Published in Chemistry World, 26 Mar 2012
Richard Feynman, one of the 20th century’s greatest physicists, once said the double-slit experiment went to ‘the heart of quantum mechanics’. Now, an international team of scientists has refined the famous experiment, allowing the untrained observer to watch it unfold in real time.
To understand the basics of the double-slit experiment, imagine firing solid particles at a wall containing two narrow gaps: at some distance on the other side, the particles amass in two piles. Now imagine sending water waves at the wall. Instead of two ‘piles’ of water forming, the waves interfere with each other, producing a complex array of peaks and troughs. It is this difference in pattern – a complex array of peaks and troughs compared with just two peaks – that classically distinguishes waves from particles. [...]
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