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Is the generation of one electron at a time probabilistic or deterministic ?

  1. Jul 3, 2009 #1


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    In the double slit experiment sometimes it is claimed that one electron at a time could be fired.
    Can we deterministically generate one electron when we want ?
    is it like a gun where you pull the trigger and exactly one electron will be detected or is it that we energize some source and "wait randomly" until we detect an electron coming out of it?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 9, 2009 #2


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    In other words, could we generate and detect electrons or photons (for that matter) at a specific rate? Say 1000 photons per millisecond.
  4. Jul 9, 2009 #3


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    Yes, it is possible (but not trivial) to generate both single photons and single electrons "on command" and double-slit experiments with single photons are more or less routine nowadays.

    Generating single electrons is not very difficult in an electric circuit (using an electron pump); although I don't know of anyone has actually performed a double slit experiment using such a source (although my guess would be that it has been done).
  5. Jul 9, 2009 #4


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    Thanks for answering f95toli,
    If you watch the video of the single electron double experiment performed by Hitachi
    video here

    and more clearly here:
    http://www.hqrd.hitachi.co.jp/rd/moviee/doubleslite.mpeg [Broken]

    You notice that before they speed up the video, electrons are detected at random times. I was wondering since electrons are transmitted at a fixed rate if some electron charge transmitted will hit the detector without triggering a detection on the detector(charge will stay on the detector's surface without being released) or also if a wave can trigger two detections at the same time. Hope my question made sense.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
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