• Question: We do the classic light interference pattern experiment in class. It’s fascinating to see this setup is still used in current research, i.e. with antimatter positrons as you talk about on your profile.. What other ways do modern researchers investigate the wave nature of particles?

    Asked by Katie S to David on 14 Jan 2020.
    • Photo: David Keeble

      David Keeble answered on 14 Jan 2020: last edited 14 Jan 2020 3:58 pm

      Apologies for the late answer on this one. The clearest demonstrations of the wave nature of particles really are the these types of interference-based experiments, while performed back in 2003, a classic example of this was an experiment performed using C60 buckyballs by the Vienna group. Chemists have now performed these types of quantum interference experiments with even larger, more complex, molecules nevertheless the C60 experiment is particularly nice. When we see diffraction an interference patterns built up by detecting particles its pretty convincing. A primary purpose of these types of experiments has been to simply provide very clear demonstrations of the wave nature of particles. This itself is just one of the more overt manifestations of quantum mechanics. Many, many ‘every-day’ experiments are precisely quantified using quantum mechanics, it’s just to dig see that this is the case – it requires a higher level of knowledge of quantum mechanics. Or in other words investigating the wave nature of particles for its own sake is not a major goal as we have so many demonstrated examples already.