Learning the wave-particle dualism of electrons and photons plays a central role in understanding quantum physics. Teaching it requires that the teacher is fluent in using abstract and uncommon terms. We inspect the lexical structures of pre-service teachers’ declarative knowledge about the wave-particle dualism of electrons and photons in the context of double-slit interference. The declarative knowledge is analyzed in the form of a lexical network of terms. We focus on lexical structures because, in teaching and learning, knowledge is communicated mostly through lexical structures, i.e., by speaking and writing. Using the lexical networks, we construct the lexicons used by pre-service teachers to express their knowledge of electrons and photons in the context of double-slit interference. The lexicons consist of eight different key terms, each representing a set of closely-related or synonymous terms. The lexicons by 14 pre-service teachers reveal remarkable variation and differences, and are strongly context-dependent. We also analyzed lexicons corresponding to two didactically-oriented research articles on the same topic and found that they also differ. Lexicons paralleling both texts are found among the pre-service teachers’ lexicons. However, only some of the pre-service teachers use such rich vocabulary as would indicate multi-faceted understanding of quantum entities.
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