# Question regarding the double slit experiment

• drawkcab
In summary, diffraction occurs when a wavefront splits into multiple parts as it passes through a narrow opening. The waves can interfere with each other, creating a pattern on a screen that corresponds to the shape of the opening. The intensity of the diffraction depends on the size of the opening and the number of times the waves intersect.
drawkcab
I'm just a layman with an interest in science, so my terminology won't be accurate. Sorry.

Set up for question: the wave-front splits as it passes through the slits and must (I guess?) condense to a point upon impact with the recording device (paper/film etc).

The question: if a photon is given to behave as a wave until it contacts matter, and thereupon condenses to a particle, why doesn't the wave condense when part of it strikes the barrier through which the slits are cut?

Also, if you cut slits in the recording paper is the process repeated through a second iteration (albeit at a diminished intensity)?

Thinking about this experiment is driving me insane. A logical explanation seems always just out of reach. Thanks in advance for any light you can shed on this for me.

drawkcab said:
the wave-front splits as it passes through the slits and must (I guess?) condense to a point upon impact with the recording device (paper/film etc).

Wrong guess. It is a wave in the sense that the probability distribution for finding the point-like particle evolves in the same manner as a wave front, including the interference with the other wave front: the recording device registers a particle in accordance with the modeled probability distribution. There's no condensing.

So there is no wave per se? Only a wave-like probability distribution for the changing particle position?

Yes. Of course, that rules out the projectile-like particle model as well. We call them "particles" because they have a discrete point-like quality at the detectors. Neither "wave" or "particle" would be an appropriate term if referring to their daily life counterparts.

Ok, thanks. Does that mean that a large percentage of the photon emissions don't strike the recording apparatus at all, having struck the barrier instead of passing through a slit?

Yes, they have been absorbed or reflected by the barrier's material. Note however that you can emit one photon at a time, and no matter the rate (you could emit one photon per year if you wanted to) the photons that do pass through the barrier will still form the diffraction pattern when enough events have been collected. So the probability wavefunction model associates a whole probability wave pattern, in this case complete with multiple fronts (for n slits), to each singular photon.

drawkcab said:
Also, if you cut slits in the recording paper is the process repeated through a second iteration (albeit at a diminished intensity)?

Yes. A second interefence pattern could be observed on a second screen beyond the first.

If you want to take this further, it's worth understanding how this depends upon slit placement.

Last edited:
Thanks ddd123 and craigi.

## 1. How does the double slit experiment demonstrate the wave-particle duality of light?

The double slit experiment is a classic experiment that demonstrates the wave-particle duality of light. When light is shone through two slits onto a screen, the resulting pattern is an interference pattern, which can only be explained by light behaving like a wave. However, when the experiment is repeated with a detector at one of the slits, the interference pattern disappears and the light acts like particles. This shows that light has both wave-like and particle-like properties.

## 2. What is the purpose of the double slit experiment?

The purpose of the double slit experiment is to demonstrate the wave-particle duality of light and to understand the behavior of light at the quantum level. It also has implications for our understanding of the nature of reality and the role of observation in determining the behavior of particles.

## 3. Can the double slit experiment be performed with other particles besides light?

Yes, the double slit experiment can be performed with other particles such as electrons, protons, and even large molecules. These experiments have also shown similar results, further supporting the idea of wave-particle duality.

## 4. How does the distance between the slits affect the interference pattern in the double slit experiment?

The distance between the slits plays a crucial role in the interference pattern observed in the double slit experiment. When the distance between the slits is smaller than the wavelength of the light, the interference pattern becomes more pronounced. However, when the distance between the slits is larger than the wavelength, the interference pattern becomes less defined.

## 5. What are the real-world applications of the double slit experiment?

The double slit experiment has implications for various fields, including optics, quantum mechanics, and even computing. It has also been used to study the behavior of particles and waves in various systems, providing insights into the fundamental nature of matter and energy.

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