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I How important is light in the Observer Effect?

  1. Dec 29, 2016 #1
    How much importance does light (electromagnetism) have to do with the "Observer Effect" in the Double-slit experiment?
    From my research, it seems that the only successful "Observer Effects" in the Double-slit experiments, wherein, the interference pattern transitions to a clump pattern, is achieved using light as the means of measuring in the detector. When I say clump pattern, I am not talking about a single-slit diffraction pattern. I am referring to where photons or electrons would appear in only 2 patterns aligned with the 2-slits, much like what you would expect if you were shooting bullets through a barrier with only slits and would get a pattern of bullets hitting the end wall in two clumps... some going through one slit and some going through the other slit.
    Although I can't find a video actually showing the observer effect collapsing waves to a clump pattern, there are many claims that it occurs. If you know of any videos, I would greatly appreciate it. (Please don't tell me to look on Youtube, I don't want an animated video, or Brian Greene explaining it....I'd like to see visual evidence if it is out there)
    Is my research correct, or are there other measuring sources used other than light?
    It seems that light hitting a photon or electron passing through a slit would cause them to alter their course with the end result being neither an interference pattern, nor a clump pattern, but a scattered array.
    Why is it that light used as the detector allows the measured photons or electrons to not only transition from an interference pattern, but maintain a consistent clump pattern?
    Light is extremely fascinating with how it interacts with electrons with quantum electrodynamics. Electromagnetism keeps electrons in their orbits, and helps hold molecules together. I just wonder if light is much more important in the process of collapsing waves to particles than anyone discusses. All I hear is "human consciousness" is the cause for wave collapse.
    Thanks for your feedback.
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 29, 2016 #2


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    Gold Member

    I can't answer all your questions but here is some information:

    Light can't hit a photon since light doesn't travel as photons; they are the result of an EM wave interacting with other particles such as electrons.

    Which of course is pure pop-sci nonsense.

    EDIT: also, you would likely find it interesting to Google "polarization and the double slit experiment" or just do a forum search for that.
  4. Dec 29, 2016 #3


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    Staff: Mentor

  5. Dec 31, 2016 #4


    Staff: Mentor

    Your post contains many very common misconceptions.

    As a start to correcting them see the following:

    Once you understand the above we can have a good chat about exactly what is going on in the double slit.

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