Linked Questions

157
votes
9answers
220k views

If photons have no mass, how can they have momentum?

As an explanation of why a large gravitational field (such as a black hole) can bend light, I have heard that light has momentum. This is given as a solution to the problem of only massive objects ...
67
votes
5answers
10k views

What is more fundamental, fields or particles?

My confusion about quantum theory is twofold: I lack an adequate understanding of how the mathematics of quantum theory is supposed to correspond to phenomena in the physical world I still have an ...
38
votes
3answers
10k views

Why do the neutrinos (with mass) from a supernova arrive before the light (no mass)?

I've already read the below questions (and their answers) regarding neutrinos vs. electromagnetic waves propagating through space, but I'm still not clear on something. Neutrinos arrived before the ...
34
votes
7answers
1k views

Do Maxwell's equation describe a single photon or an infinite number of photons?

The paper Gloge, Marcuse 1969: Formal Quantum Theory of Light Rays starts with the sentence Maxwell's theory can be considered as the quantum theory of a single photon and geometrical optics as ...
32
votes
4answers
10k views

Do virtual particles actually physically exist?

I have heard virtual particles pop in and out of existence all the time, most notable being the pairs that pop out beside black holes and while one gets pulled away. But wouldn't this actually violate ...
40
votes
4answers
16k views

What is a phonon?

I am trying to understand intuitively what a phonon is, but for the moment I find it quite difficult (having a limited background in quantum mechanics, an undergraduate course in non-relativistic QM). ...
25
votes
4answers
30k views

What exactly is a quantum of light?

I am currently trying to learn some basic quantum mechanics and I am a bit confused. Wikipedia defines a photon as a quantum of light, which it further explains as some kind of a wave-packet. What ...
9
votes
5answers
3k views

How does gamma-gamma pair production really work?

See the Breit-Wheeler process, wherein two gamma photons are converted into an electron and a positron via a process that's the reverse of electron-positron annihilation. I do not doubt this process. ...
16
votes
2answers
5k views

The concept of particle in QFT

I never learnt QFT and I apologize for my (probably) elementary question. Somebody told me that in QFT a particle is viewed as an irregularity in the field. On the other hand, in an article in ...
13
votes
4answers
2k views

How to rebut denials of the existence of photons? [duplicate]

Recently I have encountered several engineers who do not “believe in” photons. They believe experiments such as the photoelectric effect can be explained with classical EM fields + quantized energy ...
10
votes
3answers
2k views

What is a photon? [duplicate]

I'm trying to get a definitive and clear answer to the question of what a photon actually is. Textbooks seem to give quite vague explanations, all starting with Einstein's idea that a quanta is a form ...
4
votes
3answers
3k views

How do electromagnetic waves carry quantised energy?

If an electron oscillates about a mean position, it will create a time varying electric filed which in turn will create a time varying magnetic field and so on to create an electromagnetic wave. How ...
3
votes
5answers
623 views

Wave/particle duality

Apologies if this has been asked before (I did check and I believe it wasn't). I have a question about the particle/wave duality of photons (or other particles). Depending on what and how we measure ...
3
votes
1answer
1k views

Wave function of a photon?

consider a single photon. Since it is not possible to create a photon with a certain frequency it can be characterized by a normalized frequency distribution $f(\nu)$ that is peaked around some mean ...
0
votes
1answer
425 views

How many photons does our sun emit in a second? [closed]

How many photons does our sun emit in a second? I would assume that given that the earth receives about 1350 W/m^2 from the sun there is some calculation involving the size of the sun (radius 696,000 ...

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