Propagating solutions to Maxwell’s equations in classical electromagnetism and real photons in quantum electrodynamics. A superset of thermal-radiation.

learn more… | top users | synonyms (1)

15
votes
4answers
725 views

Redshifting of Light and the expansion of the universe

So I have learned in class that light can get red-shifted as it travels through space. As I understand it, space itself expands and stretches out the wavelength of the light. This results in the light ...
5
votes
3answers
790 views

Why aren't all photons virtual particles even in the “vacuum” of empty space? [duplicate]

I'm thoroughly confused about the nature of electromagnetic radiation. Light is supposed to exhibit both wave and particle characteristics. But does that mean that it is both a wave and a particle or ...
11
votes
3answers
347 views

Does radio use virtual photons?

In radio communication each accelerated electron in the transmitter antenna interacts with an electron in the receiver antenna by exchanging a photon. Is that photon always a virtual photon as ...
10
votes
2answers
789 views

If you run an electric current through a wire loop, do the accelerated charges radiate?

Does an accelerated charge always radiate? For example the current electrons in an electric circuit when moving through a turn they are accelerated, do they radiate because of that acceleration? If ...
2
votes
1answer
979 views

A two-level system absorbs a detuned photon. Where does the extra energy go?

Let's consider simple two-level system with frequency gap of $\omega_0$ between ground and excited state. Now, when we turn on external electromagnetic field with frequency $\omega < \omega_0$, ...
9
votes
3answers
836 views

Are Electromagnetic Waves The Only Means of Transmitting Information?

We've been using EMF to transmit energy (information) for over a century. I was wondering is there any other way to send a message on long distances, even faster than EMF waves can travel? For example ...
7
votes
1answer
1k views

What’s the relationship between thermal radiation and Johnson thermal noise?

All objects above absolute zero emit radiation due to random collisions between the atoms they are made of. The spectrum of radiation emitted varies according to the temperature of the object, I ...
5
votes
4answers
1k views

Radio antennas that are much shorter than the wavelength

From my limited experience with ham radio when I was a kid, I expect transmitting and receiving antennas to have lengths that are on the same order of magnitude as the wavelength, and in fact I recall ...
5
votes
1answer
1k views

What IS reflection?

How does quantum electrodynamics actually explain HOW reflection occurs on a microscopic scale? Note that Feynman's QED lecture series/book is not sufficient, as he only assumes that light DOES ...
3
votes
1answer
87 views

Electromagnetic Radiation of Charged particles

This question is motivated by similar one. If an accelerated point charge $q$ radiates with power $W$ then I assume the same particle with charge $-q$ will radiate with the same rate $W$. Now what if ...
1
vote
3answers
2k views

Prove EM Waves Are Transverse In Nature

Why we say that EM waves are transverse in nature? I have seen some proofs regarding my question but they all calculate flux through imaginary cube. Here is My REAL problem that I can't here imagine ...
1
vote
2answers
484 views

The Quantization of Photon Energies

Despite Planck's constant being in $E=hf$, it would appear to me that energy is still not discrete, as frequency can be an fraction of a Hertz that one wants. How does this imply that electromagnetic ...
10
votes
3answers
655 views

What causes atoms to have their specific colors?

I understand that light (color) is part of the electromagnetic spectrum, and that it depends on what wavelengths are reflected/absorbed. Though what property of an individual atom gives it its color? ...
9
votes
2answers
493 views

If light rays obey to the wave equation, why can they be thought as straight lines?

I'm a newbie with physics but I'm wondering how a ray of light can essentially be represented. I have always known that a ray of light proceeds in a straight line until it encounters another object ...
5
votes
3answers
1k views

Is there something special in the visible part of electromagnetic spectrum?

I always wondered how much information we get from color. Things we see have different colors; edible products change color when began to spoil so we have a notion what color a fresh product should ...
4
votes
1answer
127 views

Why is there an emission of gamma rays?

When a spontaneous radioactive reaction happens, there is an emission of gamma rays (in most cases) What causes this emission?
4
votes
10answers
2k views

Why do we think of light as a wave?

I've read that light travels in a straight line and has a wavelength of 400nm to 700nm. But I don't understand why does it have a wavelength and what creates its wavelength? I agree with the concept ...
3
votes
2answers
148 views

Is it possible to have a perfectly black material?

After reading this NASA article about the "blackest material", the following stuck out to me. The tiny gaps between the tubes absorb 99.5 percent of the light that hits them Is it possible to ...
3
votes
2answers
359 views

Why doesn't the magnetic field polarize when polarizing light?

If the magnetic field doesn't polarize does it follow the electric field path of propagation? or does it vanish?
3
votes
2answers
155 views

When light is only considered as a particle, is it still considersed to be oscillating electic and magetic waves?

I have my head around wave-particle duality, however people tend to refer to light as either a wave or a particle in different situations. If I were to consider light as a particle am I still ...
3
votes
2answers
2k views

The energy of an electromagnetic wave

The intensity of an electromagnetic wave is only related to its amplitude $E^2$ and not its frequency. A photon has the same wavelength as the wave that's carrying it, and its energy is $h f$. So ...
2
votes
1answer
161 views

Is every electromagnetic radiation considered “light”?

Somebody mentioned on Freenode chatroom for physics that All Electromagnetic Radiation are delivered in form of Photons not just light. Is it true? Does that mean if we get a THF electrical ...
2
votes
2answers
232 views

Why do light disappears the moment we switch off the source (inside the wooden box)?

I am failing to explain why light won't remain inside the wooden box in the following situation. I considered a wooden box closed from all the sides, with a bulb inside it. If we switch on the bulb, ...
2
votes
3answers
503 views

Difference in velocity of light in change in medium [duplicate]

It is often seen that according to physics the light changes it's velocity according to the medium through which it is traveling. So can it be explained that why so happen?
1
vote
4answers
622 views

Radio antenna producing waves in the visible spectrum

If a radio could produce waves in the visible light spectrum, what would the result be? This is a thought experiment that I've pondered for a few years now. I realize there are a few/many real-world ...
1
vote
1answer
447 views

Can electromagnetic radiation (i.e. photons) produce gravity? [duplicate]

I don't want to play with physical laws in a frivolous way. Assuming that the nature of matter and energy is the same, can a high density of highly energetic photons produce a gravity force? We do ...
1
vote
1answer
342 views

How is it possible that we see light from shortly after the big bang?

How can astronomers see light from shortly after the big bang? How did we get "here" before the light that emanated from our "creation"?
-3
votes
4answers
2k views

Electro Magnetic Waves can cause matter displacement?

After watching this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j1jIjx0XF_U The experience is made with a speaker that generates a sound wave or mechanic wave. Can you use this to establish a link to ...
106
votes
1answer
46k views

Why does NASA use gold foil on equipment and gold-coated visors?

I've read several websites about equipment covered with gold foil and astronaut helmet visors are coated with gold. However, their explanations are devoid of almost all physics content. Can someone ...
51
votes
8answers
19k views

Why does a remote car key work when held to your head/body?

I was trying to unlock my car, but I was out of range. A friend of mine said that I have to hold the transmitter next to my head. It worked, so I tried the following later that day: Walked away from ...
14
votes
2answers
381 views

Do accelerated charges radiate or not?

This questions has been asked all over the net (here included) but I can't find a satisfactory answer or discussion. Some say it does not radiate if the acceleration is caused by a uniform gravity ...
11
votes
2answers
12k views

Why is Near Field Communication (NFC) range limited to about 20cm?

Near Field Communication (NFC) operates at 13.56 MHz. Near Field is the region situated at a distance r << λ λ = c/f ...
26
votes
3answers
3k views

Can I use an antenna as a light source?

Can I use a normal metal antenna to emit visible light?
14
votes
4answers
1k views

Can a photon get emitted without a receiver?

It is generally agreed upon that electromagnetic waves from an emitter does not have to connect to a receiver, but how can we be sure this is a fact? The problem is that we can never observe non ...
17
votes
4answers
563 views

Is the electromagnetic spectrum discrete?

I'm just starting to learn physics and I have a question (that is probably stupid.) I learned that energy levels that the bound electron can have are discrete. I also learned that when an electron ...
2
votes
1answer
3k views

Optical constants of noble metals: the Drude model for microwave modelling

I have a question regarding the optical constants of noble metals. According to Johnson and Christy's paper Optical Constants of Noble Metals (Phys. Rev. B 6, 4370–4379 (1972), ...
18
votes
3answers
939 views

Can light exists in $2+1$ or $1+1$ spacetime dimensions?

Spacetime of special relativity is frequently illustrated with its spatial part reduced to one or two spatial dimension (with light sector or cone, respectively). Taken literally, is it possible for ...
12
votes
1answer
525 views

Why is Huygens' principle only valid in an odd number of spatial dimensions?

Apparently Huygens' principle is only valid in an odd number of spatial dimensions: http://mathoverflow.net/a/5396/21349 Huygen's principle in curved spacetimes Why is this? [EDIT] This is ...
12
votes
3answers
843 views

Can the speed of light become complex inside a metamaterial?

The speed of light in a material is defined as $c = \frac{1}{\sqrt{\epsilon \mu}}$. There are metamaterials with negative permittivity $\epsilon < 0$ and permeability $\mu < 0$ at the same time. ...
6
votes
1answer
647 views

Microwave oven + water: dielectric heating or ion drag?

When you place a water or food in a microwave oven, it heats. Which process commits more energy to that: dielectric heating, or ion drag i.e. resistive heating? AFAIK, in distilled water (which is a ...
6
votes
3answers
4k views

Properties of the photon: Electric and Magnetic field components

Consider an electromagnetic wave of frequency $\nu$ interacting with a stationary charge placed at point $x$. My question concerns the consistency of two equally valid quantum-mechanical descriptions ...
6
votes
3answers
3k views

How can I determine transmission/reflection coefficients for light?

When light rays reflect off a boundary between two materials with different indices of refraction, a lot of the sources I've seen (recently) don't discuss the relation between the amplitude (or ...
8
votes
3answers
613 views

Why use lasers for intense, localized heat instead of some other light source?

Lasers are used in various industrial processes that need intense, localised, heat (3d printers and laser cutters come to mind). My question is: why use lasers? There are many other (cheaper, ...
8
votes
3answers
2k views

Can radio waves be formed into a pencil beam?

Laser beams are said to have high "spacial coherence". This means that the beam is highly concentrated even at long distances (low spread). Can this be achieved with radio waves (much longer waves) ...
7
votes
1answer
537 views

If fields die off proportional to R^2, why does light keep going?

Why does light continue on forever if it was created from some source whose radiation dwindles at a rate of the inverse square of distance. Clearly light can be viewed as an interdependent phenomena, ...
7
votes
3answers
936 views

Can we transport energy over infinite distances through vacuum using light?

I know that light (or electromagnetic radiation in general) attenuates in intensity as the square of the distance it travels. Why does it attenuate? Are the photons being scattered by the medium ...
5
votes
2answers
749 views

Why is glass much more transparent than water?

There is a related question (Why glass is transparent?) but I am coming at it only from Maxwell's equations. One can determine the skin depth $δ$ for poor conductors like (pure) water and glass using ...
5
votes
1answer
742 views

Is the de Broglie wavelength of a photon equal to the EM wavelength of the radiation?

Is the de Broglie (matter) wavelength $\lambda=\frac{h}{p}$ of a photon equal to the electromagnetic wavelength of the radiation? I guess yes, but how come that photons have both a matter wave and an ...
5
votes
1answer
233 views

Is the number of wavelengths of light spanning a distance invariant with respect to spacetime distortion?

I was recently asked by a friend how the expansion of spacetime affects photons. I gave him what I feel is a satisfactory general response, but it got me wondering how, exactly to calculate this ...
5
votes
4answers
4k views

Light emitted by an object according to its temperature

According to this picture the light emitted by an object depends on its temperature. That makes perfect sense when we heat a metal. As its temperature raises we see it red at first, then orange, ...