# EM Waves & Forces: Does a Particle Feel Force?

• VishalChauhan
In summary, the conversation discusses the possibility of an electromagnetic wave causing a charged particle to experience a force. The equation of motion may be complex in this scenario, but it is a common occurrence for EM waves to cause particle movement, as seen in radio antennas. It is confirmed that the EM field of light can accelerate charges, and even though photons are massless, they still have momentum and can impart force. The question is then raised about whether collisions with photons can cause a silicon atom to move, and it is acknowledged that a new topic should be started to explore this further.
VishalChauhan
Would a particle kept in the path of an electromagnetic wave experience a force?
Both magnetic and electric field are present, so the equation of motion may be complex, but i have never seen my textbook refer to the the possibility of an em wave causing a charged particle to move.

EM waves cause particles to move all the time. That's how a radio antenna works - the radio wave causes the electrons in the antenna to move, which produces a current, which is detected by the radio receiver.

1 person
So if a charged particle is kept in a ray of light, would it begin to accelerate?

I'm not sure what you mean by "kept in a ray of light", but yes, the EM field of light can accelerate charges.

Well of course a light wave can accelerate a charged particle, an EM wave has the M part in it, which would affect a charged particle.

What I've always wondered is, if you had, say, an atom of silicon floating in space and a stream of photons came flying at it, a few photons would hit the silicon atom. Would these collisions cause the silicon atom to move?

I know a photon is massless, so conservation of momentum says no, but it also has a lot of energy attached to it (doesn't it?) so from E=mc^2, shouldn't it be able to impart some force?

The photon has momentum even though it's massless. So there is no contradiction. Conservation of momentum does not say "no".

But I think you should start a new topic, as you bring a different question.

## 1. What are EM waves and forces?

EM (electromagnetic) waves and forces are a fundamental part of the electromagnetic spectrum. They are a type of energy that is created by the vibration of electric and magnetic fields, and they can travel through space at the speed of light. These waves are responsible for many everyday phenomena, such as radio waves, visible light, and X-rays.

## 2. How are EM waves and forces related?

EM waves and forces are closely related because they are both caused by the movement of electric and magnetic fields. EM forces are created when charged particles interact with these fields, resulting in the particle experiencing a force. This force can cause the particle to accelerate and move in a specific direction.

## 3. Can particles feel EM forces?

Yes, particles can feel EM forces. This is because particles with an electric charge can interact with electric and magnetic fields, resulting in the particle experiencing a force. This force can cause the particle to accelerate and move in a specific direction, similar to how a magnet can attract or repel another magnet.

## 4. Do all particles feel the same EM forces?

No, not all particles feel the same EM forces. The strength of the force depends on the charge and mass of the particle, as well as the strength of the electric and magnetic fields. For example, a tiny electron will experience a much stronger force than a larger proton due to its smaller mass.

## 5. How do EM waves and forces affect matter?

EM waves and forces can have various effects on matter. For example, they can cause objects to heat up, change color, or even become radioactive. They can also be used in technology, such as in communication devices like cell phones and radios. Additionally, EM forces play a crucial role in the structure and stability of atoms, which make up all matter.

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