A simple experimental checking of Heisenberg's uncertainty relations

Pašić, Selim and Gamulin, Ozren and Tocilj, Zoran (2006) A simple experimental checking of Heisenberg's uncertainty relations. Fizika A, 15 (2). pp. 73-84. ISSN 1330-0008

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We show that the quantum mechanical interpretation of the diffraction of light on a slit, when a wave function is assigned to a photon, can be used for a direct experimental study of Heisenberg's position-momentum and equivalent position-wave vector uncertainty relation for the photon. Results of an experimental test of the position-wave vector uncertainty relation, where the wavelength is used as the input parameter, are given and they very well confirm our approach. The same experimental results can also be used for a test of the position-momentum uncertainty relation when the momentum p_0 of a photon is known as the input parameter. We show that a measurement of p_0, independent of the knowledge of the value of the Planck's constant, is possible. Using that value of p_0, a test of the position-momentum uncertainty relation could be regarded as a method for a direct measurement of the Planck's constant. This is discussed, since the diffraction pattern is also well described by classical electrodynamics in the considered experimental conditions. This approach for testing the Heisenberg's uncertainty relations is very simple and consequently suitable as a quantitative exercise in undergraduate experimental courses, as well as a visual and attractive demonstration of the Heisenberg's uncertainty principle in courses of quantum mechanics.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: ethidium
Date: 2006
Subjects: NATURAL SCIENCES > Physics
Divisions: Faculty of Science > Department of Physics
Publisher: Hrvatsko fizikalno društvo
Depositing User: Gordana Stubičan Ladešić
Date Deposited: 15 Apr 2014 17:58
Last Modified: 15 Apr 2014 17:58
URI: http://digre.pmf.unizg.hr/id/eprint/864

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