Topics: Quantum mechanics, Light, Photon Pages: 2 (726 words) Published: April 20, 2013
For centuries, people are quite confused about whether light is particle or wave. The topic has been studied by quite a few world-famous scientists including Isaac Newton, Christiaan Huygens, Thomas Young, James Maxwell, and Albert Einstein etc. The problem was finally solved by the establishment of quantum mechanics theory at the beginning of 20th century. The theory states that all the particles such as photons, electrons and atoms can be described by Schrödinger equation. And the solution to the equation is called wave function, which demonstrates the state of the particles. It has the property of superposition, which means that there exist the phenomena of interference and diffraction. It has another interesting name called probability wave. It is because that for a single particle, interference or diffraction does not happen. Only when there are quantities of particles, does there appear interference or diffraction. It is because that each particle has the probability of going anywhere and when the particles accumulate, the phenomena can be clearly seen. In this way, particle and wave are connected in quantum mechanics and it is called particle wave duality. Research into the duality of light

In history, the earliest wave theory of light was established by Huygens, who held the opinion that the nature of light is wave and he also explained the concept of the wave front and how it forms the wave of light. Using the wave front, Huygens successfully explained that light travels in the straight line and how light reflects between different media. While Newton put forward another totally different theory. He believes that the essence of light is particles. Then Newton explained the reflection of light without effort. And moreover, he succeeded in explaining the phenomenon of light’s dispersion under a prism. As Newton’s great position in physics, in a very long time, people believe that the nature of light is particles until the discovery of...
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