You are here:

Physics/Double slit experiment

Advertisement


Question
I'm writing in reference to the double slit experiment which has been used to show the wave like behavior of particles and atoms. The air we breathe is made up of gases which are atoms floating around. Suppose I were to (hypothetically), blow into double slits. (Their dimensions and spacings being typical of any double slit experiments on the order of a few nanometers) As I blow the air (gases), the atoms of those gases will go through the slits. Are the atoms of those gases interfering with one another? Or does it only work with atoms in a particular setup?

Answer
The mean free path of atoms in the atmosphere is nanoscopic, so this situation doesn't really apply.  You're right that the atoms are interfering with one another in this case.  The experiment is for a vacuum, where you just have the slits and the particles interacting.  The experimental situation you're proposing is vastly more complex.

Physics

All Answers


Answers by Expert:


Ask Experts

Volunteer


Dr. Stephen O. Nelson

Expertise

I can answer most basic physics questions, physics questions about science fiction and everyday observations of physics, etc. I'm also usually good for science fair advice (I'm the regional science fair director). I do not answer homework problems. I will occasionally point out where a homework solution went wrong, though. I'm usually good at explaining odd observations that seem counterintuitive, energy science, nuclear physics, nuclear astrophysics, and alternative theories of physics are my specialties.

Experience

I was a physics professor at the University of Texas of the Permian Basin, research in nuclear technology and nuclear astrophysics. My travelling science show saw over 20,000 students of all ages. I taught physics, nuclear chemistry, radiation safety, vacuum technology, and answer tons of questions as I tour schools encouraging students to consider careers in science. I moved on to a non-academic job with more research just recently.

Education/Credentials
Ph. D. from Duke University in physics, research in nuclear astrophysics reactions, gamma-ray astronomy technology, and advanced nuclear reactors.

©2016 About.com. All rights reserved.