Waves or Particles? 5:6 Quantum Mechanics 1:9 »

Waves or Particles?

Electrons as Waves

The diffraction pattern obtained with firing a beam of electrons through a crystalline material. This can only be explained if the electrons are considered as waves.

de Broglie said that this relationship also held for other particles, like electrons. This was confirmed by G.P. Thomson and C.J. Davisson in 1927 when they demonstrated the diffraction of electron waves in the crystal lattice of nickel. Ironically, G.P. Thomson did this work about 30 years after his father, J.J. Thomson, demonstrated the particle nature of electrons! de Broglie's idea could also be applied to electrons moving around atoms. Only orbits which could accommodate a whole number of wavelengths would fit. This exactly confirmed what Bohr had postulated in this atomic model!

de Broglie won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1929 for his discovery, followed by Thomson and Davisson in 1937.


Related Laureates

 The Nobel Prize in Physics 1929 - Prince Louis-Victor Pierre Raymond de Broglie »  The Nobel Prize in Physics 1937 - Clinton Joseph Davisson »  The Nobel Prize in Physics 1937 - George Paget Thomson »

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