Linked Questions

3
votes
3answers
682 views

Snell's law starting from qft? [duplicate]

Can one "interpret" Snell's law in terms of QED and the photon picture? How would one justifiy this interpretation with some degree of mathematical rigour? At the end I would like to have a direct ...
24
votes
6answers
4k views

Do photons gain mass when they travel through glass?

Please correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe that photons slow down when travelling through glass. Does this mean they gain mass? Otherwise, what happens to extra kinetic energy? I understand now ...
13
votes
7answers
6k views

Why does light change direction when it travels through glass?

This was explained to me many years ago, by a physics teacher, with the following analogy: "If someone on the beach wants to reach someone else that is in the water, they will try to travel as much ...
11
votes
2answers
5k views

How does reflection work?

In Newton's model of light as being composed of particles, it's easy to imagine reflection as being the rebounding of individual corpuscles off a surface. However, since light can also behave like a ...
5
votes
4answers
796 views

How is the path integral for light explained, or how does it arise?

In a Phys.SE question titled How are classical optics phenomena explained in QED (Snell's law)? Marek talked about the probability amplitude for photons of a given path. He said that it was ...
5
votes
1answer
3k views

Why do some materials reflect (metals) and other materials reflect and refract (glass) from the quantum perspective?

Recently I was asked to explain the difference between reflection and total internal reflection from a purely conceptual standpoint (no math). Let me explain what I already know. Reflection and ...
5
votes
2answers
442 views

How does light know which path is fastest?

We know from Fermat's principle of least time that light follows the fastest path. But how does light know which path is the fastest?
2
votes
3answers
1k views

Reconciling refraction with particle theory and wave theory

I have searched the web for good answers to why refraction occurs when light moves from one medium to another with different density. I have limited background in physics and want to know if there is ...
1
vote
1answer
3k views

What causes refraction of visible light? [duplicate]

Refraction is the bending of a wave when it enters a medium where its speed is different. The refraction of light when it passes from a fast medium to a slow medium bends the light ray toward the ...
8
votes
1answer
699 views

How are classical optics phenomena explained in QED (color)?

How is the following classical optics phenomenon explained in quantum electrodynamics? Color According to Schroedinger's model of the atom, only particular colors are emitted depending on the type ...
0
votes
3answers
457 views

Can we explain Huygen's principle taking into account Maxwell's predictions?

Descartes gave the corpuscular model (1637) of light. Corpuscular model was further developed by Issac Newton. Model predicted that if the ray light (on refraction) bends towards the normal then the ...
5
votes
1answer
581 views

How to calculate the properties of Photon-Quasiparticles

in recent questions like "How are classical optics phenomena explained in QED (Snell's law)?" and "Do photons gain mass when they travel through glass?" we could learn something about effective ...
2
votes
1answer
502 views

Origins of the principle of least time in classical mechanics

Is it possible to derive the principle of least time from the principle of least action in lagrangian or hamiltonian mechanics? Or is Fermat's principle more fundamental than the principle of least ...
1
vote
1answer
625 views

Explanation of photon reflection [duplicate]

What occurs in atomic scale that cause the photon to be reflected? In other words, what is the reason for photons to change its direction and why material can reflect certain wavelengths and absorb ...

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