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Dual Nature of Photon (and such particles) - WHY?

  1. Oct 16, 2014 #1
    I know that photons and other particles of comparatively smaller dimension show dual nature. But why? Can someone help me? :confused:
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 16, 2014 #2


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    Why the idea was proposed?
    Or how the experimental data suggest/confirm that?
    Or what is the underlying theory that gives rise to wave-particle duality?

    Which one is the meaning of your "why" ?
  4. Oct 16, 2014 #3

    Doug Huffman

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    Macroscopic entities also have wave-like properties, as a literature search will show. Whys about nature are teleologic.
  5. Oct 16, 2014 #4


    Staff: Mentor

    You mean the so called wave particle duality?

    Surprisingly the answer is they don't - the wave particle duality is simply a concept from popularisations and beginning texts - see our FAQ:

    Its really quantum stuff.

    What's quantum stuff - I think the following is a good place to start on that interesting lifelong journey:

  6. Oct 17, 2014 #5
    Thank you for your reply, but are you saying that photons do not have dual nature?
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 17, 2014
  7. Oct 17, 2014 #6


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    Photons are quantum objects that have their own single nature. They act in some ways that are reminiscent of classical particles, and in other ways that are reminiscent of classical waves.

    Do you know the tale about the blind men and the elephant?
  8. Dec 21, 2014 #7
  9. Dec 21, 2014 #8


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    One felt a leg and likened the elephant to a tree. Another felt the tail and likened the elephant to a rope. The third felt something and likened it to something else. All were correct, and none had any idea what an elephant looked like or was.
  10. Dec 21, 2014 #9


    Staff: Mentor

  11. Dec 22, 2014 #10
    OK, so a photon has many characteristics, I get it... My point being, why quantum particles have both wave as well as particle nature? Is there any boundaries for this characteristic?
  12. Dec 22, 2014 #11


    Staff: Mentor

    The full theory tells you when and why.

    For example the solution of Schroedinger's equation for a free particle is wave-like. Why? Its just the way the math works. Why the math - see the first three chapters of Ballentine:

    Last edited by a moderator: May 7, 2017
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