Whether light is a wave or a particle has a very interesting and a long history. In simple terms, the dual nature wave-particle duality stands for all the matters and light that exhibits the behavior of both waves as well as particles. Quantum theory illustrates that light and matter can not only be described in terms of particles but also in waves too; depending on the circumstances of the performed experiments. As we are discussing quantum theory, let us take a Quantum leap but back in time ; as per records, Democritus was the first one to talk about the nature of light.
After all, many of us humans like to have one right answer. But Einstein paved the way in by embracing wave-particle duality. We've already discussed the photoelectric effect, which led Einstein to describe light as a photon. Later that year, however, he added a twist to the story in a paper introducing special relativity.
In this paper, Einstein treated light as a continuous field of waves -- an apparent contradiction to his description of light as a stream of particles.
Yet that was part of his genius.
He willingly accepted the strange nature of light and chose whichever attribute best addressed the problem he was trying to solve.
Today, physicists accept the dual nature of light. In this modern view, they define light as a collection of one or more photons propagating through space as electromagnetic waves. This definition, which combines light's wave and particle nature, makes it possible to rethink Thomas Young's double-slit experiment in this way: Light travels away from a source as an electromagnetic wave.
When it encounters the slits, it passes through and divides into two wave fronts.
At first, physicists were reluctant to accept the dual nature of light. After all, many of us humans like to have one right answer. But Einstein paved the way in by embracing wave-particle duality. We've already discussed the photoelectric effect, which led Einstein to describe light as a photon. Based on Einstein’s light quantum hypothesis, the duality of the photon was confirmed quantum-mechanical experiments and examination. The photon is now regarded as a particle in fields related to the interaction of material with light that is absorbed and emitted; and regarded as a wave in regions relating to light propagation. The wave-particle duality principle of quantum physics holds that matter and light exhibit the behaviors of both waves and particles, depending upon the circumstances of the experiment. It is a complex topic but among the most intriguing in physics.
These wave fronts overlap and approach the screen. At the moment of impact, however, the entire wave field disappears and a photon appears. Quantum physicists often describe this by saying the spread-out wave "collapses" into a small point.
Similarly, photons make it possible for us to see the world around us. In total darkness, our eyes are actually able to sense single photons, but generally what we see in our daily lives comes to us in the form of zillions of photons produced by light sources and reflected off objects.
If you look around you right now, there is probably a light source in the room producing photons, and objects in the room that reflect those photons.
Your eyes absorb some of the photons flowing through the room, and that's how you see. What makes a light source produce photons?
We'll get to that.wave-particle duality - (physics) the property of matter and electromagnetic radiation that is characterized by the fact that some properties can be explained best by wave theory and others by particle theory.
Wave-particle duality is the term for the fact that fundamental objects in the universe such as photons or electrons appear to exhibit aspects of either waves or particles depending on the experiment. In modern physics, the double-slit experiment is a demonstration that light and matter can display characteristics of both classically defined waves and particles; Thomas Young's experiment with light was part of classical physics well before quantum mechanics, and the concept of wave-particle duality.
Wave-particle duality: Wave-particle duality, possession by physical entities (such as light and electrons) of both wavelike and particle-like characteristics.
On the basis of experimental evidence, German physicist Albert Einstein first showed () that light, which had been considered a form of electromagnetic waves. The wave-particle duality principle of quantum physics holds that matter and light exhibit the behaviors of both waves and particles, depending upon the circumstances of the experiment.
It is a complex topic but among the most intriguing in physics. With this discovery, Einstein sparked what is now called the Wave-Particle Duality.
Light leads a dual life — it exists as a wave when the luminance of a candle flows around an object that obstructs its path, but it also exists as a particle when fired from the nozzle of a LASER.