Are Photons Bigger Than Electrons?

  • #1
I was told by a professor that electron microscopes are used instead of visible microscopes because photos are too big and make the picture blurry where are electrons are so small that they give detail. Considering photos don't really have a size, and have no mass, I don't understand this. Why do we use electron microscopes?
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
sophiecentaur
Science Advisor
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It's not the "size of photons" that counts. They have no actual extent (in many people's view, at least). The important thing is that the wavelength of visible light (500nm region) is so long that light will diffract noticeably and blur the detail too much to see anything. The wavelength of a moving electron (yes, they too behave like waves) is much smaller and so the effects of diffraction are less and small objects are less blurred.
It is wise to avoid trying to apply the photon nature of light to every problem, willy-nilly. It only makes life hard and the wave model can often work a lot better.
 
  • #3
got it, makes perfect sense. Not sure why I didn't think about that.

Thanks
 

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