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the Physics Education Technology Project
This webpage contains an interactive simulation that allows students to explore quantum interference of photons and matter particles. Users have the choice to shoot either a continuous beam or single particles at a screen and watch an interference pattern emerge. The entire evolution of the wave packet can be seen as it travels from the source to the screen. This simulation helps learners to develop a concrete mental model of quantum particles and the process of interference. User controls include resolution of the detector, size and placement of barriers, slits and detectors, types of particles modeled, frequency of photons or velocity of the particles. Tools include a stopwatch and ruler to record data plus a capture tool for comparison of results at time intervals.
This simulation is part of a large and growing collection. It has been designed using principles from physics education research and refined based on student interviews. SEE RELATED ITEMS on this page for a link to lecture presentations and clicker questions designed specifically for use with this simulation.
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This is a lecture presentation in Power Point format designed by the PhET research team specifically to supplement the Quantum Wave Interference simulation. It could be adapted for use in either a sophomore-level Modern Physics class or an introductory class.