According to de Broglie hypothesis, light has dual nature i.e. particle and wave.

And sound needs medium to travel . So can we say that, sound could travel through light as light has particle nature?

  • 6
    $\begingroup$ I don't think it's accurate that the dual nature of light is described by the de Broglie hypothesis. $\endgroup$
    – M. Enns
    Nov 30, 2021 at 14:50
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ For more on de Broglie, see The more general uncertainty principle, beyond quantum $\endgroup$
    – mmesser314
    Nov 30, 2021 at 14:59
  • $\begingroup$ "Light has dual nature"~ the hypothesis was firat described by Newton latter Maxwell(if i remember the history accurately). $\endgroup$ Nov 30, 2021 at 16:47
  • $\begingroup$ Newton was a proponent of the corpuscular theory of light, not the wave theory. It was Leibniz who was in favour of the latter. JC Maxwell proved that light is an EMW and Hertz later confined it. $\endgroup$
    – Osmium
    Dec 1, 2021 at 0:56

1 Answer 1


This is an interesting question, and the answer turns out to be yes. Ordinarily we say that photons do not interact with one another (that is, they pass right through one another without colliding), but this is only an approximation. Photons interact (very) weakly at all energies, and this ability to scatter means that a gas of photons can indeed support acoustic waves, which could in principle be observable for extremely high energy densities or extremely large distance scales.

This paper (also on the arxiv) derives corrections to thermodynamical expressions for a photon gas due to this photon-photon scattering, and demonstrates that the speed of sound in a photon gas would be exactly equal to $v_s = c/\sqrt 3$ (which is, incidentally, the speed of sound in an ideal ultra-relativistic fluid). This paper derives the same result in a less technical way.


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