Scientists have received an image of light that behaves like a wave and a particle at the same time.
For the first time, scientists from Switzerland and the United States managed to capture light behaving simultaneously as a wave and as a particle. For the experiment, a unique electron microscope was used in the Swiss EPFL laboratory.
From school, we know the principle of wave-particle duality - in some cases, the light behaves like a wave, and in some - like a collection of particles (photons). Albert Einstein used this principle, explaining why some metals emit electrons when light hits them. However, up to this point, the experiment, allowing to see how this happens, could not be set. Now, scientists have managed to make something like a photograph of light, which shows both particles and waves.
For the experiment, scientists aimed the laser at a tiny metal wire with a diameter of 8 * 10 -8 m, through which light in the form of a wave passed in one and the other direction. When meeting with itself, the light formed a standing wave, which in turn also emitted light, but in the form of particles. The flow of electrons directed to the right place showed what was happening there in all its quantum beauty.
Electrons interacted with a standing wave, and because of this, their speed changed. Using an ultrafast microscope, the places where these changes occurred were calculated, and thus the image of the wave was obtained. At the same time, electrons interacted with photons, exchanging energy quanta in this case, and these changes were captured already as the interaction of electrons with particles.