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3.9 Modern Concept of Atomic Theory

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The modern theory which is usually called wave mechanics was developed by L. de Broglie, E. Schrodinger and Heisenberg.

Wave-Particle Duality

(a) Dual Character of Radiation

Light is known to exhibit dual character i.e., wave and particle character.

(i) According to the wave theory, light is known to travel as wave in the form of crests and troughs. Thus light is having wave character. This wave character of light could be able to explain certain phenomena such as interference, polarization diffraction, etc.

(ii) According to Planck's quantum theory, electromagnetic radiation is assumed to be made up of a stream of discrete energy particles called photons. When an electromagnetic radiation of critical frequency is made to incident on a metallic surface, it is able to eject electrons from its surface. Only corpuscular theory of light could be able to explain this effect. Hence light is having a particle character.

(b) Dual Character of Particle

A French physicist louis de Broglie suggested that

“Matter considered to be made up of discrete particles. Such as atoms and molecules, may also behaves like wave under proper conditions.

This leads to the view that electrons like light may also have wave properties associated with them. It means that electrons has a dual nature, particle and wave.

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