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Electron as a wave medium

  1. Jun 17, 2010 #1
    In this following link:

    http://amasci.com/miscon/eleca.html#electron

    the author has mentioned that electrons are a wave medium through which energy can propagate. Is it true?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 17, 2010 #2

    sophiecentaur

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    That is a good way of looking at it. It is definitely wrong to say that the electrons 'go round the circuit' carrying energy with them. For a start, they actually move through a metal at only a few mm per second and the light goes on as soon as you flick the switch.

    I like to visualise what happens in a conductor as what happens in a bicycle chain. When you stamp on the pedal, a shock wave travels through the links, the tension is established and, very soon afterwards, the wheel starts to move. The links have only moved a miniscule amount, though. This is what happens with the electrons. A wave passes along, due to the repulsive forces between adjacent electrons (due to the electric fields). This travels very quickly - but not quite as fast as the speed of light.
     
  4. Jun 17, 2010 #3
    They actually do 'go round the circuit'. I think the term is called 'drift flow' or something (now I'm curious. what exactly is the term?), but thats not important to the circuit, so yes, considering them the medium of a wave in the circuit is a good way of looking at it.
     
  5. Jun 18, 2010 #4

    sophiecentaur

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    That's what I wrote. But they go verrrrry slowly and that is hardly relevant to the carrying of the energy. A Bicycle chain also 'goes round' but the energy gets from foot to wheel much quicker.
    The term you want is 'drift velocity', I think. This velocity is much less than the mean square velocity, due to thermal motion, though.
     
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