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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What is the difference between light and visible light? [duplicate]

After watching a few videos on light and electromagnetic radiation, I am a little confused. The way things are explained, is that light is just the same as electromagnetic radiation I thought this ...
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Estimating quantum efficiency of gated avalanche photodiode

I have a photon counting system that uses a gated avalanche diode to detect single photons. The repetition frequency of the gates is $f_1$ and the temporal gate width is $\tau_1$ (so the duty cycle is ...
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If a neutrino has a rest frame, why can't a photon have a rest frame as well?

Concerning Rest Frame Wikipedia states: For example, in the rest frame of a neutrino particle travelling from the Crab Nebula supernova to Earth the supernova occurred in the 11th Century AD ...
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Why electrons have less energy than photons with the same wavelength?

I am studying quantum physics and I have a question: what is the physical explanation for electrons having less energy than photons with the same wavelength? Energy of a photon : $E = h ...
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How do the single photon energy and em-signal energy correlate? [duplicate]

If the photon (as a quantum of the electromagnetic field) has no defined(?) amplitude, how does (or where from?) the electromagnetic wave's amplitude appear? The formulation of the question is not ...
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About the speed of light and gravity

I read (I think ) that part of relativity theory is that a strong gravitational field distorts the uniform passage of time. If this is true and a lightwave 'travelling' to Earth passes a star near ...
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Do photons occupy space?

Total noob here. I realize that photons do not have a mass. However, they must somehow occupy space, as I've read that light waves can collide with one another. Do photons occupy space? and if so, ...
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Can we glue femto-cameras to photons? [closed]

I know its not as easy as saying to glue nano-cameras to photons. Please consider the following extract (related to Heisenberg's Uncertainty principle) from the Modern's abc of Chemistry: ...to ...
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3answers
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What is a proportionality constant? (Planck's constant)

I understand that Planck's constant is essentially the ratio between the energy of a photon and its frequency. There are 2 things that im trying to verify: isn't the number that Planck's constant ...
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Why do tunneling photons outrace their non tunneling counterparts in vacuum?

If we describe a photons with a wave packet, moving towards a potential barrier and E smaller than V, there is a finite chance that it will tunnel to the other side. In this process it is likely that ...
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Spatial and Temporal Coherence

How is it possible to achieve waves which are spatially, but not temporally, coherent? Can this be done with a bandpass filter? Conversely, how is it possible to achieve waves which are temporally, ...
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How can a star emit light if it is in Plasma state?

I understand that star is in Plasma state (all nucleus and electrons are not bound to each other and moving around freely) Photon is emitted when an excited electron moves back to lower orbit. So in ...
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Photons emitted at the event horizon?

While looking through the questions, a came across a section about black holes. I immediately though; what would happen if an atom is orbiting a black hole and emitted a photon perpendicular to the ...
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When photons reach us, what exactly is happening to us and to that photon?

I'm new to physics and am just going through some of the free online classes at World Science U, and after watching this video on the nature of the speed of light and its constancy, a question came to ...
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3answers
342 views

Do atoms of a surface excite to reflect the light?

How do surfaces reflect certain colours and absorb the others?
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3answers
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Why can colors be mixed? [duplicate]

We can combine colored light, creating other colors, at least in terms of visual perception. But how it the result physically "a different color" - if it is at all? Or is all this not a physical ...
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219 views

Why don't we substitute for $p$ in $E = pc$?

See, the energy of a photon is given out by $E = pc = hv$ why don't we substitute for $p$ in $E ^2= p^2 c^2 + m^2 c^4$ by putting $p = \gamma mv$ and then get a value for $m$ (which will be $0$ for a ...
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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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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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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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279 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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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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6answers
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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
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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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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
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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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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
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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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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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275 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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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 ...
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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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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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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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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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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
105 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
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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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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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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
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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
67 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 ...
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1answer
130 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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189 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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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 ...