Changing photon direction

  • Thread starter Tauneu
  • Start date
  • #1
4
0

Main Question or Discussion Point

Is there a process that can artificially change the direction of photons?
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
phinds
Science Advisor
Insights Author
Gold Member
2019 Award
15,941
5,660
Is there a process that can artificially change the direction of photons?
Yes, it's called a mirror :smile:
 
  • #3
berkeman
Mentor
56,920
6,887
Is there a process that can artificially change the direction of photons?
Welcome to the PF. :smile:

Do you mean like reflection off of a mirror? Or refraction at the interface between two dielectrics? Or diffraction at the edge of an object? Or gravitational lensing?

What do you mean by "artificial" versus natural?
 
  • #4
4
0
I should have remembered to add that I meant very high energy photons.
 
  • #5
291
160
not sure what do you mean by artificially, but I am sure you heard about reflection, refraction or scattering.
 
  • #6
berkeman
Mentor
56,920
6,887

Attachments

  • #7
4
0
Very interesting. What about gamma radiation from reactor accidents? If some device could be flown into the area quickly enough, could this be redirected? I guess the next question if it were possible to redirect gamma radiation, where would it ultimately be moved to, higher in the atmosphere, probably not a good idea, if this whole scenario seems far-fetched, maybe take it a step further and redirect all this gamma radiation into space...
 
  • #8
Drakkith
Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
20,748
4,464
You can redirect gamma rays using methods similar to x-rays, but it's probably easier to just absorb them with shielding. But it doesn't actually matter much in the case of nuclear reactors as the main danger by far is the release of radioactive fallout, not the release of gamma rays. The atmosphere will absorb most gamma rays anyways.

Also realize that you need to physically intercept gamma rays just like you have to put a physical object (mirror or lens) in the path of visible light in order to reflect or refract it. So unless you device physically surrounds the source then it's useless.
 
  • #9
4
0
I was thinking such a device could be hovered above the leaking source, of course it would be quite large, maybe like a funnel, conical a/o cylinder pointed downwards above it, the interior of the casing made of... I'll look it up, to absorb the gamma rays. Would there be no need to have some process, some type of scattering or conversion, to try and maneuver the rays into it, the device would have to cover the source completely?
Thank you everyone for answering.
 
Last edited:
  • #10
phinds
Science Advisor
Insights Author
Gold Member
2019 Award
15,941
5,660
Would there be no need to have some process, some type of scattering or conversion, to try and maneuver the rays into it, the device would have to cover the source completely?
Drakkith just answered that already. Reread post #8
 
  • #11
Drakkith
Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
20,748
4,464
Would there be no need to have some process, some type of scattering or conversion, to try and maneuver the rays into it, the device would have to cover the source completely?
The problem is that you wouldn't be able to funnel the gamma rays into your device in the first place. Gamma ray telescopes have to use long concentric cylinders of metal in order to focus the incoming gamma rays. The angle of incidence has to be very shallow otherwise the gamma rays simply pass right through or get absorbed. This makes it extremely impractical as a method of channeling gamma rays away from a location and towards another. Your device would be absolutely massive and you'd still absorb a significant portion. You're far better off just piling up a bunch of lead or some other material that readily absorbs gamma rays.
 
Top