16
votes
4answers
2k views

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 ...
1
vote
3answers
50 views

Do atoms of a surface excite to reflect the light?

How do surfaces reflect certain colours and absorb the others?
2
votes
3answers
63 views

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 ...
0
votes
0answers
77 views

Photons and Black holes

How many photons in one Planck volume would it take to form a tiny black hole? A photon doesn't have mass but it does have energy, $1.0101 \times 10^{-37}$ Joule for red $650$ nm wavelength light if ...
0
votes
2answers
32 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 ...
0
votes
1answer
40 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
69 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
31 views

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 ...
0
votes
0answers
30 views

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 ...
1
vote
3answers
66 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 ...
3
votes
0answers
54 views

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 ...
-1
votes
1answer
100 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 ...
2
votes
0answers
89 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 ...
1
vote
2answers
63 views

How far does a Photon's field Extend?

I read the related answer to whether photons have size, and the answer seemed to be it depends. If a Photon, or a rather an E&M wave has a magnetic and electric field, should things be able to ...
2
votes
2answers
105 views

Can we observe diffraction even if the slit size is tending to zero?

According to Huygens principle, if we consider any point of the primary wave fronts, each point is the source of secondary disturbance. If the point size we consider tends to zero, the number of ...
1
vote
1answer
95 views

What is the energy distribution of light if it has an infinite length?

What is the energy distribution of light if it has an infinite length? I have read in one of the answers here on phys.SE that light has actually an infinite length. But then what is the energy ...
3
votes
1answer
76 views

Polarisation of light is a wave concept or applicable to photons as well?

I have a very fundamental question. We explain polarisation of light assuming wave nature of light. Is it still valid if we assume light as photons? Or in other words, polarisation is a wave concept ...
3
votes
1answer
214 views

Didn't Newton's Corpuscular theory fail to explain reflection?

In 1637 Descartes gave the corpuscular model of light and derived Snell's law. This Corpuscular model of light was further developed by Isaac Newton in his famous book entitled OPTICKS and because of ...
2
votes
3answers
82 views

How to smooth the spectrum of a light source?

Could somebody please tell me if there's a reasonably cheap substance or device can I use to smooth the spectrum of a light source? For example, if the spectrum has spikes as in the blue graph below, ...
0
votes
0answers
29 views

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 ...
0
votes
1answer
81 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 ...
36
votes
6answers
1k views

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 ...
0
votes
1answer
89 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 ...
0
votes
0answers
31 views

Light Apparent Brightness

Let's say I have a triangular light source. From that light source I want to calculate a pyramidal frustum (tetrahedron with no apex). How would I calculate the maximum bottom area where light would ...
3
votes
1answer
56 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 ...
1
vote
0answers
54 views

Is there spatial data loss in light passing through transparent crystal?

There is perfect parallelepipedal bar made of transparent crystal with cubic lattice floating in vacuum. Faces of parallelepiped are parallel to lattice axis. There is image, forming checkerboard ...
6
votes
3answers
140 views

Can visible light be emitted from a non-thermal source?

I was reading about thermal and non-thermal radiation and I was wondering if visible light can be emitted from a non-thermal source?
6
votes
2answers
601 views

Slowing down light in an opaque crystal for a whole minute

I just read about a team of physicists at the University of Darmstadt, Germany, that managed to completely slow down a beam of light that traveled through an opaque crystal (article here). How is it ...
-4
votes
1answer
125 views

how can u split the Photon? [closed]

If any equations are there ,for split the light particle, means that i have a 1m length of light just consider that in that who can i split the light particle into 1/2 m length Pls tell
0
votes
2answers
122 views

Is it possible for a photon to be at rest? [duplicate]

I know it doesn't really make sense if looking at the photon from the wave point of view, but is there any law of physics which prohibits a photon from stopping completely? Thanks.
6
votes
1answer
416 views

How does sun light after it has passed window's pane still heat me up?

I believe it is so because most of photons' energy has successfully passed the glass. But is it so? And how can I roughly estimate part of light's energy which will pass obstacles like glass? And how ...
4
votes
2answers
970 views

Why does the Sun feel hotter through a window?

I have this big window in my room that the Sun shines through every morning. When I wake up I usually notice that the Sunlight coming through my window feels hot. Much hotter than it normally does ...
2
votes
1answer
1k views

If time stops at the speed of light is a photon 'everywhere' at once? [duplicate]

I am not a physicist so excuse my question if it's paticularly stupid. As a particle gets closer to the speed of light time slows down as for that particle as compared to a reference from the ...
34
votes
5answers
4k views

Why doesn't light kill me?

I was attending my philosophy class and in the middle of student presentations, I found myself mentally wondering off and thinking about light. After a few minutes of trying to piece together how the ...
1
vote
1answer
267 views

Why does Lorentz factor not hold for relativistic mass when we apply it to photons? [duplicate]

We know that the photon itself is massless particle $m_0=0$. But we also know, that the mass of the objects does increase with their energy. And we know that under certain circumstances (gravity, ...
1
vote
1answer
141 views

Color of a Metal's Threshold Wavelength?

How do I find the color of the threshold wavelength if the metal has a threshold wavelength of $\mathrm{6.5\times 10^{-7}m}$? I know that converts down to $\mathrm{650\ nm}$, but can I still use the ...
2
votes
3answers
932 views

If photons can be absorbed by electrons, wouldn't that mean light has a charge? [duplicate]

I am a biochemistry and molecular biology major. If photons can be absorbed by electrons, wouldn't that mean light has a charge? Electrons only attract positive charges. Isn't it?
2
votes
2answers
866 views

Seeing colors: photons vs waves

As an atmospheric physics major I am familiar with electromagnetic radiation in the atmosphere and what dictates what wavelength objects will emit at. When observing radiation in the atmosphere it is ...
7
votes
2answers
329 views

Are there “gaps” in light, or will it hit everywhere?

Not sure how to word my question. Picture a light source in vacuum, so nothing disturbs the light (or similar conditions), 2d. If I move very, very far away, will it happen that some of the light ...
1
vote
2answers
71 views

Hurdles in creating (close to) infinite images [duplicate]

Let's put an object (hypothetical superman) inside a "well sealed" box containing only mirrors. Is it possible to create number of images that will be close to infinity, assuming that resolution of ...
5
votes
2answers
985 views

How photons represent colors that you see?

Right now, my understanding is that, a mixture of photons of many different frequencies is perceived as white by your eye. While no photons at all, is perceived as black. And photons with the blue ...
8
votes
1answer
184 views

If light is linearly polarized, does it have some spatial extent?

If light (a photon) is linearly polarized, say vertically, does it have some vertical spatial extent (perhaps in amplitude)?
2
votes
2answers
335 views

Do photons actually generate a slight kinetic force?

My question is even though photons have no (rest) mass, do they emit a external force due to EM radiation causing electrons to be excited and jump to higher energy shells which electrons have mass ...
3
votes
1answer
87 views

A question about how light hits a surface

my question is about how photons travel from a light source and hit an object. When you look at an object being hit by light the whole surface becomes brighter. What i'm trying to understand is why ...
1
vote
0answers
19 views

Speed of Light in a Medium [duplicate]

For light travelling in a medium with refractive index greater than one: The "average" speed of light is slower than the speed of light in a vacuum. As far as I know, the instantaneous speed of light ...
-1
votes
1answer
1k views

Frequency Of Light

I am confused on few topics... What is meant by "Frequency of Light"? Does the Photon(s) vibrate, that is known as its frequency? If the Photons vibrate, then they have a specific frequency, then ...
4
votes
0answers
182 views

How fat is Feynman’s photon?

According to my calculations, it is a lot skinnier than Airy’s photon, but still a whole lot fatter than a straight line. So, how does a photon get from point A to Point B? The ray optics ...
0
votes
1answer
64 views

Any suggestions for units conversion? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Photometer: measured Irradiance L converted to photon rate I am conducting a experiment where stimulus output of $470\ nm$ is measured by a radiometer at $30\ \mu W\ ...
1
vote
1answer
301 views

Confused about fire?

Im confused about fire. The way I see it : Heat creates (kinetic) energy in mass and this creates stronger vibrations of atoms. When those vibrations are strong enough the electrons interact ...
2
votes
2answers
336 views

How does scattering work?

Why is the sky blue? I was always taught in high school that light with wavelength $\lambda$ acts like a little particle that wiggles up and down through space (in proportion to its magnitude). I was ...