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If light consisted strictly of ordinary or classical particles, and these particles were fired in a straight line through a slit and allowed to strike a screen on the other side, we would expect to see a pattern corresponding to the size and shape of the slit.However, when this "single-slit experiment" is actually performed, the pattern on the screen is a diffraction pattern in which the light is spread out.Another version is the Mach–Zehnder interferometer, which splits the beam with a mirror.In the basic version of this experiment, a coherent light source, such as a laser beam, illuminates a plate pierced by two parallel slits, and the light passing through the slits is observed on a screen behind the plate.The experiment belongs to a general class of "double path" experiments, in which a wave is split into two separate waves that later combine into a single wave.Changes in the path lengths of both waves result in a phase shift, creating an interference pattern.The smaller the slit, the greater the angle of spread.
However, such experiments demonstrate that particles do not form the interference pattern if one detects which slit they pass through.Simulation of a particle wave function: double slit experiment. The whiter the pixel, the greater the probability of finding a particle in that place if measured.If one illuminates two parallel slits, the light from the two slits again interferes.The modern double-slit experiment is a demonstration that light and matter can display characteristics of both classically defined waves and particles; moreover, it displays the fundamentally probabilistic nature of quantum mechanical phenomena.
The original experiment was performed by Davisson and Germer in 1927.More bands can be seen with a more highly refined apparatus.