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Photon spin ? 
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#1
Jun3010, 11:05 PM

P: 2,468

My teacher said in class a while back that a photon can have a spin of 1 , 0 , 1 ,
Is this correct , And also it says on Wikipedia that photons and gluons and W and Z bosons can have 3 different possibilities for their spin angular momentum , obviously Wikipedia could be wrong http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stern%E...ach_experiment if you look in the Basic theory and description section on the wiki article about 80% the way down it had photons and W and Z bosons highlighted in blue and talks about their spin , I have not studied QM very much , 


#2
Jul110, 03:22 AM

Sci Advisor
P: 913

Your teacher is wrong :)
"Spin" s is an intrinsic property of a particle and has one value: 0,1/2,1,... However, the spin can be projected. For massive particles this gives 2s+1 different projections. For a spin1 particle this is thus 2s+1=2+1=3 different projections. However, the caveat here is ofcourse that photons are massless. Mathematically this erases one of the projections (degrees of freedom), and thus the photon has 2 projections. This corresponds to the experimental wellknown fact that photons have 2 different polarizations. For your W and Z bosons; these are massive, and as such do have 2s+1=3 polarizations. Hope this helps :) 


#3
Jul110, 09:18 AM

P: 2,468

thanks for the response , so the photons polarization depends on its spin projection ,



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