A handbook of terms used in chaos and quantum chaos by W.-H Steeb

By W.-H Steeb

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So the resulting intensity distribution cannot be predicted from I1 or from I2 alone, for it depends on the phase =, which cannot be measured when only one slit is open (= can be calculated from the slits separation or from the observed intensities I1 , I2 and I ). Conclusion: Classically, waves exhibit interference patterns, particles do not. When two noninteracting streams of particles combine in the same region of space, their intensities add; when waves combine, their amplitudes add but their intensities do not.

No longer valid at the microscopic scale is the notion that a wave cannot behave as a particle and vice versa. The true reality of a quantum system is that it is neither a pure particle nor a pure wave. The particle and wave aspects of a quantum system manifest themselves only when subjected to, or intruded on by, penetrating means of observation (any procedure of penetrating observation would destroy the initial state of the quantum system; for instance, the mere act of looking at an electron will knock it out of its orbit).

We may recall the physical meaning of O: the intensity of the wave is given by I  O 2 . 8, in which a source S fires a stream of bullets; the bullets are assumed to be indestructible and hence arrive on the screen in identical lumps. In the first experiment, only slit S1 is open; let I1 y be the corresponding intensity collected on the screen (the number of bullets arriving per second at a given point y). In the second experiment, let I2 y be the intensity collected on the screen when only S2 is open.

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A handbook of terms used in chaos and quantum chaos by W.-H Steeb
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