The photon is the quantum of the electromagnetic four-potential, and therefore the massless bosonic particle associated with the electromagnetic force, commonly also called the "particle of light". Use this tag for questions about the quantum-mechanical understanding of light and/or electromagnetic ...

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Do we really not know why atoms 'decide' to produce a photon?

I was watching the Cosmos documentary where Neil deGrasse Tyson explained how certain energy photons get absorbed by an atom, which causes the electrons of that atom to climb into a higher energy ...
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2answers
369 views

What is the frequency of a single photon? [duplicate]

What frequency means for a single photon?
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2answers
984 views

If photons have no (rest) mass, why would black holes attract light? [duplicate]

I was told that photons have no (rest) mass. However I thought that black holes are called "black" because no light can go escape the gravity force in their vicinity. I somehow think that, if light is ...
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4answers
142 views

Fundamentals of Light

Is it possible to determine the number of cycles in a single photon? Do photons with higher frequencies have more cycles in each photon than those with lower frequencies? Would this mean that all ...
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2answers
154 views

Why does light from a laser end up in a concentrated spot?

I've heard from several people that photons will always take the past of least action while travelling, so why does laser light projected on a surface appear concentrated to a single spot when ...
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213 views

Can the intensity distribution behind edges and slits be explaint by the interaction with the surface electrons of the edges?

Reading about diffraction of EM radiation on edges, slits and multi slits as well as about electron diffraction behind a wire I came to the conclusion that the intensity distributions on an observers ...
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63 views

What happens to a photon sent to an atom has no electrons?

Suppose that there is an atom has no electrons. If we sent a photon to this atom, what would happen? Reflected or absorbed?
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1answer
71 views

Temporal properties of a photon

Naively, one can attempt to consider the (impossible) light-speed inertial frame. From there you arrive at nonsense conclusions like 'the universe is flattened in the direction of travel' which must ...
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1answer
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What happens when an atom absorb electron/photon?

I'll give you a scenario or two, and please tell me what will happen and that shall answer my question. Thanks in advance. Scenario 1: Will an atom absorb an electron with kinetic energy greater ...
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0answers
107 views

What is the action for a photon? [duplicate]

If I understand correctly, the action for a massive free particle is: $$ S = -mc^2 \int \mathrm{d}\tau = -mc \int \sqrt{g_{\mu\nu} \frac{\mathrm{d}x^\mu}{\mathrm{d}\lambda} ...
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2answers
130 views

How can the thrust due to radiation pressure be amplified in photonic laser thruster?

The thrust is amplified due to repeated bouncing of photons between two mirrors as shown in the diagram in this: Why does repeated bouncing of photons produce amplified thrust when the answer in ...
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1answer
64 views

Is there any difference in radiation pressure for two observers in different gravitational potential?

Suppose that a light beam is shone upwards from surface of a planet. So, due to gravitational redshift, the frequency of the light perceived by observer far from the surface will be lower than that ...
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1answer
51 views

Does Poincare recurrence imply that a photon shot into a box will exit the way it came in?

If you have a big closed cube that has perfectly mirrored surfaces on the smooth flat walls or faces of the cube and only one corner has a tiny 'entrance' , a narrow hole at a specific angle , say ...
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Difference between spin and polarization of a photon

I understand how one associates the spin of a quantum particle, e.g. of a photon, with intrinsic angular momentum. And in electromagnetism I have always understood the polarization of an EM wave as ...
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1answer
60 views

In which direction due to a polarizing grid the photon's electric field is oriented?

After a photon passes the slit, is it's electric field oriented perpendicular or parallel to the slit and why this is so?
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0answers
56 views

Mass of photon, is it possible? [duplicate]

$P=E/C$ In relativistic mechanics a Photon is defined as. $P=hf/C$ Replacing "P" $ mc=hf/C$ $M=h/CT$ What does it mean, did they have mass?
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3answers
74 views

Photon walk in stars with convection

I'm having trouble figuring this out. I've read, that when photons are created via nuclear processes inside a star, it can take about 1 million years for photons to actually reach the surface of a ...
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1answer
295 views

Non-polarised light

We know the beam of light oscillates in electric field and magnetic field, both perpendicular to both the wave of propagation and each other. What does, however, a non-polarised beam of light look ...
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1answer
159 views

Linear polarization measurement - what QM observable is measured?

My understanding is that photon can have spin +-1 along propagation direction, corresponding to two circular polarizations. Linear polarization is superposition of two. Since one can measure linear ...
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2answers
162 views

can we detect the photons in the interaction of two charged bodies?

if the interaction of two charged bodies is through the photon exchange: 1) how much is the energy of these photons and how do we calculate their energies? 2) can these photons be detected by a photon ...
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49 views

Do twice more atoms absorb twice more photons?

Let's assume you have a photon detector that detect individual photons striking it when exposed to a weak light source. Now let's assume you somehow managed to make a denser detector from the same ...
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2answers
229 views

Isn't the Coulomb interaction a photon interaction between two charges?

Isn't the Coulomb interaction a photon interaction between two charges? if yes then what does the following text mean? (Many-particle Physics by Gerald D. Mahan.)
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2answers
169 views

What's the connection between the spin of the photon and the polarisation of light?

In view of wave-particle duality, the spin of the photon must have a counterpart in the wave picture: is this polarisation?
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2answers
88 views

Is $\phi_n =\left\langle \vec r | n \right\rangle $ the photon wave function?

I am a bit confused about this issue and I am still not clear whether is there is a photon wave function or not. Since we use Fock states $| n \rangle$ to represent the state of a quantized ...
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0answers
28 views

What is the principle behind the use of one LASER for optical pumping of Rubidium in presence of magnetic field?

How can we use a single LASER for optical pumping of rubidium in the presence of magnetic field as the zeeman levels are degenerate in the presence of magnetic field and how to decide upon the ...
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40 views

Is my representation of $\varphi$ Work function correct?

I am a middle-school so my understanding of physics may not be as solid as you professional physicists but never the less thought its worth a try to learn more. I read about photo-electric effect by ...
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3answers
137 views

How far back can you trace a photon?

You have a photomultiplier tube pointed at a distant star, exactly 100 light years away. It's perfectly set up so that nothing can get into the tube unless it came from that star. Every hour or so, ...
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1answer
80 views

photon absorption and emission

I was reading a book (Sears Zemansky) about this subject but I didn't understand something of an example, and this is that according to me there should be a process of emission for each of absorption ...
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2answers
48 views

Red shifted photons lost energy in which form?

Red shifted photons lost energy in which form? Photons which have experienced a change in frequency (red shift) due to gravity(or other red shifting affects), have necessarily lost energy, total ...
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1answer
68 views

If photons don't have charge, why are they deflected by charged black holes?

If photons don't have charge, why are they deflected by charged black holes? According to quantum electrodynamics, photons don't have electric or magnetic fields either.
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3answers
144 views

Is photon direction affected by a strong electric field?

Is photon direction affected by a strong electric field? Just like gravity pulls light?.
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1answer
26 views

Do like charges separating by a small distance release a photon?

I believe from earlier physics that an electron moving from higher to a lower potential (e.g. higher energy state to a lower) can release a photon. Given two like charges -- two electrons for example ...
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53 views

Differential cross section for photon scattering on fixed magnetic dipole

Photon with energy $\hbar\omega$ scattering on a fixed particle with magnetic momentum $\vec{\mu} = \mu \vec s$. How to calculate a differential and total cross section for the photon. I've found in ...
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1answer
542 views

How does gravity bend light [duplicate]

Assuming photons have no mass, as I believe they don't, how does gravity affect photons in order to bend them?
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2answers
56 views

Can a two-levels photon pair be created either entangled or not entangled? [closed]

I am learning about experiments on Quantum Optics and Quantum Tomography in order to understand how to measure two qubits with an arbitrary quantum state of their polarization degrees of freedom. ...
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270 views

Recoil from a photon gun

Suppose you have a laser gun or a gun that shoots high frequency photons. Now according to Newton's laws there should be an equal and opposite reaction. So the question is - Will there be a recoil ...
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Smallest Wavelength of light possible? [duplicate]

I was thinking about blue-shifting of light and I couldn't help my self but think about the limits of blue shifting mechanism and since we know energy of a photon is directly proportional to the ...
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105 views

In the Pound-Rebka experiment, does light lose energy?

In the Pound–Rebka experiment the redshift / blueshift of photons is measured in small distances. This experiment one explain by the influence of gravitational field on the photon: "When the photon ...
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2answers
455 views

Does the work function of metal depend upon the intensity of light?

does work function of metal depend upon the intensity of light?or does it depend upon the nature of metal?And according to my perception its depend upon both intensity and nature of light.
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3answers
556 views

How do two electrical charged particles know to repel or attract each other?

Now per QED, electrical charges interactions are effected by photons. Suppose you are one of the two charges. How do you know to attract or repel the other charge? In other words, how do you know if ...
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4answers
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How to rebut denials of the existence of photons? [duplicate]

Recently I have encountered several engineers who do not “believe in” photons. They believe experiments such as the photoelectric effect can be explained with classical EM fields + quantized energy ...
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2answers
176 views

Does positron-electron annihilation preserve enough info to reverse exactly

An electron-positron annihilation can produce a pair of gamma rays. In the reverse process, known as pair production, can the gamma rays carry enough information to determine the resulting ...
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1answer
56 views

Kinetic theory of photon gasses

I have recently attempted to derive a fully functional non-handwavy derivation of the photon gas energy density without having to interpret some mass term such as $mc^2$ as the "photon energy". My ...
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Gravity's effects on photons moving away from source

As a photon has no mass and must always have velocity c, if I were to shine a laser straight up (so Earth's gravity would be pulling straight back on it), what would the effect be on the photon? It ...
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1answer
57 views

Defining photons

I've read every book for my course and all of them describe photons as wave-packets/"bursts" of the EM wave. I just can't appreciate this view of photons. From what I've gathered on photons: Photons ...
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2answers
120 views

Photoelectric effect intensity

I understand the PE effect quite well but I'm failing to understand one thing. Intensity is the amount of energy per second incident to a given area. So can you can increase the intensity by either ...
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2answers
56 views

Structure of white light? [duplicate]

White light is a mixture of different wavelengths. If so what will be the structure of a beam of white light ? Is there a separation between different colours ? what does it actually mean ? Does a ...
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24 views

Photon absorption by a hydrogen atom : [duplicate]

How does the photon absorption takes place in a hydrogen? The classical mechanics shows the absorption of photonic energy resulting in the excitation of atom. Intuitively, a photon with frequency ...
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1answer
277 views

Is it possible for photon to run in circle by its own gravity?

I have heard that gravity came from energy and momentum so photon has gravity too. Then there are theory state that photon has energy tied to frequency. So if a photon has very very high frequency ...
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2answers
333 views

Do virtual photons have a frequency?

Real photons do have frequencies, which is directly related to its energy. So, can virtual photons that take part in EM interactions have frequencies too? When my hand is pressed up against a glass ...