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

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If photons have no mass, how can they have momentum?

As an explanation of why a large gravitational field (such as a black hole) can bend light, I have heard that light has momentum. This is given as a solution to the problem of only massive objects ...
18
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10answers
12k views

Why and how is the speed of light in vacuum constant, i.e., independent of reference frame?

I was told that the Galilean relative velocity rule does not apply to the speed of light. No matter how fast two objects are moving, the speed of light will remain same for both of them. How and why ...
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4answers
5k views

Why do prisms work (why is refraction frequency dependent)?

It is well known that a prism can "split light" by separating different frequencies of light: Many sources state that the reason this happens is that the index of refraction is different for ...
26
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5answers
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Why glass is transparent?

Once I asked this question from my teacher and he replied "because it passes light", "and why it passes light" I asked and he said "because it is transparent". Same question again, Why glass is ...
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3answers
1k views

Explain how (or if) a box full of photons would weigh more due to massless photons

I understand that mass-energy equivalence is often misinterpreted as saying that mass can be converted into energy and vice versa. The reality is that energy is always manifested as mass in some ...
16
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5answers
15k views

Phase shift of 180 degrees on reflection from optically denser medium

Can anyone please provide an intuitive explanation of why phase shift of 180 degrees occurs in the Electric Field of a EM wave,when reflected from an optically denser medium? I tried searching for it ...
32
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4answers
3k views

Do two beams of light attract each other in general theory of relativity?

In general relativity, light is subject to gravitational pull. Does light generate gravitational pull, and do two beams of light attract each other?
21
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6answers
2k views

What are the various physical mechanisms for energy transfer to the photon during blackbody emission?

By conservation of energy, the solid is left in a lower energy state following emission of a photon. Clearly absorption and emission balance at thermal equilibrium, however, thermodynamic equilibrium ...
39
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5answers
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Scattering of light by light: experimental status

Scattering of light by light does not occur in the solutions of Maxwell's equations (since they are linear and EM waves obey superposition), but it is a prediction of QED (the most significant Feynman ...
21
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4answers
5k views

Amplitude of an electromagnetic wave containing a single photon

Given a light pulse in vacuum containing a single photon with an energy $E=h\nu$, what is the peak value of the electric / magnetic field?
27
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4answers
4k views

Does a constantly accelerating charged particle emit em radiation or not?

The Abraham-Lorentz force gives the recoil force, $\mathbf{F_{rad}}$, back on a charged particle $q$ when it emits electromagnetic radiation. It is given by: $$\mathbf{F_{rad}} = \frac{q^2}{6\pi ...
6
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2answers
2k views

How do mirrors work?

My physics professor explained to me that electromagnetic waves are consisted of two components - electric and magnetic - which cause each other. Which part of the mirror actually reflects the wave? ...
104
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6answers
43k views

If you view the Earth from far enough away can you observe its past?

From my understanding of light, you are always looking into the past based on how much time it takes the light to reach you from what you are observing. For example when you see a star burn out, if ...
16
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4answers
813 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 ...
6
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4answers
3k views

What happens to light in a perfect reflective sphere?

Let's say you have the ability to shine some light into a perfectly round sphere and the sphere's interior surface was perfectly smooth and reflective and there was no way for the light to escape. If ...
3
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1answer
2k views

Can you see yourself in a mirror when you are riding on top of a light stream? [closed]

What happens if you would ride on top of a light stream and you would look into a mirror that is in front of you, could you actually see your own face? I am asking this because I heard that nothing ...
30
votes
4answers
7k views

If both radio waves and gamma rays can travel through walls

and they are on opposite ends of the electromagnetic spectrum, then why can't light travel through walls which is right in the middle of the spectrum? This question has already been asked here. ...
11
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5answers
771 views

Could cell-phone radiation cause cancer?

It is very crucial that I ask whether it ``could'' and not whether it does. I do not mean to be the least controversial. To my surprise, having read ``Physics for Future Presidents'' by Richard ...
42
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7answers
5k views

Cyclist's electrical tingling under power lines

It's been happening to me for years. I finally decided to ask users who are better with "practical physics" when I was told that my experience – that I am going to describe momentarily – prove that I ...
22
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5answers
2k views

Does a charged particle accelerating in a gravitational field radiate?

A charged particle undergoing an acceleration radiates photons. Let's consider a charge in a freely falling frame of reference. In such a frame, the local gravitational field is necessarily zero, ...
10
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3answers
61k views

Why does wavelength change as light enters a different medium?

When light waves enter a medium of higher refractive index than the previous, why is it that: Its wavelength decreases? The frequency of it has to stay the same?
9
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3answers
2k views

What is the relation between electromagnetic wave and photon?

At the end of this nice video, she says that electromagnetic wave is a chain reaction of electric and magnetic fields creating each other so the chain of wave moves forward. I wonder where the photon ...
3
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2answers
494 views

Electromagnetic Momentum

My book says : The fact that electromagnetic radiation of energy carried momentum was known from classical theory and from the experiments of Nichols and Hull in 1903. This relation is also consistent ...
2
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1answer
775 views

How EM waves are produced by accelerating charged particles?

How the electro-magnetic waves are produced by the accelerating charged particle? Graphical explanations are most welcomed. Is the explanation given by the below mentioned article correct regarding ...
27
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13answers
42k views

Why is light called an 'electromagnetic wave' if it's neither electric nor magnetic?

How can light be called electromagnetic if it doesn't appear to be electric nor magnetic? If I go out to the sunlight, magnets aren't affected (or don't seem to be). And there is no transfer of ...
18
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4answers
660 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 ...
8
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5answers
6k views

Interference of polarized light

Does polarized light interfere?
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4answers
6k views

Understanding the diagrams of electromagnetic waves

I'm having trouble understanding the diagrams of elctromagnetic waves. I have no problem with any concept in classical mechanics, and I think this can be answered without any relativity (which I ...
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2answers
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Why don't electromagnetic waves require a medium?

As I understand it, electromagnetic waves have two components which are the result of each other, i.e., when a moving electric charge creates a changing magnetic field at point X then a changing ...
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4answers
4k views

How is a vacuum able to propagate light?

We say that sound waves need a medium to propagate and we know that light doesn't need such a thing. But is that really how that works? There's no such thing as "nothing" according to Quantum ...
2
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2answers
368 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, ...
0
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1answer
396 views

Accelerating electrons via microwaves

In Synchrotrons I think they use microwaves to accelerate the electrons bundles that fly through-how does putting a microwave through a cavity accelerate an electron? I know that the Electric and ...
13
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6answers
3k views

Why does the speed of light $c$ have the value it does?

Why does light have the speed it does? why is it not considerably faster or slower than it is? I can't imagine science, being what it is, not pursuing a rational scientific explanation for the speed ...
10
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1answer
5k views

If microwave ovens and WiFi both operate on the same frequency, why doesn't WiFi cook things?

If we ignore 5GHz WiFi, then both microwaves and WiFi create photons at ~2.4GHz but one of them will boil water in a few seconds but the other doesn't have any effect. So what's the difference? Is it ...
9
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2answers
2k views

What is the minimum wavelength of electromagnetic radiation?

As a first approximation, I don't see how a wavelength of less than 2 Planck distances could exist. The question is: Are there any other limits that would come into play before that? For example: ...
5
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3answers
3k views

How can I create hindrances to radio waves?

How can I create hindrances to radio waves?
5
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2answers
208 views

How exactly does applying the Equipartition Theorem to radiation leads to UV catastrophe?

I'm reading a book by George Gamow, "Thirty years that shook Physics" and have trouble understanding his way of describing the UV catastrophe. In a first part he points out that applying the ...
2
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5answers
982 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 ...
5
votes
2answers
355 views

How do you calculate power at the focal point of a mirror?

I'm a Mechanical Engineering student and I'm working on my senior project, so I need help. My project is about designing a solar dish having a diameter of 1.5 meters and a focal length of 60cm. so at ...
5
votes
10answers
3k 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 ...
5
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5answers
9k views

Is all kind of light same speed?

Is there any speed difference between blue or red light? Is there ever a speed difference? Or does all types of light move at the same speed?
2
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1answer
135 views

Are photons electromagnetic waves, quantum waves, or both? [duplicate]

Are photons electromagnetic waves, quantum waves, or both? If I subdivide an electromagnetic field into smaller electromagnetic fields, should I eventually find an electromagnetic wave of a photon? ...
118
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1answer
53k 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 ...
17
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3answers
377 views

Comparing predictions and reality for the gravitational attraction due to light beams

While doing some on-the-side reading, I stumbled across this question: Do two beams of light attract each other in general theory of relativity?. Great question and a great, easily understandable ...
10
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2answers
10k views

How & Why does accelerating charges radiate electromagnetic radiation?

Lets consider it case by case: Case 1: Charge particle is at rest. It has electric field around it. No problem. That is its property. Case 2: Charge particle started moving (its accelerating). We ...
10
votes
7answers
10k views

Electromagnetic fields vs electromagnetic radiation

As I understand, light is what is more generally called "electromagnetic radiation", right? The energy radiated by a star, by an antenna, by a light bulb, by your cell phone, etc.. are all the same ...
6
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3answers
2k views

If photons carry 1 spin unit, why does visible light seem to have no angular momentum?

Spin 1 silver atoms have a definite spin axis, e.g. up or down along an axis labeled X. This in turn means that they carry angular momentum in an overt, visible fashion. However, spin 1 photons do ...
6
votes
3answers
937 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 ...
5
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5answers
2k views

Producing photons with same frequency, different amplitude wave [duplicate]

I don't understand how two photons of the same frequency can have different amplitudes, neither how to produce them. I know that classically the square of the amplitude is proportional to the energy, ...
4
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2answers
2k views

Make a semi transparent mirror with copper

The question: How would you make a semi transparent mirror (50% reflection, 50% transmission) with glass with a layer of copper. For light $\lambda$ = 500nm Try to be as realistic as possible What ...