Can a Wave be in freefall?

  • Thread starter ranyart
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  • #1
ranyart
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In QM, particles are treated as either waves or particles, a duality exists. A test particle in freefall is used in all manner of ways to explain certain phenonema.

Can the same experiments be equivilent to waves?..can a wave be explained in any way as in 'freefall'?
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
VBPhysics
36
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I'd have to say no.

A particle by its very nature can be described by a position in space. In other words you can tell me where it is, but a wave is streched out over a long(at least longer that point particle) section of space. It makes no sense to speak of a wave as having a "position" so it cannot make sense for you to speak of it free falling.
 
  • #3
heumpje
36
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No you can't. You would have to look at it in a different way. You normally solve the Schrodinger equation to find the wavefunction. In a system with gravity you add the gravitational potential to the Schrodinger equation and then solve it. This is of course not relativistically invariant. But what you find is more or less the same as a particle in a potential well, with bound and free states. I read a Nature article on this once. Perhaps you can find something on it there.
 
  • #4
tavi_boada
71
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I think you can, but as heumpje says, it will not be relativisticaly invariant. Actually, you do the same thing when solving one electron problems with the Schrödinger equation. In principle, the problem is already solved, you only have to change a few constants in the solution for the hydrogen problem, but it would be of litle interest because there is no situation in nature where a non relativistic aproximation of gravitation interaction at the quantum level is valid. For example, we wouldn't be able to use that solution on the surface of a black hole where gravity is so intense and thus has to be treated relativisticaly.
 
  • #5
modmans2ndcoming
150
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wouldn't a wave be described by a field?
 

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