matter wave

Encyclopedia Britannica
Encyclopedia

matter wave

any aspect of the behaviour or properties of a material object that varies in time or space in conformity with the mathematical equations that describe waves. By analogy with the wave and particle behaviour of light that had already been established experimentally, the French physicist Louis de Broglie suggested (1924) that particles might have wave properties in addition to particle properties. Three years later the wave nature of electrons was detected experimentally. Objects of everyday experience, however, have a computed wavelength much smaller than that of electrons, so their wave properties have never been detected; familiar objects show only particle behaviour. De Broglie waves play an appreciable role, therefore, only in the realm of subatomic particles

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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