Inspired by the dual nature of light, in 1923 Louis DeBroglie postulated, in his PhD thesis, that material particles also have both a particle-like and a wave-like nature. He conjectured that the frequency and wavelength of a “particle” are related to its energy and momentum in the same way as the frequency and wavelength of light are related to its energy and momentum, namely
After the experimental verification of this prediction, DeBroglie was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1929.
- 5.1: Bragg Diffraction
- Incoming waves reflecting from the first crystal plane will interfere with waves reflecting from the second (and subsequent) crystal planes forming an interference pattern. This interference, termed Bragg diffraction, had been initially investigated using x-rays.
- 5.5: The Meaning of the Uncertainty Principle
- There is much confusion regarding the meaning of the Uncertainty Principle.
- 5.6: A Problem with DeBroglie’s Hypothesis?
- Aside from the “minor” issue of trying to understand what it means for a particle to have a frequency and a wavelength, DeBroglie’s hypothesis also leads to a more technical issue regarding how the frequency and wavelength of the particle are related to its velocity.
- 5.7: Virtual Pair Production (Project)
- The Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle allows for short-term violations of the law of energy conservation. These fluctuations in energy often take the form of matter/antimatter pairs of particles spontaneously “popping” into existence from otherwise empty space. These pairs of particles, called virtual particles, travel finite distances through space during their brief lifetimes and have repercussions that may influence the ultimate fate of the universe.