Quantum Wave Interference
- Quantum Mechanics
When do photons, electrons, and atoms behave like particles and when do they behave like waves? Watch waves spread out and interfere as they pass through a double slit, then get detected on a screen as tiny dots. Use quantum detectors to explore how measurements change the waves and the patterns they produce on the screen.
Sample Learning Goals
- Visualize a photon, electron, neutron, or helium atom as a wave packet that collapses upon detection.
- Visualize what happens to the wave between slit and screen.
- Justify how the double slit experiment explains that matter and light behave as waves.
- Describe the behavior of a wave function in the presence of a detector, and explain how putting a detector over a slit destroys the interference pattern. Determine how the interference pattern will change if you change the mass, speed, or wavelength.
- Recognize large range of size scales involved in quantum interference experiments.
- Recognize that two coherent light sources can interfere, but only if they have the same wavelength.