in Russian Roulette.)

    This probability principle is the only wave-like aspect there is. In the double slit experiment, the wave interference points are simply locations where the probability of a photon arriving was found to be zero. The wave reinforcement points are locations where the probability was found to be higher than expected. Outside of that, the photon always behaves like a particle and not like a wave. ...... except that it also had the ability to turn around corners like a wave does....
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  10. #9 Re: Wave-Particle Duality... 
    Forum Bachelors Degree x(x-y)'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kojax
    Quote Originally Posted by x(x-y)
    Has this theory of sub-atomic particles acting like waves been proven yet or not? Or even disproven?

    I'm not quite sure if it has, after reading articles on it from what I can see it hasn't been proven yet, or has it?
    They've done experiments where a single photon is passed through double slits, and as Janus points out, it created interference patterns, showing the wave aspect. It's particle aspect is proven by the fact the photon always ends up being detected in exactly one location on the detector.

    Using the same experiment apparatus, they also sent some Carbon atoms through, one at a time, and the Carbon atoms demonstrated all the same wave properties.




    Also, I just need to clarify, wave-particle duality is where sub-atomic particles move in a wave-like motion and so you can measure it's wavelength and speed etc, can't you? But how would it's regular motion (not as a wave) be any different to moving in a wave motion- is it because a wave moves in an oscillating line?

    Sorry, for all the questions, but I'm only 16 and want to expand my knowledge on these kind of topics as it interests me greatly.

    Thanks,

    - x(x-y)
    The trick to understanding wave-particle duality is understanding that probability is taking the place of the concept of intensity at the wave front.

    If a sound wave hits you, then the further you are away from the source, the lower the intensity of the wave gets before it reaches you. The energy gets more spread out, but some portion of it is always present no matter how far away you are. With a particle wave, the further you are away, the lower the probability of any given particle hitting you. The probability is what gets spread out, and becomes weaker, but never drops to zero. (After the dice are rolled, the particle either hits you or it doesn't, just like in Russian Roulette.)

    This probability principle is the only wave-like aspect there is. In the double slit experiment, the wave interference points are simply locations where the probability of a photon arriving was found to be zero. The wave reinforcement points are locations where the probability was found to be higher than expected. Outside of that, the photon always behaves like a particle and not like a wave. ...... except that it also had the ability to turn around corners like a wave does....
    Ok, I get it now...

    Thank you!
    "Nature doesn't care what we call it, she just does it anyway" - R. Feynman
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