definitions
  • synonyms

wave-particle duality

The exhibition of both wavelike and particlelike properties by a single entity. For example, electrons undergo diffraction and can interfere with each other as waves, but they also act as pointlike masses and electric charges. The theory of quantum mechanics is a attempt to explain these apparently contradictory properties exhibited by matter. See also complementarity.

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Nearby words

wave trap, wave-and-pay, wave-cut platform, wave-form, wave-off, wave-particle duality, waveband, waved, waveform, wavefront, waveguide
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Culture definitions for wave-particle duality

wave-particle duality


In quantum mechanics, the condition that allows every quantum to appear like a wave in some experiments and like an elementary particle in others.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.