I am confused by something I have seen discussed but not with full clarity: it has to do with understanding antenna behavior at the quantum level for its own sake (yes, classical approach is easier but that is not what is intriguing me).
If photons are created only by electron energy transitions, which always result in very high frequency photon emissions, how can the atomic transitions excited by a radio source connected to an antenna cause the emission of “radio frequency photons”? Are those a popular mis-conception?
This is to say: if the antenna material is excited at 100 MHz by an AC source, the photons cannot be 100 MHz photons (E = hv), they would be in multi-THz range, dictated by the energy bands of the antenna material.
So this propagating radio wave must then be a train of high-frequency photons leaving the antenna material with an intensity modulated at 100 MHz? That modulated intensity train is received by photon absorption in the receiving antenna in kind, giving a 100 MHz signal current.
Correct? Then why is there a bunch of literature saying that radio waves can be seen as ‘radio frequency photons’? Is it all wrong?
And how exactly does QED explain this? I have not studied QED and QM closely, I come from electrical engineering and microwave engineering. Could you share a good lecture or reading source? I believe this is leading me to study how photons could be emitted in a modulated ‘packet’ so to speak.