Chapter 40 463 Q40.18 An electron has both classical-wave and classical-particle characteristics. In single- and double-slit diffraction and interference experiments, electrons behave like classical waves. An electron has mass and charge. It carries kinetic energy and momentum in parcels of definite size, as classical particles do. At the same time it has a particular wavelength and frequency. Since an electron displays characteristics of both classical waves and classical particles, it is neither a classical wave nor a classical particle. It is customary to call it a quantum particle, but another invented term, such as “wavicle”, could serve equally well. Q40.19 The discovery of electron diffraction by Davisson and Germer was a fundamental advance in our understanding of the motion of material particles. Newton’s laws fail to properly describe the motion of an object with small mass. It moves as a wave, not as a classical particle. Proceeding from this recognition, the development of quantum mechanics made possible describing the motion of
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