Chapter 3Wave optics

To this point we have discussed the geometrical optics of charged particles in electric and magnetic fields, based on relativistic classical mechanics. This fails to explain the important class of phenomena arising from diffraction and interference of matter waves. A proper description begins with quantum mechanics.

This is perhaps best appreciated by considering the analogy with light optics. Einstein’s original hypothesis in 1905 holds that the electromagnetic field is quantized. As such, light propagates in discrete energy packets called photons. Furthermore, acording to a later hypothesis by Einstein, a single photon is endowed with momentum p which satisfies

p=hλ,(3.1)

where h is Planck’s constant, given by h = 6.6261 ...

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