# Thread: Why does the electron orbit the nucleus?

1. Originally Posted by Treedbear
Or is each photon exhibiting evidence of wave-like behavior even though acting on its own?
Yes, I believe this is the case. The photon approaches the two slits. It's wavelike properties interact with the two slits in such a way that the path it takes after the slits depends on a probability distribution. The detector then detects the photon. The next photon does the same thing, and the next. Eventually, enough photons have gone through the slits and been detected on the other side that the probability distribution can be seen in the pattern of the detected photons. Assuming that the photons are the same wavelength and the orientation of their path relative to the slits is preserved, then each photon will follow the same probability distribution.

It's like running a Monte Carlo simulation in which each photon has a probability of being detected at a certain position and with enough runs the pattern emerges.

However, the two-slit interference pattern is typically taught with just pure wavelike properties, with a "wave front" of light entering the two slits and interfering on the other side. The problem is that the wave model and the particle model are obviously individually incomplete descriptions of the photon (and all elementary particles), and the use of them together is a bit of a kluge, because we don't have a complete model that gracefully handles the duality.

2. Originally Posted by Shadowy Man
Originally Posted by Treedbear
Or is each photon exhibiting evidence of wave-like behavior even though acting on its own?
Yes, I believe this is the case. The photon approaches the two slits. It's wavelike properties interact with the two slits in such a way that the path it takes after the slits depends on a probability distribution. The detector then detects the photon. The next photon does the same thing, and the next. Eventually, enough photons have gone through the slits and been detected on the other side that the probability distribution can be seen in the pattern of the detected photons. Assuming that the photons are the same wavelength and the orientation of their path relative to the slits is preserved, then each photon will follow the same probability distribution.

It's like running a Monte Carlo simulation in which each photon has a probability of being detected at a certain position and with enough runs the pattern emerges.

However, the two-slit interference pattern is typically taught with just pure wavelike properties, with a "wave front" of light entering the two slits and interfering on the other side. The problem is that the wave model and the particle model are obviously individually incomplete descriptions of the photon (and all elementary particles), and the use of them together is a bit of a kluge, because we don't have a complete model that gracefully handles the duality.
It makes me wonder whether the patterns produced by the intersection of wavefronts in a interferometer (such as the type used for measuring the surface contours in the manufacture of optical components) are actually not due to interference between separate wavefronts. I suppose it's really each photon interfering with its own probability wave rather than the separate photons in the two wavefronts "collectively" interfering with each other. I'm thinking the pattern would emerge even if the photons were sent one at a time as in the double-slit experiment.

3. Originally Posted by Treedbear
Originally Posted by Shadowy Man
Originally Posted by Treedbear
Or is each photon exhibiting evidence of wave-like behavior even though acting on its own?
Yes, I believe this is the case. The photon approaches the two slits. It's wavelike properties interact with the two slits in such a way that the path it takes after the slits depends on a probability distribution. The detector then detects the photon. The next photon does the same thing, and the next. Eventually, enough photons have gone through the slits and been detected on the other side that the probability distribution can be seen in the pattern of the detected photons. Assuming that the photons are the same wavelength and the orientation of their path relative to the slits is preserved, then each photon will follow the same probability distribution.

It's like running a Monte Carlo simulation in which each photon has a probability of being detected at a certain position and with enough runs the pattern emerges.

However, the two-slit interference pattern is typically taught with just pure wavelike properties, with a "wave front" of light entering the two slits and interfering on the other side. The problem is that the wave model and the particle model are obviously individually incomplete descriptions of the photon (and all elementary particles), and the use of them together is a bit of a kluge, because we don't have a complete model that gracefully handles the duality.
It makes me wonder whether the patterns produced by the intersection of wavefronts in a interferometer (such as the type used for measuring the surface contours in the manufacture of optical components) are actually not due to interference between separate wavefronts. I suppose it's really each photon interfering with its own probability wave rather than the separate photons in the two wavefronts "collectively" interfering with each other. I'm thinking the pattern would emerge even if the photons were sent one at a time as in the double-slit experiment.
The Wikipedia page for the double slit experiment has a nice little visualisation of the way the photon (or electron) interacts with the slits.

4. Originally Posted by bigfield
Originally Posted by Treedbear

It makes me wonder whether the patterns produced by the intersection of wavefronts in a interferometer (such as the type used for measuring the surface contours in the manufacture of optical components) are actually not due to interference between separate wavefronts. I suppose it's really each photon interfering with its own probability wave rather than the separate photons in the two wavefronts "collectively" interfering with each other. I'm thinking the pattern would emerge even if the photons were sent one at a time as in the double-slit experiment.
The Wikipedia page for the double slit experiment has a nice little visualisation of the way the photon (or electron) interacts with the slits.

I was trying to think of how the interferometer is similar to the double-slit and it occurred to me that the interferometer uses a beam splitter. Usually a very thin half-silvered membrane. The photon either passes straight through it or else is reflected at a 90 degree angle, thus forming two separate arms. One arm forms the reference beam and the other the sample or test beam. They are made to intersect on a projection screen or camera and a pattern of light and dark bands reveal the difference in path lengths in fractions of a wavelength. The common link between the two apparatus is that an approximately 50% uncertainty is introduced at the very beginning of the photon's path.

5. The wave particle dilema/

Is it a particle or wave? We take it as both dneding on what we are trying to do.

The conversion efficiency of a photo detector is electrons per photons. The optical bandwidth of the detector is in wavelengths.

For a photon energy is related to wavelength. For an atom to absorb a photon the energy of the photon has to equal the badngap energy of the atom in Ev.

I look at it as a system of units and dimensions that work. In electo-optics it goes back and forth between particle and wave depending on what you are looking at.
used to have a copy as part of my at work books.. Solid Stae Electromncs by Steetman.

It is a good overall intro to applied QM an easy read.

6. It occurs to me--with all the rabbit holes you can go down in physics, especially particle phyiscs--it the fundamental particle of the universe perhaps the rabbit?

7. Originally Posted by Loren Pechtel
is the fundamental particle of the universe perhaps the rabbit?
Nah, it's turtles all the way down.

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