Compressing Light

  • #1
15
1

Summary:

What happens when light doesn't have the space to complete a cycle?

Main Question or Discussion Point

Hi there


Let’s consider a photon of wavelength λ is being reflected across of gap d meters. The photon is a reflected back and forth between the same points on two horizontal sheets that reflect 100% of the light. What happens when the distance is smaller than wavelength?

Thanks
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
PeroK
Science Advisor
Homework Helper
Insights Author
Gold Member
13,356
5,906
Summary:: What happens when light doesn't have the space to complete a cycle?

Hi there


Let’s consider a photon of wavelength λ is being reflected across of gap d meters. The photon is a reflected back and forth between the same points on two horizontal sheets that reflect 100% of the light. What happens when the distance is smaller than wavelength?

Thanks
Radio waves have a long wavelength. Nothing special happens when they get reflected.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radio_wave
 
  • Like
Likes Cryo
  • #3
PeterDonis
Mentor
Insights Author
2019 Award
29,591
8,883
What happens when the distance is smaller than wavelength?
It can't be. What you are describing is cavity radiation. The size of the cavity restricts the possible wavelengths of the radiation inside it.
 
  • Like
Likes DrClaude
  • #4
PeterDonis
Mentor
Insights Author
2019 Award
29,591
8,883
Radio waves have a long wavelength. Nothing special happens when they get reflected.
Reflection off a single reflector is not what the OP is describing. He is describing what amounts to cavity radiation. There are restrictions on the wavelength of cavity radiation.
 
  • #5
Cryo
Gold Member
173
73
It can't be. What you are describing is cavity radiation. The size of the cavity restricts the possible wavelengths of the radiation inside it.
I guess it depends on how pedantic you want to be. You will have no propagting modes in a waveguide that is too 'narrow'. But non-propagating solutions can exist. Parallel-plate capacitor deep in quasistatic regime is an example that comes to mind.
 

Related Threads on Compressing Light

Replies
1
Views
597
  • Last Post
Replies
1
Views
2K
  • Last Post
Replies
2
Views
527
  • Last Post
Replies
4
Views
1K
  • Last Post
Replies
16
Views
5K
Replies
4
Views
1K
Replies
3
Views
588
  • Last Post
Replies
6
Views
3K
  • Last Post
Replies
13
Views
6K
Replies
1
Views
581
Top