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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Does a photon follow a straight trajectory in a thin transparent film?

Does a photon follow a straight trajectory in a thin transparent film if the source has emitted a photon inside the film with impulse parallel to the film surface. (lambda greater than thickness)? ...
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Why can't incoherent light be collimated as well as laser light (e.g. in a laser pointer)?

Why does a laser pointer contain a laser diode, and not just an LED? A laser pointer contains a laser diode, which essentially shines coherent light over a large angle, and a collimating lens, to ...
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38 views

Single particle diffraction: how is this possible?

The intensity distribution of diffraction patterns are typically explained by looking at points of constructive and destructive interference of the diffracted waves on the detector. These diffracted ...
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45 views

Coulomb law and photons

When we consider process like $e^- e^- \to e^- e^-$ in QED, we see that from exchanges of one photon (tree-level diagrams) one can obtain Coulomb's law, while loop-diagrams give quantum corrections ...
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Is linear polarization of entangle photons in 2-particle decay always correlated?

In Aspect's paper "Bell's Theorem: The naive..." and in an 2002 AJP article by Dehlinger and Mitchell "Entangled photon apparatus..." the photons are described to be in the $|xx\rangle+|yy\rangle$ ...
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Time-coherency of “incoherent” light

Even "incoherent" light as the one of a light bulb has some coherency, and would interfer in the double-slit experiment (even if more blurry because the different wavelengths don't trigger the same ...
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3answers
93 views

Is this true about low-light/one photon at-a-time double-slit interference?

I've consistently noticed in pictures of double-slit interference when very low-light or one photon at-a-time is used, that there's lots of "stray" photons detected in the areas of destructive ...
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1answer
35 views

Why do some elements burn different colors? [duplicate]

I have a torch lighter and it makes a green color when the flame passes over the metal in the center. What on the molecular level would a flame change color although there is no difference in ...
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18 views

Time Dilation for a photon [duplicate]

Does a photon experience any time. Since a photon is massless and hence travels at (c) then it should suffer infinite time dilation, and hence shouldn't experience no time?
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163 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
794 views

How can my window not scramble the image of my yard?

How can an image pass through a window if the atoms in the glass randomly emit photons in any direction? I've read that glass is transparent because the atoms don't readily adsorb visible light, so it ...
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How come lenses alter the path of photons?

From what I know, photons are theorized particles and believed to be massless (just energy) and travel at the speed of light. How come a lens, which is an object made of atoms, can bend a light path? ...
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How many percent of the visible light reaching the Earth are from other stars than the Sun?

How many percent of the whole visible light reaching the Earth are from other stars than the Sun? Is it maybe 0,5 - 1% or is my guess already too much? I am interested mainly in visible light, but ...
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1answer
103 views

How far does a photon move in the 4th dimension when it travels one light second? [closed]

In one second a photon moves 3x10^8 meters through the three spatial dimensions. Light's velocity is 3x10^8 m/s. If the photon moved at all in the fourth dimension, it's velocity would no longer be ...
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1answer
75 views

Can light break relativity's reference frame? [on hold]

I have fairly little experience with relativity and physics in general, so I might just be missing something, but I do often ponder how the universe works. My understanding of relativity is that ...
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4answers
5k views

Why have our eyes not evolved to see “gluons”? [closed]

Bit of a random question...photons are the propagators for QED, and we rely on photons to see the world around us. The gluon is the propagator in QCD. Why have our eyes not evolved to see gluons ...
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20 views

Mirror shake emulation for the light

Is there any way to simulate mirror shaking? Final goal is to make send light beam to the mirror and get reflected beam the same, as it happens if mirror is vibrating. Mechanical vibration is limited ...
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3answers
1k views

How is the mechanism of greenhouse gases interacting with IR radiation?

How does atmospheric CO2 and other Greenhousgases (GHG) affect the incoming (from sun) and outgoing (from earth) radiation. I understand that at certain wavenumbers (or areas of wavenumbers) in the ...
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3answers
119 views

Does unpolarized light means that photon is in superposition state?

I read that a polaroid filter is made of many long chain of molecules aligned in one direction and will only allow the vibration of light with the same alignment as the filter to be absorbed. I ...
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18 views

Relationship between oscillator strength and cross section

In the context of absorption of photons by atoms, I have come across two seemingly very related quantities, cross section and oscillator strength. In the book Physics of the Interstellar and ...
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70 views

Where does the energy of a photon trying to escape a black hole go?

I've heard "light cannot escape a black hole" explained several ways. One is that if a photon inside the event horizon tries to escape a black hole it loses energy to gravity. As it loses energy its ...
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2answers
327 views

What is the significance of wavelength when referring to light (in layman's terms)?

Without any equations or complex terminology, I simply want to understand in complete layman's terms what the significance of a single photon's wavelength is. People say that microwave radiation's ...
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1answer
32 views

Stark broadening and Voigt fitting

I have LIBS spectral data acquired with a CT spectrometer of resolution 0.4nm. I fitted the Voigt profile into the spectral peak at $\lambda_0$. The lorentz $\Delta \lambda_L$ and the gaussian ...
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1answer
23 views

How to get explicit value of Wigner angle for massless one-particle state transformation?

The one-particle massless state $|\mathbf p , \sigma\rangle$ is transformed under the Lorentz group $U(\Lambda) \equiv U(\Lambda , 0)$ as $$ U(\Lambda)|\mathbf p, \sigma \rangle = \sqrt{\frac{(\Lambda ...
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1answer
46 views

What is the QED model about half wave plate?

Surely classical electrodynamics (CED) has a good and well-known answer about the change of light polarization in a HWP (or Quarter wave plate). I tried to find how does this look like from point of ...
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40 views

Can 2 photons make up the same colour as another photon?

So, my question deals with the excited electron shown above. (1st diagram) This electron can return to its ground state by either of two ways. One of the ways involves the emission of 2 photons. ...
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breaking bonds with light

Light, for instance green light (532 nm = 2.33 eV) has an energy comparable to that of many chemical bonds (C-C bond dissociation energy is about 3.6-3.7 eV). So how is it that I'm not being burned ...
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46 views

The principle behind Inertia and it's connection to Equilibrium

Inertia is the tendency of a force-free body to remain in that state or it is something that opposes any act of changing its equilibrium state. Mass is a measure of inertia. I have some questions ...
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74 views

What is a soft photon?

I accidentally came across the words "soft photon" today after reading a few blogs. There was some discussion of special situations involving gauge redundancies and a theorem by Weinberg. What is a ...
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21 views

Photoelectric effect vs. electronegativity?

What connection exists between the photoelectric effect and the electronegativity of a material struck by light? I'm summing up some stuff in physics, and I got the feeling that the amount of energy ...
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18 views

How Does Silicon Surface Barrier (SSB) radiation detectors work?

I'm dealing whith some old detectors (about 1980) called Silicon Surface Barrier, searching online I've seen that they consist on metal-semiconductor(Si n-type) junction (schottky diode) and in one ...
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27 views

How can absorbtion of a photon in an atom take place? [duplicate]

I will come back to a question posed here and the comment given by John Rennie: If the photon energy doesn't match an allowed transition energy it won't be absorbed and won't excite any transition. ...
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How do particles become entangled?

A person asked me this and I'm just a lowly physical chemist. I used a classical analogy (how good or bad is this and how to fix?) Basically, light has a net angular momentum of zero, insofar as ...
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The lightest photon ever detected

Wiki says that a photon of mass equivalent to $10^{-62}$ kg has been detected: 10×10−62 kg Mass equivalent of the energy of the lightest photon detected [citation needed] this equates to a ...
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27 views

The highest photon energy ever measured and transplanckian energies

What is the highest energy of we have measured of a photon by any physical experiment? Has a transplanckian energy photon been measured? Can we study them -if they exist- with special relativity?
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63 views

Mass and frequency of photons [duplicate]

Light is affected by gravity which means light has got mass. Quantum theory tells us that light consists of discrete quanta of energy, which we call photons. These photons have a rest mass of zero (as ...
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294 views

Question about electron-hole pair generation in depletion layer for a p-n junction photodiode

At the heart of operation of p-n (or p-i-n) junction photodiodes is the absorption of photons leading to generation of electron-hole pairs. If the diode is, e.g., reverse biased, then the motion of ...
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1answer
21 views

Point source of monochromatic photons - self-contradictory in QM?

Suppose we have a point source of photons located somewhere in space. So when the photons are released their location is well known, $\Delta x \approx 0, \Delta y \approx 0, \Delta z \approx 0$ ...
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Is the force carrier of the magnetism in a common household magnet a photon?

As I have understood it, the Standard Model includes particles that carry the different forces, e.g. the electromagnetic (EM) force, the gravitational (G) force. When talking about EM fields such as ...
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1answer
23 views

What determines photoelectric yield

Is there any difference between the photoelectric yield of different metals apart from the threshold wavelength? To be more clear: Will metals with the same work function emit the same amount of ...
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2answers
71 views

How do single photons travel from here to there

I know there have been similar questions but I'm still unclear what the overall consensus is. (1) I assumed and have read that photons travel in straight lines unless deflected by gravity but there ...
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29 views

Estimating “attributes” of a single photoelectric interaction

Disclaimer: I'm a mathematics grad student working on medical imaging. My knowledge of physics and physical intuition is, for the most part, quite poor. Question: I've been reading a lot about the ...
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1answer
98 views

Does this length refer to wavelength or length? [closed]

In this question: A He-Ne laser emits red light of the wave length $\lambda = 632.8\ \mathrm{nm}$ with a beam diameter of $2.0\ \mathrm{mm}$ and a power output of $1.0\ \mathrm{mW}$ [...] (d) How ...
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29 views

How can air pollution contribute towards light pollution?

I was just wondering if air pollutants such as soot, could reflect light into the night sky, and thus be a potential source of light pollution. If that's true, can you please suggest any other air ...
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1answer
190 views

Explanation for Refraction of light (change of angle) and Reflection

Refraction: I want a qualitative Quantum Mechanical explanation of why do we see light rays -in the classical picture- bend when light goes from one medium to another. I read that it is due to ...
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2answers
37 views
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2answers
49 views

Description of a photon and quanta

Could someone please help to clarify the difference between a photon and a quanta? Below is my current understanding - please correct me if I am wrong. A photon - is a 'wave particle' of 'light'. I ...
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1answer
60 views

How do photons interact with nucleons [closed]

Is question can be considered as an extension of the interaction between photon and atomic electron, where the energy level of atomic electron is elevated when absorbing photons and the process is ...
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43 views

Why call it a particle and not a wave pulse?

My physics textbook says that photoelectric emission provides conclusive evidence for the particle theory of light. Apparently, since photoelectric emission only works at certain frequencies, we can ...
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3answers
535 views

What determines the sharpness of a shadow?

What are the factors that affect the sharpness of a shadow? I would think that the distance between the light source and the object, the distance between the object and the shadow, and the size of ...