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Wave-particle duality

In physics and chemistry, wave-particle duality holds that light and matter exhibit properties of both waves and of particles.

A central concept of quantum mechanics, duality addresses the inadequacy of conventional concepts like "particle" and "wave" to meaningfully describe the behaviour of quantum objects.

The idea of duality is rooted in a debate over the nature of light and matter dating back to the 1600s, when competing theories of light were proposed by Christiaan Huygens and Isaac Newton.

Through the work of Albert Einstein, Louis de Broglie and many others, it is now established that all objects have both wave and particle nature (though this phenomenon is only detectable on small scales, such as with atoms), and that a suitable interpretation of quantum mechanics provides the over-arching theory resolving this ostensible paradox.

Note:   The above text is excerpted from the Wikipedia article "Wave-particle duality", which has been released under the GNU Free Documentation License.
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August 3, 2015

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