Fr.: expérience de Davisson-Germer
The experiment carried out in 1927 that confirmed the → de Broglie hypothesis as to the → wave nature of the → electron. It showed that electrons scattering off crystals form a → diffraction pattern. The experimental setup consisted of a → nickle chloride → crystal as → target, an electron gun, and a → detector placed on a graduated circular scale. The intensity of the reflected electrons was measured as a function of angle and electron energy. The observations showed a strong intensity peak at a certain angle. The nickel crystal acted as a → diffraction grating. → Constructive interference occurred at a particular angle, where the peak intensity was observed in accord with → Bragg's law. Interestingly, the intent of the initial experiment was was not to confirm the de Broglie hypothesis. In fact, the discovery was made by accident.
Carried out by American physicists Clinton Davisson (1881-1958) and Lester Germer (1896-1971); → experiment.