The Dual Nature of the Electron
Depending on the experimental circumstances, EM radiation appears to have either a
wavelike or
a particlelike (photon) character
.
Louis de Broglie (18921987) who was working on his Ph.D. degree at the time, made a daring
hypothesis:
if radiant energy could, under appropriate circumstances behave as though it were a stream of
particles, then could matter, under appropriate circumstances, exhibit wavelike properties?
For example,
the electron in orbit around a nucleus
. DeBroglie suggested that the electron
could be thought of
as a wave with a characteristic wavelength.
He proposed that the wavelength of the electron was a function of its mass (m) and its velocity
(
υ
):
i.e. the wavelength for "matter waves", where
h
is Planck's constant and is
υ
velocity (not, the
frequency). The quantity
m
υ
for any object is its
momentum
(mass * velocity).
What is the characteristic wavelength of an electron with a velocity of 5.97 x 10
6
m/s? (the mass
of the electron is 9.11 x 10
28
g)
Planck's constant (h) is 6.63 x 10
34
J s (also, recall that 1J = 1 kg m
2
/s
2
)
converting g to kg:
This preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.
View Full Document
This is the end of the preview.
Sign up
to
access the rest of the document.
 Winter '11
 HECTORRODRIGUEZ
 Electron, pH, Energy, Photon, Planck, characteristic wavelength

Click to edit the document details