wave-particle duality


wave-particle duality

Principle that subatomic particles possess some wavelike characteristics, and that electromagnetic waves, such as light, possess some particlelike characteristics. In 1905, by demonstrating the photoelectric effect, Albert Einstein showed that light, which until then had been thought of as a form of electromagnetic wave (see electromagnetic radiation), must also be thought of as localized in packets of discrete energy (see photon). In 1924 Louis-Victor Broglie proposed that electrons have wave properties such as wavelength and frequency; their wavelike nature was experimentally established in 1927 by the demonstration of their diffraction. The theory of quantum electrodynamics combines the wave theory and the particle theory of electromagnetic radiation.

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