TY - JOUR
T1 - Experiments on the diffraction of cathode rays
JF - Proceedings of the Royal Society of London. Series A
JO - Proc R Soc Lond A Math Phys Sci
SP - 600
LP - 609
M3 - 10.1098/rspa.1928.0022
VL - 117
IS - 778
AU -
Y1 - 1928/02/01
UR - http://rspa.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/117/778/600.abstract
N2 - 1. M. L. de Broglie has introduced a theory of mechanics according to which a moving particle behaves as a group of waves whose velocity and wave-length are governed by the speed and mass of the particle. In fact if m0 is the mass for slow speed and v the speed of a freely moving particle, the wave-length is given by λ = h√1-v2/c2 / m0v, and the wave velocity V by V = c2/v, the group velocity being v, the velocity of the particle. Here c is the velocity of light and it will be seen that the wave velocity is greater than c. There is nothing impossible in this because the waves are regarded as purely geometrical —“phase waves”—not as carrying energy. Compare, in ordinary optical theory, the case of substances, such as sodium, for which the refractive index is less than unity. The above is for free space; in the presence of a field of force V varies, and the consequent bending of the waves by refraction corresponds, on the new theory, to the deviation of the path of the particle by the field of force, on the old. The consequences of this theory have been worked out by de Broglie, Schrödinger and others and applied to problems in spectroscopy where they have provided the solution of several outstanding difficulties left by the older theory of orbits. In view, however, of the extremely fundamental nature of the theory it is highly desirable that it should rest on more direct evidence, and, in particular, that it should be shown capable of predicting as well as of merely explaining. Dymond has obtained some remarkable results on the scattering of slow electrons in helium which are of the general nature to be expected in this theory, but our knowledge of the structure of helium, together with the mathematical difficulties of the problem have so far prevented any exact comparision of the theory with experiment. Davisson and Kunsman and Davisson and Germer have obtained results on the reflection of slow electrons from the surfaces of crystals, especially nickel, which show good qualitative agreement with the theory but a discrepancy of 30 per cent. in certain magnitudes. It is hoped that the experiments described in this paper will advance the matter a stage further. They are a development of some experiments of which a preliminary account appeared recently in ‘Nature.’
ER -