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How does the particle in the double slit experiment interact with the slits?

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Atul Kasana

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( 6 months ago )

I have a very normal yet a curious question about the double slit experiment. No one takes much interest in my college to explain the stuff. Instead they are all just busy to complete the syllabus so no point in asking them. At first I thought that this question is stupid but now am asking. How does the particle coming out of the particle accelerator doesn't hit the space in between the two slits? Does it diverge in a curved path before going through any one of the slit? And if it does diverge, then why?

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Harsh Vashishth

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( 6 months ago )

Most particles do hit that space, and are blocked. The source of particles must be such that it emits in all directions. Often, something is done to simulate a point source. An ideal point source emits in all directions. For example, in the case of light, a single slit is put in place before the double slit. The single slit simulates a point source and radiates in all forward directions.

Update after @Jaywalker's answer

@Jaywalker brings up an important aspect that I glossed over: How to reconcile the wave picture and the particle picture? How can a single "particle" (say, an electron) be launched toward both slits? The answer depends on what we think about when we say "particle". If we mean a tiny little object that moves through space like a projectile, then the answer is "it can't". This is primary evidence that that picture of "particle" is not a good description of what is going on. In short, all "particles", including electrons and photons, are quantized excitations of a field. Energy and momentum are transferred at particular locations, giving the impression that a object hit something. The field exists everywhere in space except where space is occupied by an obstruction. The excitation of the field (the "particle") exists everywhere, but the interactions occur at particular locations. The field obeys some wave equation, and thus exhibits interference.

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