Navigation Links
Feynman's double-slit experiment brought to life
Date:3/13/2013

The precise methodology of Richard Feynman's famous double-slit thought-experiment a cornerstone of quantum mechanics that showed how electrons behave as both a particle and a wave has been followed in full for the very first time.

Although the particle-wave duality of electrons has been demonstrated in a number of different ways since Feynman popularised the idea in 1965, none of the experiments have managed to fully replicate the methodology set out in Volume 3 of Feynman's famous Lectures on Physics.

"The technology to do this experiment has been around for about two decades; however, to do a nice data recording of electrons takes some serious effort and has taken us three years," said lead author of the study Professor Herman Batelaan from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

"Previous double-slit experiments have successfully demonstrated the mysterious properties of electrons, but none have done so using Feynman's methodology, specifically the opening and closing of both slits at will and the ability to detect electrons one at a time.

"Akira Tonomura's brilliant experiment used a thin, charged wire to split electrons and bring them back together again, instead of two slits in a wall which was proposed by Feynman. To the best of my knowledge, the experiments by Guilio Pozzi were the first to use nano-fabricated slits in a wall; however, the slits were covered up by stuffing them with material so could not be open and closed automatically."

In their experiments, which have been published today, Thursday 14 March, in the Institute of Physics and German Physical Society's New Journal of Physics, Batelaan and his team, along with colleagues at the Perimeter Institute of Theoretical Physics, created a modern representation of Feynman's experiment by directing an electron beam, capable of firing individual electrons, at a wall made of a gold-coated silicon membrane.

The wall had two 62-nm-wide slits in it with a centre-to-centre separation of 272 nm. A 4.5 m wide and 10 m tall moveable mask, controlled by a piezoelectric actuator, was placed behind the wall and slid back and forth to cover the slits.

"We've created an experiment where both slits can be mechanically opened and closed at will and, most importantly, combined this with the capability of detecting one electron at a time.

"It is our task to turn every stone when it comes to the most fundamental experiments that one can do. We have done exactly that with Feynman's famous thought-experiment and have been able to illustrate the key feature of quantum mechanics," continued Batelaan.

Feynman's double-slit experiment

In Feynman's double-slit thought-experiment, a specific material is randomly directed at a wall which has two small slits that can be opened and closed at will some of the material gets blocked and some passes through the slits, depending on which ones are open.

Based on the pattern that is detected beyond the wall on a backstop which is fitted with a detector one can discern whether the material coming through behaves as either a wave or particle.

When particles are fired at the wall with both slits open, they are more likely to hit the backstop in one particular area, whereas waves interfere with each other and hit the backstop at a number of different points with differing strength, creating what is known as an interference pattern.

In 1965, Feynman popularised that electrons historically thought to be particles would actually produce the pattern of a wave in the double-split experiment.

Unlike sound waves and water waves, Feynman highlighted that when electrons are fired at the wall one at a time, an interference pattern is still produced. He went on to say that this phenomenon "has in it the heart of quantum physics [but] in reality, it contains the only mystery."


'/>"/>
Contact: Michael Bishop
michael.bishop@iop.org
01-179-301-032
Institute of Physics
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology technology :

1. Florida Tech Research Team Earns Competitive Grant, Begins ISS Mission Biology Experiment
2. Invisible tool enables new quantum experiments
3. First experiment at the ALBA synchrotron
4. ORNL experiments prove nanoscale metallic conductivity in ferroelectrics
5. U of Toronto experiment named top breakthrough of 2011 by Physics World
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:6/23/2016)... SILVER SPRING, Md. , June 23, 2016 ... evidence collected from the crime scene to track the criminal ... sick, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) uses ... Sound far-fetched? It,s not. ... whole genome sequencing to support investigations of foodborne illnesses. Put ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... --  EpiBiome , a precision microbiome engineering company, today ... from Silicon Valley Bank (SVB). The financing will allow ... drug development efforts, as well as purchase additional lab ... been an incredible strategic partner to us – one ... provide," said Dr. Aeron Tynes Hammack , EpiBiome,s ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... 23, 2016  Blueprint Bio, a company dedicated to ... medical community, has closed its Series A funding round, ... "We have received a commitment from Forentis ... need to meet our current goals," stated Matthew ... runway to complete validation on the current projects in ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... ... 2016 , ... Velocity Products, a division of Morris Group, ... exclusively for Okuma CNC machining centers at The International Manufacturing Technology Show, IMTS, ... companies with expertise in toolholding, cutting tools, machining dynamics and distribution, Velocity SMART ...
Breaking Biology Technology:
(Date:6/2/2016)... NEW YORK , June 2, 2016   The ... (Weather), is announcing Watson Ads, an industry-first capability in which ... advertising, by being able to ask questions via voice or ... Marketers have long ... with the consumer, that can be personal, relevant and valuable; ...
(Date:5/20/2016)... -- VoiceIt is excited to announce its new marketing ... working together, VoiceIt and VoicePass will offer an ... slightly different approaches to voice biometrics, collaboration between ... Both companies ... "This marketing and technology partnership allows VoiceIt ...
(Date:5/3/2016)... , May 3, 2016  Neurotechnology, a provider ... MegaMatcher Automated Biometric Identification System (ABIS) , ... multi-biometric projects. MegaMatcher ABIS can process multiple complex ... any combination of fingerprint, face or iris biometrics. ... SDK and MegaMatcher Accelerator , which ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):