Where does photons come from and disappear to? Can photons be destroyed and created? Without atoms would photons exist? What other ways then from atoms can photons be made?

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    $\begingroup$ Yes, photons can be "destroyed" and created. $\endgroup$
    – Danu
    Jan 31, 2016 at 11:44
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    $\begingroup$ This one might help a bit: physics.stackexchange.com/q/168684 $\endgroup$ Jan 31, 2016 at 11:45
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    $\begingroup$ Reasonable question. An unusual answer see here physics.stackexchange.com/questions/168684/… . Unfortunately it is without any criticism downvoted so it is not possible to see, what is wrong. $\endgroup$ Jan 31, 2016 at 12:08
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    $\begingroup$ @HolgerFiedler The problem with that answer is that we already have a quantum theory of radiation that has been verified to an enormous degree of precision ... perhaps (and arguably) standing with special relativity as the top two best-tested theories. Your ideas don't improve on what we already have. $\endgroup$
    – garyp
    Jan 31, 2016 at 16:03
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    $\begingroup$ In the case of the comment above "unusual" means "not even wrong". $\endgroup$ Jan 31, 2016 at 17:13

1 Answer 1


Photons mediate the electromagnetic force. Atoms are not necessary for photons to exist. You just need charged particles (electrons, protons, etc) to interact with each other from a distance.

There are many ways for a photon to be created and destroyed. Depending upon its wavelength, as it propagates in free space , it could "disappear" and a pair electron-positron could be created in its place. An atom could absorb it, and if it is part of a solid, it could couple its excited energy to a phonon and then create heat.

  • $\begingroup$ @igael could you help in restructuring my question so I can reopen it? $\endgroup$
    – Muze
    Mar 30, 2016 at 18:43
  • $\begingroup$ could you help in restructuring my question so I can reopen it? $\endgroup$
    – Muze
    Mar 30, 2016 at 18:44

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