Unknown to many of us, it is a fact that Einstein rejected the discrete point particle and stated that matter must be spherical entities extended in space. He writes "Physical objects are not in space, but these objects are spatially extended. In this way the concept "empty space" loses its meaning. Since the theory of general relativity implies the representation of physical reality by a continuous field, the concept of particles or material points cannot play a fundamental part, nor can the concept of motion. The particle can only appear as a limited region in space in which the field strength or the energy density are particularly high." Erwin Schroedinger understood the requirements of particle structure when he wrote in 1937: "What we observe as material bodies and forces are nothing but shapes and variations in the structure of space. Particles are just 'Schaumkronen'. ('Schaum' means foam, 'Krone' means crest). He believed that quantum waves were real, not probability distributions with a hidden particle wondering inside, and that the particles are formed by the appearence of crests over the sea of energy. He clearly saw that abolishing the discrete point particle would remove the paradoxes of 'wave-particle duality' and the 'collapse of the wave function'.
No atoms had even remotely been seen visually until 1985, when IBM Research Almaden Labs was the first to use an electron tunneling microscope to actually photograph the organization of molecules of germanium in an ink-blot. Here what we see from this experiment are indistinct, fuzzy spherical objects that appear to have some non-spherical geometric qualities to their shape and are in an extremely geometric pattern of organization, which was definitely a surprise for conventional science. How could the random nature of atoms described by the Heisenberg principle, ever result in such an ordered pattern? Perhaps the probability distributions are not 'distributions' at all. The image shown below was artificially colored orange and green to allow the eye to discriminate between the two types of atom that were seen:
Furthermore, when quantum physicists have studied the electrons of the atom, they have observed that they are not actually points at all, not particulate in nature, but rather form smooth, teardrop-shaped clouds where the narrowest ends of the drops converge upon a very tiny point in the center.
There are no Electron Orbits! Bohr's model, which started the notion of electrons traveling around the nucleus like planets has misled a lot of people and scientists. If you have learned such an idea, forget about it immediately. Instead, all calculations and all experiments show that no satellite-like orbital motion exists in the normal atom. Instead, there are standing wave patterns, very similar indeed to the polar plots of antenna radiation patterns. For example, see the case M=0 and L=0, where the standing wave pattern is entirely spherical, this being equivalent to a pure isotropic antenna radiation plot. Similarly for M=1, L=1, the pattern is exactly the same as that of a half wave dipole, and so on. No one ever asks or requires for an antenna's radiation pattern to be formed of orbiting electrons, and yet we know that the standing wave generated from a typical radio antenna, posseses inertia, and can act upon external matter by means of radiation pressure. The electron path is NOT around and far off the nucleus, nor is the atom made up of 99.999% empty space!. Instead, the center of the electron pattern is also the center of the proton pattern. This is the normal situation of the H atoms in the universe; they have spherical symmetry, not orbits. You see, particulate matter is not requirement to generate the effects known to define matter.
To complicate things further, we have got the particle-wave dual nature enigma. The classical double slit diffraction experiment using a beam of electrons instead of light, shows us that we still get a diffraction pattern. The interpretation of this is that matter travels as a wave. Further more if we arrange a setup for light to enter the slits one photon at a time, or even one electron at a time, in both cases, we still get a build up a diffraction pattern over time. One interpretation of this result is that a single photon or electron goes through both slits and interferes with itself. Thus the common statement accepted by todays textbooks is that "matter acts as both a particle and as a wave." This statement obviously leaves a lot of holes in physics, since no mechanism is defined for how the transformation from one entity to the other is actually done. So, is matter a particle or a wave in nature?. Actually none of them, both the wave and particle models are flawed and/or incomplete models for subatomic particles as will be shown in this research section.
|Electron clouds from top-down view (L) and from side view (R). [Courtesy Wolff, 1990]|
|Some of the many possible spherical harmonics showing
the probability density of an electron in a hydrogen atom.
As you can immediately recognise from the above electron distribution probability, electron shells commonly used in chemistry, together with Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle are impossible attempts to describe the above three dimensional atomic standing waves in terms of particles in motion. Now, do you find it surprising that one cannot know both position and momentum of an electron?
Below are some 3D plots of antenna radiation patterns obtained for some common radio antenna configurations. Those of you who studied elementary electronic communication systems know that the pattern of an array of antennas is the product of the pattern generated by a single element, called the element factor, and the pattern generated due to the array of elements called the array factor.
All the above 'electron distribution probability clouds', can be generated by different combinations of element and array factors acting on electromagnetic waves. Presently, the science to describe such factors in matter is almost non-existing, with the little we know generally referred as 'solid state physics'. As time goes by, however, an increasing number of scientists are becoming aware of the idea that to understand nature, one needs first of all understand the basic principles that govern collective behaviour of vast assemblies of matter. As strange as it may sound, these basic principles must be founded on the behaviour of vast interactions of electromagnetic waves, starting off from simple EM wave effects such as reflection and interference. Once such principles have been fully studied and understood, the human society can finally have a complete understanding of how two seemingly similar, spherical and featureless atoms of different elements, can assemble into two completely different crystalline assemblies, and acquire their own respective electrical and mechanical properties.
Most of the currently accepted particles have been found by the use of a common basic tool - the particle accelerator. This is a gigantic instrument that detects the effects and products of collisions between very fast moving particles. High speed is necessary so that it is energetic enough to 'crack open' the particles in order to reveal the inner structures that make up the colliding particles. Some of these sub-particles may only exist briefly before they dissapear or change to other form of particles.
When two particles collide, or even combine, their total mass is not conserved, and this effect is known as the mass defect. Surely enough, modern science accounts for this fact, applying the well known Einstein's equation E=mc2, and states that the mass lost or gained is balanced by the change in bonding energy within the formed structure. All particle accelerator experiment results are currently being wrongly interpreted, because the particles appearing after impact are NOT the inner structures of the particles before impact. As we will see, in this theory, a particle is a structure, made up of an elementary unit, and not of an infinite number of a mix of smaller particles. Breaking up a structure of matter, will result in other structures which may not have existed as separate structural entities within the original particle, and the fact that most particles resulting after an impact in a particle accelerator have a very short life strengthens this idea, since how could ever a bigger structure have been formed if the chances of existance of its components are so small or nearly impossible?