Document Type

Article

Publication Date

3-18-2013

Publication Title

American Journal of Physics

Abstract

The de Broglie-Bohm “pilot-wave” theory replaces the paradoxical wave-particle duality of ordinary quantum theory with a more mundane and literal kind of duality: each individual photon or electron comprises a quantum wave (evolving in accordance with the usual quantum mechanical wave equation) and a particle that, under the influence of the wave, traces out a definite trajectory. The definite particle trajectory allows the theory to account for the results of experiments without the usual recourse to additional dynamical axioms about measurements. Instead, one need simply assume that particle detectors click when particles arrive at them. This alternative understanding of quantum phenomena is illustrated here for two elementary textbook examples of one-dimensional scattering and tunneling. We introduce a novel approach to reconcile standard textbook calculations (made using unphysical plane-wave states) with the need to treat such phenomena in terms of normalizable wave packets. This approach allows for a simple but illuminating analysis of the pilot- wave theory’s particle trajectories and an explicit demonstration of the equivalence of the pilot-wave theory predictions with those of ordinary quantum theory.

Volume

81

Issue

4

First Page

258

Last Page

266

DOI

http://dx.doi.org/10.1119/1.4792375

ISSN

1943-2909

Rights

© 2013 American Association of Physics Teachers.

Comments

Archived as published.

Share

COinS