Wave particle duality Definition and 13 Discussions

Wave–particle duality is the concept in quantum mechanics that every particle or quantum entity may be described as either a particle or a wave. It expresses the inability of the classical concepts "particle" or "wave" to fully describe the behaviour of quantum-scale objects. As Albert Einstein wrote:
It seems as though we must use sometimes the one theory and sometimes the other, while at times we may use either. We are faced with a new kind of difficulty. We have two contradictory pictures of reality; separately neither of them fully explains the phenomena of light, but together they do.
Through the work of Max Planck, Albert Einstein, Louis de Broglie, Arthur Compton, Niels Bohr, and many others, current scientific theory holds that all particles exhibit a wave nature and vice versa. This phenomenon has been verified not only for elementary particles, but also for compound particles like atoms and even molecules. For macroscopic particles, because of their extremely short wavelengths, wave properties usually cannot be detected.Although the use of the wave–particle duality has worked well in physics, the meaning or interpretation has not been satisfactorily resolved; see Interpretations of quantum mechanics.
Bohr regarded the "duality paradox" as a fundamental or metaphysical fact of nature. A given kind of quantum object will exhibit sometimes wave, sometimes particle, character, in respectively different physical settings. He saw such duality as one aspect of the concept of complementarity. Bohr regarded renunciation of the cause-effect relation, or complementarity, of the space-time picture, as essential to the quantum mechanical account.Werner Heisenberg considered the question further. He saw the duality as present for all quantic entities, but not quite in the usual quantum mechanical account considered by Bohr. He saw it in what is called second quantization, which generates an entirely new concept of fields that exist in ordinary space-time, causality still being visualizable. Classical field values (e.g. the electric and magnetic field strengths of Maxwell) are replaced by an entirely new kind of field value, as considered in quantum field theory. Turning the reasoning around, ordinary quantum mechanics can be deduced as a specialized consequence of quantum field theory.

View More On Wikipedia.org
  1. Ebi Rogha

    I Double slit experiment -- Question about the influence of our measurement equipment

    I would like to know, how can we be sure this is not due to the influence/impact/interference of our measurement, not necessarily the intrinsic nature of photons? In most reference books, it seems it is a given and it is not discussed
  2. A

    A What are Bohmian trajectories for a free electron?

    A free electron, or any other quantum particle, has an uncertain position/momentum, according to Heisenberg uncertainty principle. The squared amplitude of the wavefunction determines the probability of finding the electron at any point of the space. Accordingly, atomic orbitals are attributed...
  3. A

    I What is “quantized momentum transfer” and can it account for interference patterns?

    In https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0378437109010401, the author claims that the interference pattern obtained in the double-slit experiment does not need a wave description of matter, and can be accounted for by the "quantized momentum transfer" from the slits to the electron...
  4. LarryS

    I Wave-particle duality general question

    I just read the following paper that was written in 2014: https://arxiv.org/abs/1403.4687 It proposes that wave-particle duality and the momentum-position uncertainty (entropic) principle are physically the same phenomena. The paper was discussed at some length in this forum in the following...
  5. O

    I Doesn't wave duality for massive objects favor pilot-wave?

    It is well known that wave particle duality was also observed with large particles up to 10000 amu: Abstract of Paper : https://arxiv.org/abs/1310.8343 Doesn't that make pilot wave theory a more logical interpretation? For example it is easier than the whole material becoming a wave...
  6. Swapnil Das

    B Question about the nature of Gravitation

    Hello. Modern Physics explains Gravitation in two general ways: In accordance to the General Theory of Relativity, Gravitation is thought of as an effect of the curvature of space-time continuum. This results in the formation of the recently and famously detected Gravitational Waves. Quantum...
  7. Aurghyadip Kundu

    Bending of Light in diffraction? Is it actually possible?

    I know light has wave particle duality, I understand these two points very well, 1. Light moves as a probability function, taking all the possible paths at once. The alternate paths cancel themselves out, resulting in a particle-like combined motion. 2. When relatively close to an edge, some...
  8. Y

    Wave particle duality: accept a new entity?

    Hi, I have always been presented with a description of photons (and electrons more recently) as being entities that at times behave like waves and at times like particles (and I understant that typically particle is a substitude word for small little solid object of mass). So I would like to...
  9. D

    De Broglie wavelength of an ant

    An ant of mass m = 1.80×10−6 kg goes through a hole of diameter D = 5.00 mm in a window screen which has thickness L = 0.600 mm. (a) What should be the approximate wavelength and speed of the ant for it to show wave behavior as it goes through the hole? I am not sure what should the...
  10. G

    Wave-particle duality and my non-physicist friend

    Hi, I'm a vet with an amateur interest in physics. In discussion with a friend about the usefulness of physics he stated that physicists had not even decided whether light was a wave or a particle. I said the following: 'The question of whether light is a wave or particle is not one which...
  11. C

    Physical meaning of a wave packet w/ respect to HUP&duality

    I'm a QM noob/newb trying to understand the physical implication of a wave packet, in my mind it is something like this: On the x-axis there is displacement (vibration), probability on the y. I Imagine stretching and compressing the wave packet. When I stretch it out, the amplitude must...
  12. J

    Does wave/particle duality apply to the full EM spectrum?

    My question relates to wave/particle duality. If light is regarded as possessing both wave like and particle like properties, and visible light is just part of the whole EM spectrum of radiation, is it correct to say that radio waves for instance, ( being themselves part of the whole spectrum...
  13. S

    De Broglie-Bohm pilot wave theory

    Are there any good books related to the not much popular De Broglie-Bohm pilot wave theory? There have been recent studies on dynamics of the walking droplets relation with pilot-wave dynamics to describe the motion of quantum particles.