• Question: How do we identify that quantum wavefunctions apply to macroscopic objects and not just to one particle at a time?

    Asked by waveicle to Adam, Sheila on 25 Mar 2011 in Categories: .
    • Photo: Sheila Kanani

      Sheila Kanani answered on 24 Mar 2011:

      I’m not sure what you mean. In my head I thought wave functions describe atomic things rather than macroscopic things. I thought that wave-particle duality could be measured for atoms/particles but not for macroscopic objects because their wavelengths are too small so their wave properties can’t be measured…but I am probably wrong 🙂

    • Photo: Adam Tuff

      Adam Tuff answered on 25 Mar 2011:

      Interesting. Well, on the whole we don’t see quantum mechanics take hold on the macroscopic scale because of the wavelengths we use to probe. However, some things do exhibit quantum properties – for example superfluid movement, and we can explain lasers, or what we observe lasers do, with quantum mechanics – whether or not this is a “bulk” property of the object or not isn’t clear to me – I’d assume not considering the quantum case only applies in the quantum realm – in reality we are a many body system – but again, not too sure on that!