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Photons and lightwaves

by Manraj singh
Tags: lightwaves, photons
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Manraj singh
Feb18-14, 11:23 AM
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P: 65
I have been wondering, how do photons make up light? Are they particles that travel in transverse waves? Or do they travel in longitudinal waves? Or do they travel in waves at all?
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Feb18-14, 11:58 AM
PF Gold
adjacent's Avatar
P: 1,488
See this:Is light a wave or a particle?

Also this: Light.You can see what you are looking for near the end of the article.
Feb18-14, 04:13 PM
P: 9
Photons are particles of light that have wave like properties, in some ways like the electron. Photons are mass-less particles that have a certain amount of energy (dependent on what frequency of light it is), and can interact via collisions with atoms etc and transfer this energy just like a particle. However, the photons can also diffract around obstacles (only not noticeably for humans as their wavelengths are so small), just like a wave. At first this idea may seem bizarre yet I would suggest taking a look at the photoelectric effect on you tube or asking a teacher to show you as I it answers a lot of questions.
Hope this helped :)

Feb18-14, 04:15 PM
P: 9
Photons and lightwaves

sorry i meant to say 'i find that this answers a lot of questions'*
Feb18-14, 04:58 PM
Drakkith's Avatar
P: 11,827
First, forget everything you've ever heard about photons. It's misleading.

Consider the view that light is an electromagnetic wave. This view describes 99.9% of all properties you will ever encounter with light, including diffraction, refraction, and reflection. It is only when you look into how light interacts with matter that the "particle" properties come into play.

It turns out that EM waves only interacts with matter in specific amounts of energy at a time, an amount that depends on the frequency of the wave. The higher the frequency the higher the energy that the wave interacts with. This "packet" of energy is what we call a photon. This is different than the situation in a classical wave, in which energy is transferred continuously, not in packets.

So no, the photons are not traveling in waves. They are merely the way an EM wave interacts with matter. It is the EM wave itself that is doing all the moving and traveling and oscillating.
Manraj singh
Feb19-14, 12:01 AM
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P: 65
Thank you for the answers.

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