Wave-particle duality is a fundamental concept in quantum physics that describes how particles, such as electrons and photons, can exhibit both wave-like and particle-like behavior.
According to classical physics, particles have a well-defined position and velocity at any given time. However, in the quantum world, particles do not behave in this predictable manner. Instead, particles can be described by wave-like properties, such as wavelength and frequency, and particle-like properties, such as position and momentum.
One of the most famous experiments that demonstrated wave-particle duality is the double-slit experiment. In this experiment, a beam of electrons or photons is directed at a screen with two narrow slits. When the beam passes through the slits, it diffracts and produces an interference pattern on the other side of the screen, which suggests that the particles behave like waves. However, when the experiment is repeated with detectors at the slits to observe which slit the particle passes through, the interference pattern disappears, and the particles behave like classical particles.
This phenomenon can be explained by the wave-particle duality of quantum physics. The particles can exist in a superposition of wave-like and particle-like properties until they are observed or measured. The act of observation collapses the wave function and forces the particle to take on a definite position and momentum.
Wave-particle duality is a central concept in quantum mechanics, and it has important implications for our understanding of the behavior of matter and energy at the atomic and subatomic levels. It is a fundamental principle that underlies many of the strange and fascinating phenomena of quantum mechanics, such as entanglement and superposition.