Hello! Socratic's Terms of Service and Privacy Policy have been updated, which will be automatically effective on October 6, 2018. Please contact hello@socratic.com with any questions.

DeBroglie: Wave Characteristics of Matter

Key Questions

  • Answer:

    Louis de Broglie extended the notion of wave motion from light to other particles, such as electrons. It is possible to calculate a de Broglie wavelength for anything, including an elephant!


    The formula is #lambda = h/p# where #h# is Planck's constant, #6.63xx10^-34# #m^2kgs^-1#, and #p# is the momentum (#p=mv#, mass times velocity).

    If you do the calculation, you will find out that the de Broglie wavelength for big objects like an elephant or a tennis ball is immeasurably tiny. It is only for very tiny objects like electrons that the concept really has much significance.