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Dual Nature of Matter
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Summary
If marbles are shot randomly at a screen with a slit, a single line (band) pattern on the back wall where they go through the slit can be seen. Now if a second slit is added, a second band duplicated on the wall can be seen. Instead of marbles if water waves pass through the single slit screen a single band pattern is produced. But when a wave passes through a double slit screen, each slit produces a different sub-wave. If the top of one of these waves meets the bottom of another wave they cancel each other producing an interference pattern (multiple bands) on the wall.
Scientists conducted the same experiment at quantum level with electrons which created an interference pattern when passed through a double slit screen. This was completely unexpected because electrons are particles but were behaving like waves. It was suspected that the electrons were bouncing off each other to create this pattern. So the experiment was repeated by shooting one electron at a time. Surprisingly, even this trial produced an interference pattern. The conclusion was inescapable; a single electron leaves as a particle, becomes a wave of potentials, goes through both the slits and then interferes with itself to hit the wall as a particle. Physicists were completely baffled by this so they decided to put a measuring device at one of the slits to find out through which slit the electron actually went. But when they observed, the electron went back to behaving as a particle. The very act of measuring or observing made the electron act differently as if it was aware that it was being watched. This is called the dual nature of matter.
Keywords: wave–particle duality, two-slit diffraction of waves, diffraction, interference, Thomas Young, Dual nature of light, Fraunhofer diffraction, Huygens–Fresnel principle, De Broglie's hypothesis, Planck's constant, Quantum mechanics
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