Questions tagged [photons]

The photon is the quantum of the electromagnetic four-potential, and therefore the massless bosonic particle associated with the electromagnetic force, commonly also called the "particle of light". Use this tag for questions about the quantum-mechanical understanding of light and/or electromagnetic interactions.

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When lasers are used to cool atoms or ions, etc where does the heat go?

According to the first law of thermodynamics, sourced from wikipedia "In any process in an isolated system, the total energy remains the same." So when lasers are used for cooling in traps, similar ...
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Anti-laser: How sure we are that energy is transported?

Reading this PE question can-we-transport-energy-over-infinite-distances-through-vacuum-using-light, a related question arises naturally: Is energy transported (by light)? -- (I did believed in this ...
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Does the potential energy for a given photon increase or decrease in quanta?

As a photon leaves a strong gravitational field, it loses energy and redshifts. Is the exchange in potential energy of a photon characterized by energy quanta?
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What happend with the light from all the galaxies visibles from an earth telescope?

Supposing it's possible to see some distant galaxies with an earth telescope, then, at the tip of the telescope lens there are photons comming from the distant galaxy... So, if I extend my hand in a ...
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Redshifted Photon Energy

A photon emitted from a receding source (Doppler redshift) has less energy when detected at an observer's location. Please explain the energy loss from the perspective of energy conservation.
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Radio waves and frequency of photon

Is 89MHZ station emitting photons of 89MHZ frequency? (I mean $\nu$ in $E=h\nu$).
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How to count photons

How are photons counted? What is the experimental setup used to count photons from a laser or even a lamp? Of course, in the case of the lamp, I would be able to count only the photons that pass ...
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Why can't massless particle exceed speed of light?

Why massless particle can't exceed speed of light?
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6answers
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Why can't photons have a mass?

Why can't photons have a mass? Could you explain this to me in a short and mathematical way?
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Reconciling refraction with particle theory and wave theory

I have searched the web for good answers to why refraction occurs when light moves from one medium to another with different density. I have limited background in physics and want to know if there is ...
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How can a photon have no mass and still travel at the speed of light?

I've read a number of the helpful Q&As on photons that mention the mass/mass-less issue. Do I understand correctly that the idea of mass-less (a rest mass of 0) may be just a convention to make ...
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1answer
287 views

Observing photons

Your replies to my question about being able to see a photon, from the side (answer, unanimous, “no”) have raised in me some additional questions. Would it reasonable to think that in consequence, ...
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Is Time Significant in the Double Slit Experiment

When doing the classic double slit experiment is the time between emitting photons significant at all? Say, a single photon is emitted, the scientist waits T seconds, then emits another photon. Are ...
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Is the force carrier of the magnetism in a common household magnet a photon?

As I have understood it, the Standard Model includes particles that carry the different forces, e.g. the electromagnetic (EM) force, the gravitational (G) force. When talking about EM fields such as ...
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movement of photons

In a typical photon experiment the photon is depicted as moving across the page, say from right to left. Suppose we were actually able to witness such an experiment, from the side (to position of ...
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Do mirrors increase the amount of light in a room?

So if you have a light bulb in a room, and you had a tool to measure the amount of light that's in the room, then let's assume the amount of light only caused by the bulb is "1" If you place a mirror ...
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Properties of the photon: Electric and Magnetic field components

Consider an electromagnetic wave of frequency $\nu$ interacting with a stationary charge placed at point $x$. My question concerns the consistency of two equally valid quantum-mechanical descriptions ...
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The exchange of photons gives rise to the electromagnetic force

Pardon me for my stubborn classical/semiclassical brain. But I bet I am not the only one finding such description confusing. If EM force is caused by the exchange of photons, does that mean only when ...
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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 ...
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1answer
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How does a photon travel through glass?

This was discussed in an answer to a related question but I think that it deserves a separate and, hopefully, more clear answer. Consider a single photon ($\lambda$=532 nm) traveling through a plate ...
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Do photons gain mass when they travel through glass?

Please correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe that photons slow down when travelling through glass. Does this mean they gain mass? Otherwise, what happens to extra kinetic energy? I understand now ...
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Scattering of light by light: experimental status

Scattering of light by light does not occur in the solutions of Maxwell's equations (since they are linear and EM waves obey superposition), but it is a prediction of QED (the most significant Feynman ...
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How many photons per second is one Lumen? [closed]

Also the side question is how many Joules is one photon (any between 450-660nm). Thank you P.S. I am asking because I want to estimate how much thermal energy should be dissipated by LED when part of ...
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What is up and down conversion in photonics?

I have heard the terms up and down conversion in photonics/photovoltaics articles. What do the terms mean?
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What is the mechanism behind the slowdown of light/photons in a transparent medium?

So light travels slower in glass (for example) than in a vacuum. What causes light to slow down? Or: How does it slow down? If light passes through the medium, is it not essentially traveling in the "...
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What equation describes the wavefunction of a single photon?

The Schrödinger equation describes the quantum mechanics of a single massive non-relativistic particle. The Dirac equation governs a single massive relativistic spin-½ particle. The photon is a ...
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How are forces “mediated”?

I hope this is the right word to use. To me, these forces seem kind of fanciful (except for General Relativity and Gravity, which have a geometric interpretation). For example, how do two charged ...
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How is squeezed light produced?

Ordinary laser light has equal uncertainty in phase and amplitude. When an otherwise perfect laser beam is incident onto a photodetector, the uncertainty in photon number will produce shot noise with ...