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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Light pulses and energy-time uncertainty principle [duplicate]

Suppose we have a monochromatic light beam. We put an obstacle between source and observer and remove it repeatedly by certain frequency such that observer sees an oscillating intensity of light. Will ...
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2answers
197 views

Quantum barrier for photons [closed]

In quantum mechanics, a particle may tunnel through a barrier it would not be able to surmount in a classical sense. My question is this: What are all the factors that may prevent a photon from ...
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1answer
76 views

Slowing of photons in a EB Condensate

Help me understand this. I have heard tell that they are now able to slow the forward progress of a photon traveling through an EBC to somewhere near 35mph. Is this actually the physical slowing down ...
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1answer
343 views

Does string theory pose a photon mass problem?

A few weeks ago, I started reading books on string theory. One thing that really seemed confusing or contradictory was that string theory explains that the energy of a superstring gives mass to the ...
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1answer
543 views

Physical Interpretation of Poynting Vector

I'm looking for a physical interpretation of the Poynting Vector. I understand that it should be thought of as an energy flow due to the electromagnetic field, but would I be correct in saying that in ...
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58 views

Clocks tick steadily, so why is there no photon time? [duplicate]

Consider a photon bouncing left and right between two mirrors in a photon clock. Seen from inside the clock, the photon bounces at a constant frequency. Time ticks regularly. No matter whether the ...
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2answers
452 views

Change in Wavelength of a Photon Relation to Energy (specifically Compton Effect)

Given a photon dropping from $\lambda_1$ to $\lambda_2$, its energy will drop from $\frac{hc}{(\lambda_1)}$ to $\frac{hc}{(\lambda_2)}$. However, I was wondering if there is any significance in the ...
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Understanding the virtual states referenced in multiphoton absorption studies

The Heisenberg energy-time uncertainty tells us that we can have so-called virtual states between eigenstates as long as the lifetime of these states is at most: $\tau = (\frac{h}{4 \pi E_v})$ Where ...
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95 views

How do virtual-photons curve in a magetic field?

From what I understand photons only move in straight lines unless reflected or refracted (other than influences from gravitational fields and their usual wavelike movement). And since they are a ...
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3answers
254 views

Relativity and photon interactions

A particle's interaction (with anything it can interact with) can be thought of as it making a measurement of the physical quantity associated with the interaction, (e.g. electric field in case of the ...
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1answer
95 views

Steps involved in photon emission [duplicate]

What are the detailed steps involved in the emissions of a photon, for example, when an electron drops to a lower energy level? How well do we understand the production of the photon in this example? ...
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1answer
205 views

What gives substances their color?

As far as i know (i may be wrong!), substances appear to have a definite color because they reflect/ transmit all the light rays of the given color, and absorb all the lights rays of the remaining ...
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3answers
244 views

Velocity of the photon

As far as I know photon travels in a wave pattern, that means it has $x$ and $y$ axis velocity components. If photon travels along $x$ axis, then what is it's maximum $y$ axis velocity?
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Photons from stars--how do they fill in such large angular distances?

It would seem that far-away stars are at such a distance that I should be able to take a step to the side and not have the star's photons hit my eye. How do stars release so many photons to fill in ...
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1answer
150 views

Concentration of photons: How many can you slow down in a given unit of space?

Being able to slow down light to the speed of a bicicle as shown in this vid: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EK6HxdUQm5s Led to a question: Given a unit of space e.g. 1cm^3, and then you slowed down ...
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4answers
351 views

Detecting a photon without changing it: Does it break conservation laws?

This is about an article published on ScienceMag: Nondestructive Detection of an Optical Photon. I don't have access to full text, but you can see a brief transcription in this link. Basically, it ...
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2answers
455 views

Do photons age in a medium?

According to special relativity, time starts to slow down as we increase our speed and eventually stops once we get to the speed of light. By that logic, photons don't age in a vacuum state as, to us, ...
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2answers
404 views

Some doubts about photons

I am reading Berkeley Physics Course vol. 4 (Quantum Mechanics) , chapter 4 (photons). (1) Section 46: book says: consider a typical photon emitted by the source. It can be regarded as a a wave ...
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2answers
114 views

Photons vs Uncertainty Principle

The uncertainty principle states: $\Delta_x\Delta_p>ħ/4$ We know the photon has a 0 rest mass but we are say that it's momentum is always the same $e=pc$ And more we are certain about the ...
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4answers
484 views

Why is the speed of light considered as a fundamental constant if its speed changes with medium resulting in refraction? [duplicate]

I know that the speed of light, the universal constant of gravitation and the Planck's constant are considered to be the three fundamental constants of the universe. But, why is speed of light ...
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0answers
102 views

How do we show that photons generated by a constant electric current are distributed according to a Poisson distribution?

I saw the answer sometimes ago in a book "Quantum Electronics" or similar title. I don't remember the author since I lost the book. The book sets ( I believe so ) a constant electric current $I$ in a ...
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0answers
68 views

What determines the probability of a pair of photons interacting, and producing a positron and an electron?

The second answer to this question describes how this process might occur, and I'm curious for more details about it: What is the probability distribution of the interaction producing ...
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1answer
426 views

Where do the photons mediating the electromagnetic force come from?

The electromagnetic field is mediated by photons (energy quanta). Its range is infinite, the interaction only weakens quadratically with distance due to the area of an expanding virtual sphere. Where ...
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Does classical axial current conservation prevent the spontaneous emission of a photon by an electron?

I understand the axial current conservation (in the massless limit) in classial field theory to mean that the difference between right handed and left handed electrons is conserved in QED. $$j^{\mu ...
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5answers
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Explain reflection laws at the atomic level

The "equal angles" law of refection on a flat mirror is a macroscopic phenomenon. To put it in anthropomorphic terms, how do individual photons know the orientation of the mirror so as to bounce off ...
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2answers
140 views

On-shellness of photons

In principle, we could describe all physics without EM fields (or photons), as they are mainly a useful tool to describe "action at distance" (which does not mean instantaneous) between charged ...
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1answer
237 views

Photon “stuck” on the event horizon of a black hole

According to what I've read on special relativity, $c$ is the speed limit for every object in the universe, and according to Einstein, an object's speed through the three spatial dimensions plus its ...
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188 views

Is the third spin vector of a photon always suppressed?

I like to tell people interested in light polarization that the photon is a vector boson for which the third spin axis, the one in the direction of travel, is suppressed due to photons being massless ...
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1answer
437 views

Can a photon survive a collision? If so, is it at rest during the process?

Background Irving Kaplan, in Article 6.7: The Compton Effect of Nuclear Physics (2nd Ed.) explains the Compton effect as follows: Compton (1923) was able to show that when a beam of ...
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119 views

How to calculate angular momentum per second for a photon beam? [closed]

Given a photon polarization state $$|\phi\rangle = \frac{3}{5}|x\rangle + \frac{4i}{5}|y\rangle,$$ a beam of photons transmit $N$ photons per second in such a state. An L-polarized photon has an ...
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1answer
69 views

Stimulated Emission in Free-Electron Lasers

I've been reading about free-electron lasers these days. The basic principle is clear: In the undulator electrons spontaneousely emit synchrotron radiation. A self-attunement takes place, causing the ...
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392 views

Smallest minimum feature size possible for transistors printed by photolithography

I'm doing a project about Moore's Law, one of the subtopics I've come to is photolithography. The way I understand it is that the MOSFET transistors are currently printed on a silicon wafer by ...
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1answer
50 views

What does this term G+G'->G' mean?

In this document, what does the line "Write $\vec{G}_i + \vec{G}_i' \rightarrow \vec{G}_i'$" after equation (25) actually mean?
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4answers
299 views

A question abou $E=pc$ for massless particles

Since photon has no (rest)mass and $$E^2=(pc)^2+(mc^2)^2$$ we derive that $E=pc$ for particle with no (rest)mass. However, if we transform the non-relativistic formula for kinetic energy ...
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Has advanced radiation been detected experimentally?

I would like to know whether there has been an experimental detection of advanced radiation. I seem to recall reading about such an experiment but I can't find any reference to it on the interwebs so ...
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0answers
121 views

Does light initially accelerate? [duplicate]

Light travels with a speed of $3\times10^8{m\over s}$. My question is that was the light initially accelerating or it archived the speed in an instance? If it was accelerating then why it did not ...
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722 views

Proof of Furry's theorem

i was wondering if anyone could give an explicit calculation or show a link that shows the proof to Furry's theorem. showing how the vacuum expectation value of any odd number of electromagnetic ...
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4answers
391 views

Why do lasers require mirror at the ends?

Laser uses mirrors to reflect photons in order to stimulate atoms to emit photons, but why this is so?. I mean, why does a photon stimulate atoms to produce more photons? If a photon made an atom to ...
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1answer
121 views

Plane Wave expansion method

I really don't know if this is the right forum to ask the question...but please help me if you can!! I was going through the Plane Wave Expansion Method Derivation...But to be honest I could not find ...
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2answers
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Finally photons got a mass, what now? [closed]

Finally photons have got a mass, and what we have got is a new state of matter. Most of you must have heard about this till now, for those who don't, visit this page. I am not a pro or something, ...
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How can we interpret polarization and frequency when we are dealing with one single photon?

If polarization is interpreted as a pattern/direction of the electric-field in an electromagnetic wave and the frequency as the frequency of oscillation, how can we interpret polarization and ...
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3answers
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Why do photons excite electrons?

I know that when electrons encounter photons, they become excited and move to an orbit farther away from the nucleus of an atom as a result. What I want to know is exactly why the photons cause the ...
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1answer
66 views

How far can diffused undersea light travel and still be perceived by the human eye?

Example: If one SCUBA diver looks past another SCUBA diver horizontally into negative space, how far away is the most distant emission of 'blue' light waves? Consider the sight angle in question to ...
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1answer
342 views

How to determine the amount of light energy (photons) being released from an incandescent light bulb?

I have got this all down pat: 1.Collision with a moving particle excites an atom. 2.This causes an electron to jump to a higher energy level. 3.The electron falls back to its original energy level, ...
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41 views

Why don't photons crash into each other occasionally? Or do they? [duplicate]

At the LHC, researchers smash particles into each other at speeds close to speed of light. Photons, on the other hand, already move at the speed of light. Do they ever smash into each other? Or do ...
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4answers
686 views

If matter and light have dual-nature, shouldn't we able to explain the observed phenomenons using either wave or particle?

Historically wave and particle has been perceived as totally different phenomenons (before 20th century). Now is it widely accepted and there are experimental results to show that in fact both matter ...
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1answer
144 views

LSZ theorem for photons

Is there any discussion on what the LSZ theorem for photons looks like? I would rather like a discussion of this in axial gauge $A_0 = 0$ (instead of the usual Lorenz gauge), but anything would do.
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Is the Copenhagen interpretation still valid?

"The secret lives of photons revealed" - physicsworld.com. It seems that this experiment violates the Copenhagen interpretation. Is it still valid? Can you please give me more insight on this ...
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4answers
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Is coherent light required for interference in Young's double slit experiment?

In this Veritasium video, a home experiment is presented which appears to produce a very good double-slit interference pattern with normal sunlight. The experiment is an empty cardboard box with a ...
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Double Slit Experiment: How do scientists ensure that there's only one photon?

Many documentaries regarding the double slit experiment state that they only send a single photon through the slit. How is that achieved and can it really be ensured that it is a single photon?