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A couple of questions about quantum mechanics.

  1. Oct 23, 2011 #1
    Alright guys, I’ve been reading quite a bit about quantum mechanics lately (purely qualitative) and I have a couple of questions about it all, any help would be greatly Appreciated!

    De Broglie Wavelength/schrondiger equation.

    Ok, so I’ve heard the ‘Wave nature of patricles’ explained in a couple of ways.

    1) The position and momentum of any microscopic particle can be described by it’s wave function, which can be calculated by solving the Schrödinger equation with regards to the particle your studying. This wave describes the probability of finding a particle in a particular area, this ‘wave function’ exhibits properties of a ‘traditional’ wave, this can explain the wave nature of particles.
    For example, with regards to the double slit experiment for an electron/photon, the wave function is a super position of multiplepossibilities, 2 of these possibilities being the possibility of the particle passing through slit x and the possibility of the particle passing through slit Y. As these wave functions exhibit properties of normal waves, these 2 waves pass through slits x & y, and then interfere with eachother. This then causes the formation of an interference pattern, so that some areas have a 0 chance of finding an electron, and some having a high chance, the particle in question then follows this distribution of probabilities two form the interference pattern we see.

    2) Moving microscopic objects have an associated wavelength, Known as the de Broigle wavelength, this associated wavelength passes through both slits, interferes with itself thus causing an interference pattern
    Are either of these correct ?

    Secondley, with Regards to Alpha particle decay:

    1) An alpha particle situated in the nucleus of an atom is confined to a very small area, due to the Heisenberg uncertainty principle the helium nucleus can have a large kinetic energy. This increase in energy means that the alpha particle has enough energy to escape the nucleus.

    2) The wavefunction of the Alpha particle behaves like a normal wave, thus the wavefunction can exist out side the nucleus, suggesting that there is a small probability that the alpha particles can be outside the nucleus, thus decayed.

    3) The actual answer is a combination of the 2 above suggestions.

    Sorry for asking these questions but i think by clarifying these points it'll really help me make sence of somethings. Also, I apologise if this is in the wrong section, i'm new to this forum.

    Any help much appreciated!
  2. jcsd
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