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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Photon Angular Momentum

Essentially I am wanting to evaluate $$\langle j\, m \mid a^\dagger(\mathbf{k}, \lambda) \mid 0 \rangle \,,$$ where $\lambda$ indicates the circular polarization (about $\mathbf{k}$). We have that ...
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48 views

Energy in an electromagnetic wave

A radio antenna creates EM waves through switching the polarization in the antenna at a certain frequency. I assume the the energy of the photons produced in this process amount to E=hf for each ...
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415 views

How does the frequency of a particle manifest itself?

In terms of wave-particle duality for, let's say a photon; how would the frequency practically manifest/demonstrate itself? Like, i understand that the frequency is related to the energy a particle ...
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284 views

About photons and mirrors

If a photon hits a 'perfect' mirror (with no environment interference) would the mirror move a bit?
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What if photons are not the fastest particles?

Einstein originally thought that special relativity was about light and how it always travelled at the same speed. Nowadays, we think that special relativity is about the idea that there is some ...
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333 views

light entering a black hole's singularity

I already understand that light cannot escape a black hole after passing the event horizon, so please do not explain that to me. What I would like to know is this: a well known fact about light (a ...
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Why can light (photons) bends in a curve through space without mass? [duplicate]

I've heard that light can form a curve if they travel near high-mass stars or even a black hole with strong gravity. Which is according to this Newtonian formula $$\large ...
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2answers
232 views

If 'pure energy' is photons, and energy is conserved, how can matter and antimatter (electrons and positrons) annihilate into photons and vice-versa? [duplicate]

The first law of thermodynamics says energy cannot be created or destroyed. But we can collide photons to form electrons and positrons. Does this means that law does not apply in these microscopic ...
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2answers
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limited number of photons problem

Given that there are a finite number of photons that exist in the universe, and the maximum speed of a photon is governed by the speed of light, is it possible that enough people observed an object, ...
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68 views

SPEED of LIGHT as photons reach black holes [duplicate]

As photons reach a black hole and begin fall in - is their speed increased as they go down (like a vacuum cleaner does to dust).
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5answers
301 views

How do we know that photons are exactly massless and travel exactly with speed $c$ in vacuum?

I know that this question may sound stupid, but what I mean is that photons have some energy and no mass, yet the mass and energy are said to be equivalent (or maybe I got that part wrong). In an ...
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2answers
90 views

How is the image in a mirror created? Are there infinitely many light rays?

How is the image in a mirror created? Are there infinitely many light rays? My motivation for the question is from image processing. We work with images as discrete 2D functions, as matrices. Spatial ...
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3answers
158 views

Speed of light originating from a star with gravitational pull close to black-hole strength?

Imagine you have a star which is on the brink of turning into a black hole. Lets say it is infinitely close to become a black hole, but not there yet. Since there is no event horizon, but a great ...
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Why is an electron still an elementary particle after absorbing / emitting a photon?

When an electron absorbs a photon, does the photon become electron "stuff" (energy); or, is it contained within the electron as a discrete "something"?
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181 views

Can relativistic momentum (photons) be used as propulsion for 'free' after the initial generation?

In discussing this question about propelling a spacecraft with photons and their relativistic momentum, the author asked that I restate my comment as another question. If photons can really be used ...
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1answer
301 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 ...
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1answer
94 views

Do beam splitters work for very broad photons? (frequency bandwidth, spatial extent)

If I send a single photon through a usual beam splitter, is there a limit for the beam splitter to work properly related to the photons broadness in frequency or in space? For example a femto second ...
3
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1answer
40 views

Are photons absorbed by expanding space?

Can a photon/EM-field-excitation redshifted by spatial expansion be completely dissipated? Does the energy reach a minimum value (Planck's constant) and continue on as normal? Does expansion also ...
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1answer
239 views

Information carried by single photon

In Quantum Information we can use photons for quantum bits (qubits). What i often read is that each photon can carry one unit of information, i.e. using the polarization state of a single photon. I ...
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264 views

Wave function of a photon?

consider a single photon. Since it is not possible to create a photon with a certain frequency it can be characterized by a normalized frequency distribution $f(\nu)$ that is peaked around some mean ...
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How to formulate collapse in polarization subspace of a photon?

I am wondering how to describe the collapse of a photon state when it is measured in the polarization degree of freedom (say by a filter which let pass just one particular polarisation). Let the free ...
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3answers
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Does a high energy photon experience deceleration or direction-change when it impinge into water or something due to the change of refraction index?

Wave experiences refraction when it propagates into another medium which has different refraction index. Lights surely does experience refraction at the border of mediums which have different ...
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0answers
108 views

If a photon is a boson and has spin 1, shouldn't it have 3 spin orientations since spin 1 is a triplet? [duplicate]

I've gotten used to the fact that a spin can be described by its total spin and its $z$-component. And I've learned that a particle (really, anything) with spin 1 forms a triplet with three possible ...
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1answer
108 views

How is it possible for light to be a wave and a particle? [duplicate]

I have always been interested in Physics, and lots of people say that light is a particle and a wave. How is it possible? How can a photon (a light particle) be a wave as well, when its a particle? ...
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2answers
404 views

Light formed by the sun?

This is an extract from the astrophysics chapter in my book: Hydrogen atoms fuse to form helium. At the same time, lots of of gamma photons and neutrinos are produced. The photons take thousands ...
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2answers
653 views

Size of a photon

When detecting radio waves in space, we use very large telescopes or arrays of telescopes. But according to QM, aren't photons point particles when measured? Does a photon with a large wavelength ...
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53 views

need data-point: count rate of APD (avalanche photo-diode) for specific aperture and stellar magnitude

I hope lab / experimental physics is fair game for this web-site. If not, sorry! I'm designing a sensor system to perform specialized [astronomy and space-sciences] experiments, and need a "reality ...
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How do cathode ray tubes (CRT) synthesize colours?

I just read about how LCD displays were based only on black&white contrasts, and only colour filters on each subpixel generated the colour of a pixel. However, how does that happen for a CRT? Is ...
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2answers
88 views

What is relation between electrons and photon? [closed]

What is the relation between electrons and photons? Why do atoms get excited when their electrons come in contact with photons? Why do electrons go from a higher to lower energy level when emitting a ...
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1answer
69 views

Characteristic x-ray in energy spectrum

Context: Monte Carlo simulation of a linear accelerator photon beam. The energy spectrum for photons as calculated from the phase space files found in here has a peak somewhere near ...
2
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1answer
136 views

What is Photoproduction

I wonder what photoproduction means in the context of pion decay and vector meson dominance? What is the reaction formula, Feynman diagram for such a photoproduction thing? Is it simply a reaction ...
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3answers
196 views

Do free electrons really not interact with photons?

If free electrons don't interact with photons, why are free electrons accelerated by electromagnetic fields?
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3answers
121 views

Do photons interact only with single particles or can a single photon be absorbed by 2 or more particles simultaneously?

Say I have 100 particles in a vacuum that are spread out such that their movement caused by a time variant electromagnetic field does not have an effect on each other. That is the particles can not ...
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3answers
204 views

Photons straight into black hole

What happens to a photon shot straight into a black hole? Does it gain infinite momentum before it crosses the horizon? If it has a finite momentum going in, then it would seem that a photon of the ...
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2answers
296 views

Photon emission and absorption by atomic electrons

Assume a photon is produced by an atomic electron making a transition down from a certain energy level to another. Can that photon only be absorbed by another atomic electron making exactly the ...
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2answers
117 views

Suppose a light wave with wavelength 3m. What happens if one tries to contain that wave within a 1m container?

Suppose a light wave with wavelength 3m. What happens if one tries to contain that wave within a 1m container? If I'm going about this entirely the wrong way or have wrong conceptions about light ...
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3answers
254 views

Intuitive understanding of wavelength

Light is described as having wavelength. I can somewhat understand this in connection with for example the double slit experiment, that photons interact spatially in a wave like manner. But can the ...
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Optical Bloch Oscillation

I have a doubt about how the optical Bloch oscillations happen in a 1D photonic crystal. I try to explain: in a photonic crystal with discrete translational symmetry in one direction I superimpose a ...
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1answer
161 views

If a photon's emission is detected is it real or virtual?

I understand that one can measure a single photon being absorbed using a photomultiplier tube or CCD. Can one measure a single photon being emitted by monitoring the current through an LED or the ...
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1answer
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What is the significance of the difference in the eigenvalue equations of Bloch functions for electrons vs photons?

any text on photonic crystals will highlight the almost perfect analogy between electrons in a periodic potential and photons in a periodic dielectric. The analogies are: $$V(\vec r + \vec R) = ...
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389 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 ...
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2answers
254 views

What happens to a photon when it enters a black hole?

The photon has a mass of 0, but it has energy because of its motion. When it is sucked into the black hole and becomes a singularity, it loses its energy because it is no longer moving. It is not ...
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113 views

Can a wave exist on the “face” of a wave?

It would seem that this would be possible with waves in water. What about other waves Clarification: Given a wave starting from a point of impact, in water, at: Time 0:00 and xyz 0,0,0 and the ...
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1answer
327 views

Sign in the photon propagator

The Klein Gordon propagator is given (I use Peskin and Schroeder's conventions, if it matters...), \begin{equation} \frac{ i }{ p ^2 - m ^2 + i \epsilon } \end{equation} The photon propagator ...
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1answer
75 views

Can we expect the discovery of something that moves faster than light/photons?

As our knowledge on M-Theory improves in the times ahead which may unfold some warped dimension, can we expect the discovery of something that moves faster than light/photons?
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186 views

If photons don't have mass, how can they accelerate objects? [duplicate]

As far as I know photons don't have mass but they do have momentum ($p=mv$). Scientists say that if we put a shiny (reflective) shield of large radius in the vacuum of space, then light from sun will ...
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3answers
620 views

where does the photon go after scattering?

My question is about photo electric but it could be applied to other daily routine phenomenon. As we know rest mass of photon is zero. When a photon strikes the ...
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0answers
43 views

Relection of light [duplicate]

If I recall my physics correctly, and it was a long time ago, when a photon strikes a reflecting surface that specific photon is not what is reflected--rather the photon excites an electron which ...
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2answers
308 views

Do photons and cosmic rays radiate energy through gravitational waves? If not, why not?

Due to the mass-energy equivalence, both matter and EM radiation bend spacetime, and both are capable of forming singularities (black hole, white hole/kugelblitz). In light of this, why do photons ...
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1answer
265 views

Orbital angular momentum of photon

People talk about orbital angular momentum (OAM) of photons. Is there some physical example that cannot be explained without assuming that photons have non-zero OAM? Does different photons have ...