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Electromagnetic Confusion

  1. Nov 5, 2005 #1

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    Please help clear some confusion of mine.
    Assuming that light is just an electromagnetic loop (correct me if i'm wrong :tongue2: ), where a changing electric field induces a magnetic field and vice-versa, by what process then is a photon generated?
    I was thinking that since photons are emitted whenever an electron jumps to a lower energy orbit, that this jump probably initiates this loop which seems reasonable, seeing as the jump might create a small magnetic field (?), but how does it come to enter a loop?
     
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  3. Nov 6, 2005 #2

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    In order to make you see the difficulty in trying to answer the question, let us rephrase it in another context, namely that of the non-relativistic quantum description of the hydrogen atom. Your question is then: Assuming that the hydrogen atom is described by a wavefunction (the equivalent here, of your E and B field), by what process then is an electron generated ?

    In other words, the classical EM field is, in a certain respect, nothing else but the quantum description of a photon. (in reality, the issue is a bit more subtle).
     
  4. Nov 6, 2005 #3

    Does this mean that photons have a magnetic charge? or, does it mean that photons are more or less the magnetic charge themselves?

    Of course, the answer's probably neither. :eek:
     
  5. Nov 6, 2005 #4

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    From what i've learned photons are alternating magnetic and electric fields. I find this to be a pretty cool model. I just can't understand how this is carried out. A changing magnetic field creates an electric field, and a changing electric field creates a magnetic field, but if i move a magnet around it doesn't generate any photons, (i know it sounds ridiculous :smile: ) but the magnetic-to-electric portion of this loop must be carried out somehow, how does the magnetic component of a photon produce its electric component? And why doesn't it end there, why does this enter a loop? Are there any diagrams i can look at? i'm confused.
     
  6. Nov 6, 2005 #5
    Are u refering to propagating EM wave? If so, then this requires accelerating charges, which have matured models in classical EM theory.

    The QM picture of photon emission are usually done using perturbative approach. See "Physics of atoms and molecules" by Bransden.
     
  7. Nov 6, 2005 #6
    "if i move a magnet around it doesn't generate any photons, (i know it sounds ridiculous ) but the magnetic-to-electric portion of this loop must be carried out somehow, how does the magnetic component of a photon produce its electric component?"

    Hmm thats a good question. If I had to guess, I'd say that in truth there is no difference between the magnetic-to-electric loop and the electric-to-magnetic loop: like a nickel with a heads and a tails flying through the air. The same impetus which causes a photon to carry electrical charges probably acts equally on a photon's magnetic properties, as they are two sides of the same coin - sorry bout the pun. I think electricity and magnetism are interchangeable, so there might be no need for two different paths.
     
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