Study on the Physical Basis of Wave-Particle Duality: Modelling the Vacuum as a Continuous Mechanical Medium

Affiliation(s)

^{1}
Division of LIFS, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, Hong Kong, China.

^{2}
Department of Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology,
Hong Kong, China.

ABSTRACT

One great surprise discovered in modern physics is that all elementary particles exhibit the property of wave-particle duality. We investigated this problem recently and found a simple way to explain this puzzle. We proposed that all particles, including massless particles such as photon and massive particles such as electron, can be treated as excitation waves in the vacuum, which behaves like a physical medium. Using such a model, the phenomenon of wave-particle duality can be explained naturally. The key question now is to find out what kind of physical properties this vacuum medium may have. In this paper, we investigate if the vacuum can be modeled as an elastic solid or a dielectric medium as envisioned in the Maxwell theory of electricity and magnetism. We show that a similar form of wave equation can be derived in three cases: (1) By modelling the vacuum medium as an elastic solid; (2) By constructing a simple Lagrangian density that is a 3-D extension of a stretched string or a vibrating membrane; (3) By assuming that the vacuum is a dielectric medium, from which the wave equation can be derived directly from Maxwell’s equations. Similarity between results of these three systems suggests that the vacuum can be modelled as a mechanical continuum, and the excitation wave in the vacuum behaves like some of the excitation waves in a physical medium.

One great surprise discovered in modern physics is that all elementary particles exhibit the property of wave-particle duality. We investigated this problem recently and found a simple way to explain this puzzle. We proposed that all particles, including massless particles such as photon and massive particles such as electron, can be treated as excitation waves in the vacuum, which behaves like a physical medium. Using such a model, the phenomenon of wave-particle duality can be explained naturally. The key question now is to find out what kind of physical properties this vacuum medium may have. In this paper, we investigate if the vacuum can be modeled as an elastic solid or a dielectric medium as envisioned in the Maxwell theory of electricity and magnetism. We show that a similar form of wave equation can be derived in three cases: (1) By modelling the vacuum medium as an elastic solid; (2) By constructing a simple Lagrangian density that is a 3-D extension of a stretched string or a vibrating membrane; (3) By assuming that the vacuum is a dielectric medium, from which the wave equation can be derived directly from Maxwell’s equations. Similarity between results of these three systems suggests that the vacuum can be modelled as a mechanical continuum, and the excitation wave in the vacuum behaves like some of the excitation waves in a physical medium.

Cite this paper

Chang, D. and Lee, Y. (2015) Study on the Physical Basis of Wave-Particle Duality: Modelling the Vacuum as a Continuous Mechanical Medium.*Journal of Modern Physics*, **6**, 1058-1070. doi: 10.4236/jmp.2015.68110.

Chang, D. and Lee, Y. (2015) Study on the Physical Basis of Wave-Particle Duality: Modelling the Vacuum as a Continuous Mechanical Medium.

References

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[2] Selleri, F. (1992) Wave-Particle Duality. Plenum Press, New York.

http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4615-3332-0

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http://dx.doi.org/10.4236/jmp.2013.411A1004

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http://dx.doi.org/10.2475/ajs.s3-34.203.333

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[1] Messiah, A. (1965) Quantum Mechanics. John Wiley & Sons, New York, 45-59.

[2] Selleri, F. (1992) Wave-Particle Duality. Plenum Press, New York.

http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4615-3332-0

[3] Newton, I. (1704) Opticks: Or, a Treatise of the Reflexions, Refractions, Inflexions and Colours of Light. London.

[4] Huygens, C. (1690) Traité De La Lumière. Pieter van der Aa, Leiden.

[5] Longair, M.S. (1984) Theoretical Concepts in Physics: An Alternative View of Theoretical Reasoning in Physics for Final-Year Undergraduates. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, New York, 37-59.

[6] Einstein, A. (1905) Annalen der Physik, 17, 132-147. http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/andp.200590004

[7] Davisson, C.J. and Germer, L.H. (1927) Nature, 119, 558-560. http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/119558a0

[8] Thomson, G.P. and Reid, A. (1927) Nature, 119, 890. http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/119890a0

[9] De Broglie, L. (1924) Recherchessur la théorie des quanta. Ph.D. Thesis, L’Université de Paris, Paris.

[10] Halban, H.V.J. and Preiswerk, P. (1936) Preuveexpérimentale de la diffraction des neutrons. Comptes Rendus de l'Académie des Sciences, Paris, 203, 73-75.

[11] Estermann, I. and Stern, O. (1930) Zeitschrift Für Physik, 61, 95-125.

http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/BF01340293

[12] Arndt, M., Nairz, O., Vos-Andreae, J., Keller, C., Van der Zouw, G. and Zeilinger, A. (1999) Nature, 401, 680-682. http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/44348

[13] Messiah, A. (1965) Quantum Mechanics. Volume 1, John Wiley & Sons, New York, 47-48.

[14] Einstein, A. and Born, M. (1971) The Born-Einstein Letters. Walker and Company, New York.

[15] Chang, D.C. (2013) Journal of Modern Physics, 4, 21-30.

http://dx.doi.org/10.4236/jmp.2013.411A1004

[16] Chang, D.C. (2005) http://arxiv.org/abs/physics/0505010.

[17] Chang, D.C. (2004) http://arxiv.org/abs/physics/0404044.

[18] Whittaker, E. (1951) A History of the Theories of Aether and Electricity. Thomas Nelson and Sons Ltd., London.

[19] Michelson, A.A. and Morley, E.W. (1887) American Journal of Science, 34, 333-345.

http://dx.doi.org/10.2475/ajs.s3-34.203.333

[20] Reismann, H. and Pawlik, P.S. (1980) Elasticity: Theory and Applications. John Wiley and Sons, New York.

[21] Fung, Y.C. (1977) A First Course in Continuum Mechanics. Prentice-Hall, Upper Saddle River.

[22] Salencon, J. (2001) Handbook of Continuum Mechanics: General Concepts, Thermoelasticity. Springer Science & Business Media, New York, 333. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-56542-7

[23] Arfken, G.B. and Weber, H.J. (1995) Mathematical Methods for Physicists. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.

[24] Weinstock, R. (1952) Calculus of Variations with Applications to Physics and Engineering. McGraw-Hill, New York.

[25] Cottingham, W.N. and Greenwood, D.A. (1998) An Introduction to the Standard Model of Particle Physics. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 37-47.

[26] Sakurai, J.J. (1973) Advanced Quantum Mechanics. Addison-Wesley, Reading, 78-89.

[27] Cottingham, W.N. and Greenwood, D.A. (1998) An Introduction to the Standard Model of Particle Physics. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 72.

[28] Stratton, J.A. (1941) Electromagnetic Theory. McGraw-Hill, New York.

[29] Dirac, P.A.M. (1981) The Principles of Quantum Mechanics. Clarendon Press, Oxford, 253-275.

[30] Hey, T. and Walters, P. (2003) The New Quantum Universe. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 229. http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/cbo9780511818752

[31] Dodd, J.E. (1984) The Idea for Particle Physics: An Introduction for Scientists. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 30-31.

[32] Graff, K.F. (1975) Wave Motion in Elastic Solids. Clarendon Press, Oxford.