Can I get an answer stating some analogies on how electrons behave like a wave, and what does it even mean for an electron to behave like a wave? Also, if going around the nucleus, is electron a real physical wave or a probability distribution wave? And when in motion otherwise, (like an electron shot towards something) does it travel like a wave? I mean like up and down and up down that sort? Or is this wave different in some kind?

I'm really having a very hard time understanding this stuff, please help

PS- can you suggest a book which explains me this in kinda fun and intuitive way rather than mathematical balderdash?


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    $\begingroup$ That mathematical balderdash is what called science... $\endgroup$ – Greg Jul 11 at 4:23
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    $\begingroup$ Fun and intuitive only gets you a certain part of the way. Would you like a pilot, a surgeon or nuclear engineer learn their craft in a "kinda fun and intuitive way"? There is a benefit to a quantitative treatment. $\endgroup$ – Karsten Theis Jul 11 at 15:03
  • $\begingroup$ @KarstenTheis But that builds a base, at least. $\endgroup$ – user231094 Jul 11 at 15:04
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    $\begingroup$ @user231094 Sometimes it builds a strong base and sometimes it builds something that you have to remove again before you can continue (like a misconception). But I guess that's why you are asking for a recommendation. $\endgroup$ – Karsten Theis Jul 11 at 16:08
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    $\begingroup$ One major complication of intuition is there is no guarantee that your intuition has anything to do with my intuition. If I tell you to think of the electron as a blue, fuzzy sphere with orange sparks flying off of it, you'd think I'm crazy. Well, I just might be, but it kind of works (well, the sparks aren't orange, but you get the picture). $\endgroup$ – Jon Custer Jul 12 at 17:31

Electrons and photons behave similarly regarding diffraction and interference.

  • First consider a wave going through a single slit, as the amplitude of the waveform and its diffracted component interfere, creating a high central peak and weaker side-lobes. This follows Fraunhofer's formula, which applies to sinusoidal waves.

  • When a photon or an electron beam passes through a double-slit, it forms an interference pattern combined with the diffraction pattern, as the peaks and troughs of the waves sum or cancel.

Single and Double Slit Experiments (635 nm photons)

  • In both the case of the electron and photon, detection relies on the behavior of a particle, as if all its mass/energy is at a point. A single electron can be observed as a scintillation in a phosphor (e.g. cathode ray tube, CRT). A single photon has the energy to activate one particle of a silver halide emulsion.
  • If the flux of electrons (or photons) is reduced so that only a single "particle" is going through a double slit at a time, the double-slit interference pattern is not disturbed at all! This is one of the mind-boggling challenges of physics -- the electron or photon clearly is detected at only a single point, i.e. as a particle, yet behaves as a wave by interfering with itself. Which slit did the single particle go though? Both at once and the same time!

See this NYU lecture slide on wave-particle duality. This video and this one might help, too.


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