The Mystery of the Dual-Slit Experiment

In 1927, scientists Clinton Davisson and Lester Germer (pictured above) formed an experiment which would baffle scientists for decades: The Dual-Slit Experiment.

Essentially, the experiment is a demonstration that light and matter can display characteristics of both classically defined waves and particles. It demonstrates quantum mechanical phenomena.

The experiment was first performed by Thomas Young in 1801, long before quantum mechanics. It was simply part of classical physics then. He believed it demonstrated that the wave theory of light was correct.

The experiment is classified as a “double path” experiment, where a wave is split into two separate waves and later combines as a single wave.

Basically, the experiment consists of a coherent light source, such as a laser beam, emitting light through two open slits on a plate. The light that passes through the slits is observed on a screen behind the plate. The result is light and dark bands on the screen.

double-slit-interference-fringes

This is the initial result when the atoms pass through the two slits. This happens even when they pass through one at a time.

Now, here’s where it gets weird. Scientists had the idea to place a monitor above the area between the plate and the back screen, so that the light on the monitor blinks each time an atom passes through the top slit. The result? Two dark bands instead of six.

double-slit-light-as-particles

Scientists even tried to be clever and turned the monitor off, quietly, as if to keep the atoms from “knowing” they are no longer being monitored. Once they did this, the six dark bands were back, as if the atoms “knew” the monitor was turned off–meaning they knew it was there, and turned on in the first place.

No matter what the scientists do, if they are trying to observe the atoms, they behave differently–creating two bands instead of six.

Later, scientists even performed an experiment similar to it, called the delayed choice experiment. They placed crystals in each slit, which causes the atoms to split. But, the same behavior occurs.

Here’s where it gets even more interesting: It is the same regardless of when the detection happens. Even if the second photon/atom is detected after the first photon hits the screen, it still ruins the interference pattern. This literally means that observing these atoms can change events that have already happened.

Of course, there are many theories out there. Some scientists say this could be a key to travel through time. Others even say this is evidence of an other world, or spirit world. It is often believed that the spiritual plane is much larger than the physical, so could this be tapping into it?

Scientists can’t explain it. Could religion?

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