wave-particle duality

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wave-particle duality

[′wāv ′pärd·ə·kəl dü′al·əd·ē]
(quantum mechanics)
The principle that both matter and electromagnetic radiation exhibit phenomena in which they behave as waves and other phenomena in which they behave as particles, the two aspects being associated by the de Broglie relations. Also known as duality principle; wave-corpuscle duality.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Wave-Particle Duality


a proposition central to quantum mechanics that the behavior of microobjects exhibits both corpuscular and wave characteristics.

In accordance with the concepts of classical (nonquantum) physics, the motion of particles and the propagation of waves differ in principle. However, experiments on the ejection of electrons from metal surfaces by light (photoelectric effect), the study of the scattering of rays by electrons (Compton effect), and a number of other experiments have convincingly demonstrated that light and X-rays, which, according to classical theory, have a wave nature, behave similarly to a flux of particles. A “particle” of light (photon) has an energy E and a momentum ρ, which are related to the frequency ν and the wavelength λ of light by the equations E = hv and ρ = h/λ, where h is Planck’s constant. On the other hand, it has been found that a beam of electrons impinging on a crystal gives a diffraction pattern that cannot be interpreted in any other way but on the basis of wave concepts. It was established later that this phenomenon is characteristic of microparticles in general.

Thus, a characteristic feature of the microworld is the duality of corpuscular and wave properties, which cannot be understood within the framework of classical physics. For example, the generation of a diffraction pattern during the scattering of particles is incompatible with the conception of the motion of these particles along trajectories. The wave-particle duality is given a natural interpretation in quantum mechanics.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

wave-particle duality

The inherent contradiction in the way energy behaves. At the turn of the 20th century, it was believed that light was electromagnetic waves and electrons were particles. By the 1930s, it was determined that light behaves as if it were made up of particles (photons) as well as waves, and electrons also behave like waves. This has driven scientists to drink and is one of the most puzzling phenomena in the universe. See quantum mechanics.
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References in periodicals archive ?
[41-43] using single-photon states covered in Home [14, Section 5.4] to demonstrate how they can be fully understood in terms of STCED wave-particle duality.
Nostromo would seem to anticipate wave-particle duality in the way it toys with the illuminating function of light, disrupting the distinction between light and darkness as well as the difference between what is shown to "matter" and what merely distracts.
So economic systems exhibit endemic and highly complex wave-particle duality in time and space, but they are fast evolving through processes of discovery and adjustment which impart an element of decoherence to the wave effects.
In the years following Einstein's suggestion, suitably designed experiments demonstrated that electrons also exhibit wave-particle duality. At the time, QM's proposition that electrons had wave-particle duality was quite disconcerting.
These kinds of relationships cause our intuitions about particles and waves to merge awkwardly, leading to the long-standing confusion, famously known as the wave-particle duality or the measurement problem.
It wasn't until she began studying physics at the university that Elmira was drawn to the wave-particle duality theory, which posits the importance of the observer and that person's influence on the behavior of photons.
This provides a natural explanation for wave-particle duality, with the transverse mode corresponding to the wave aspects of the deformations and the longitudinal mode corresponding to the particle aspects of the deformations.
It Is this so-called wave-particle duality and, further, the observer dependence of what we see that we attempted to explore in this project.
Beginning with an overview of conservation laws and symmetries, it swiftly dives into the wave-particle duality, the emergence of quantum mechanics, and the motivations supporting today's Standard Model.
Stone describes Einstein's early research, and shows that there was enough material there for "four Nobel prizes": for example, the ideas of quantization of energy, wave-particle duality, entanglement can all be traced to as early as 1905--"the miracle year" of Einstein's intellectual life.
Schrodinger once described his wave mechanical theory as "being stimulated by de Broglie's thesis and by short but infinitely far-seeing remarks by Einstein." Klein is the only person I know who could take these short far-seeing remarks and turn them into a finely tuned forty-three page paper on "Einstein and the Wave-Particle Duality," The Natural Philosopher 3 (1964).