So one of the big things about photons is that they act as both a particle and a wave. That is to say that they when observed act as though they are bullets, singular predictable entities and when they are no observed they seem to act like a wave.
I’m not a physicist, I’m just random person number six billion and two. But I want to go over why I think this is and basically give you an idea on why its not special and people shouldn’t act like its magic. It isn’t a sign of the matrix or of anything deep like that (as I’ve stated previously) but more just a natural and somewhat easily parsed trait of the item itself.
If you take a drop of silicon and you place it on the surface of water and vibrate that water rapidly you will find that silicon will act exactly like a photon. This is strange obviously because we always think of the particle/wave phenomenon as something unique to the quantum world. It isn’t however.
So why does this happen? The unit itself, the silicon drop is a solid singular thing. That silicon is your bullet, it is also cushioned atop a blanket of water which makes it act like a wave. The cushion creates a valley that directs the silicon droplets and that valley itself acts not unlike a ball.
From: Through the Wormhole Season 2 Episode 6.
When the silicon droplet hits the barrier in the double slit experiment it will likely never hit it at perfectly head on. The amount of variations to either direction are basically infinitely more diverse than the single solitary position it could hit where it would not go anywhere. When it hits these barriers they push on the cushion that envelops it and send it off in a random direction. In the end you have some locations that are more common than others because some locations have more impacts that lead to them. That’s not entirely hard to understand.
When you observe the particle it will look as though it is just that, a particle, a single entity that should act like any other single entity. In the water example we can see the water and so we see the wave which is that secondary mysterious act that is so counterintuitive. The biggest difference between this and light is, that as far as I know, we have not yet seen that cushion that envelopes the photon. Maybe its just electromagnetism? That doesn’t seem entirely unlikely to me.
So basically when anything made of matter obstructs the photons they will either be absorbed into the matter or they will bounce off it in some fashion based on their angle. Something noted on Veritasium is that the smaller you make the slits the more pronounced the uncertainty becomes.
If you’ve read this far it should seem obvious why this is the case. The smaller the slits the more that cushion around the photon is compressed, thus when it rebounds it will be even more erratic than if you left a large space. You can simulate this by taking a spring and squeezing it very tightly. It will likely fight you and fire off in some random direction quite fast, but if you only lightly squish it will flop out of your hand like a dead fish.
So given this view of it, if it be anything close to correct, the fact that light particles spread out wildly when you create a smaller and smaller space for them to travel is not really counter intuitive at all. It seems to me that it should be expected. It would seem that a massless particle would always lose the game of sumo, when they impact with something they are shoved away [I don’t think literally, I’m just trying to describe what I see].
If you were curious, you can apparently make hard things act like fluids if you break them down into tiny bits and vibrate them fast. This leads me to believe that really everything acts very similar (if not the same) and that its just the state they are in which gives them the illusion of having unique properties. If you want to see the video that leads me to think this is the case hop on over to Sixty Symbols : D.
The world is beautiful and I hope that my flawed understanding of it will continue to grow (and in time become less flawed).