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Looking for some help with constructing a double slit experiment

  1. May 13, 2014 #1
    Hello, fellow physics lovers. I am an amateur physicist and am currently teaching some fellow keen amateurs about the marvels of the quantum world. After explaining the dual nature of light and conducting a very basic example of Young's double slit experiment using a laser and a sheet of card, the group, rather excitedly, decided it would be worth putting in a bit of effort to try and construct an apparatus capable of demonstrating real quantum interference and wave function collapse. Although at the time I was overjoyed by their enthusiasm I feel I have bitten off more than i can chew. Does anyone know if its possible to obtain the required materials, i.e. single photon/electron sources, barium crystals/any other usable beam spliters, mirrored glass, detector screens etc.? I know Its asking a lot but any info is greatly appreciated. :)
     
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  3. May 14, 2014 #2

    Simon Bridge

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    Welcome to PF;
    You can obtain this sort of equipment from scinetific equipment suppliers ... however, some of the experiments you are likely to want to try will be very expensive. You should try to narrow down you requirements to the properties you want to demonstrate.
     
  4. May 14, 2014 #3
    Thanks so much for your reply Simon. And thank you for the welcome. I guess what Im really wondering is whether or not its possible to construct a home apparatus capable of displaying a single particle interference pattern (apologies for any bad terminology). Is this something people would do out of interest or is it the kind of experiment thats restricted to labs with rather large budgets??
     
    Last edited: May 14, 2014
  5. May 14, 2014 #4

    Simon Bridge

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    You can, in principle, construct a single-particle diffraction lab in a private house ... there is nothing particularly special about a physics lab. But it tends to be pricey.

    Note: you realize the experiment is basically shooting a bullet at a narrow window and looking for the hole in the wall on the other side? You need to do it lots of times to see the pattern.

    "interference" is not a terribly useful way to think about it - there is nothing to interfere with.
    the phenomena is "diffraction", and refers to the result not the process.
     
  6. May 15, 2014 #5
    I understand that it has to be done many times to get the desired result. Apologies for the lack of clarity. I used the term "single particle" to differentiate between the observed pattern which occurs when firing a stream of particles -which as far as Im aware can be explained using classical wave mechanics- and the quantum effect observed when firing single particles one at a time.

    If Im being really honest, what I really want to explore are some of the possible practical applications of delayed choice quantum erasers. Is this something youre familiar with?
     
  7. May 15, 2014 #6

    Simon Bridge

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    Somewhat.
    Practical applications?
     
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