Questions about wave-particle duality

In summary, the conversation is about the nature of wave-particle duality in quantum physics. The first question asks how it is possible for electromagnetic radiation to consist of particles if particles with mass require infinite energy to move at the speed of light. The second question suggests the idea of EMR oscillating between being a wave and a particle, but this does not align with the concept of probability in quantum mechanics. The conversation also discusses the concept of photons being packets of energy and how this may explain why quantum phenomena are more apparent at higher frequencies.
  • #1
chaslie
2
0
Please bear with me as I have been reading about quantum physics and, not being a physicist, I have some questions regarding the nature of wave-particle duality.

First of all, according to the special theory of relativity a particle with a rest mass would need infinite energy to accelerate to the speed of light. If this is the case, how is it possible for electromagnetic radiation to consist of particles?

Second, is it possible that instead of EMR being thought of as a wave-particle duality to think of it as oscillating between being a wave and a particle? In other words, can EMR change from a wave state to a particle state at the node of a wave, before changing back to a wave state?

This to me would explain why the quantum nature of light becomes more apparent at higher frequencies than at lower frequencies since there would be more nodes per unit of time with higher frequency photons than with lower-frequency photons.

Thoughts and/or explanations would be welcome. Just keep it simple please.
 
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  • #2
chaslie said:
Please bear with me as I have been reading about quantum physics and, not being a physicist, I have some questions regarding the nature of wave-particle duality.

First of all, according to the special theory of relativity a particle with a rest mass would need infinite energy to accelerate to the speed of light. If this is the case, how is it possible for electromagnetic radiation to consist of particles?

Second, is it possible that instead of EMR being thought of as a wave-particle duality to think of it as oscillating between being a wave and a particle? In other words, can EMR change from a wave state to a particle state at the node of a wave, before changing back to a wave state?

This to me would explain why the quantum nature of light becomes more apparent at higher frequencies than at lower frequencies since there would be more nodes per unit of time with higher frequency photons than with lower-frequency photons.

Thoughts and/or explanations would be welcome. Just keep it simple please.

Photons have no mass. It is why it can move at c.

Please start by reading the FAQ subforums in both the General Physics forum and the Relativity forum.

Zz.
 
  • #3
chaslie said:
Second, is it possible that instead of EMR being thought of as a wave-particle duality to think of it as oscillating between being a wave and a particle? In other words, can EMR change from a wave state to a particle state at the node of a wave, before changing back to a wave state?

This to me would explain why the quantum nature of light becomes more apparent at higher frequencies than at lower frequencies since there would be more nodes per unit of time with higher frequency photons than with lower-frequency photons.

Thoughts and/or explanations would be welcome. Just keep it simple please.

It is a nice thought, but it doesn't really work out. For example, for a plane wave, the probability of finding the photon is constant throughout space. It doesn't have 'nodes' where the probability goes to zero.

If you could make the wave-function of some particle be a standing wave (for example, a particle in a square well), then there would be 'nodes', where the probability of finding the particle goes to zero. But this does not mean the particle exists as purely particle and not wave at the nodes. It simply means the particle has zero probability of being found at the node.
 
  • #4
how is it possible for electromagnetic radiation to consist of particles?

I am also not a physicist and have learned mainly from books. However I did read somewhere that photons can be considered not as particles but as 'packets' of defined energy (hence quantum). I believe the amount of energy in each 'packet' is defined by the frequency of the light, so at higher frequncies, the amount of energy is higher. This may be the reason that quantum phenomena are more obvious at higher frequencies.

I really not sure of what I'm saying, so please feel free to correct and verify anything :)
 

Related to Questions about wave-particle duality

1. What is wave-particle duality?

Wave-particle duality is the concept in quantum mechanics that states that all particles, such as electrons and photons, can exhibit both wave-like and particle-like behavior.

2. How does wave-particle duality affect the behavior of particles?

Wave-particle duality explains that particles can behave as both waves and particles, depending on the experimental setup. This means that particles can have properties of both waves, such as interference patterns, and particles, such as discrete energy levels.

3. Who first proposed the idea of wave-particle duality?

The concept of wave-particle duality was first proposed by French physicist Louis de Broglie in his 1924 PhD thesis. He suggested that particles, like electrons, have both wave-like and particle-like properties.

4. What experiments support the concept of wave-particle duality?

The double-slit experiment, where particles exhibit interference patterns like waves, is one of the most famous experiments supporting wave-particle duality. Other experiments, such as the photoelectric effect and the Compton effect, also provide evidence for this concept.

5. How does wave-particle duality relate to the uncertainty principle?

The uncertainty principle, proposed by Werner Heisenberg, states that it is impossible to know both the position and momentum of a particle with absolute certainty. This is because the act of measuring one property affects the other. Wave-particle duality plays a role in this principle because particles can have properties of both waves and particles, making it difficult to accurately measure both properties at the same time.

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