# Exploring Photons and Lightwaves: Particles or Waves?

• Manraj singh
In summary, photons are particles of light that behave like waves due to their electromagnetic nature. They interact with matter in specific packets of energy, unlike classical waves which transfer energy continuously. The terms "particle" and "wave" can be misleading when describing photons, as they are not literal particles or waves, but rather the way an electromagnetic wave interacts with matter.
Manraj singh
I have been wondering, how do photons make up light? Are they particles that travel in transverse waves? Or do they travel in longitudinal waves? Or do they travel in waves at all?

Photons are particles of light that have wave like properties, in some ways like the electron. Photons are mass-less particles that have a certain amount of energy (dependent on what frequency of light it is), and can interact via collisions with atoms etc and transfer this energy just like a particle. However, the photons can also diffract around obstacles (only not noticeably for humans as their wavelengths are so small), just like a wave. At first this idea may seem bizarre yet I would suggest taking a look at the photoelectric effect on you tube or asking a teacher to show you as I it answers a lot of questions.
Hope this helped :)

sorry i meant to say 'i find that this answers a lot of questions'*

Consider the view that light is an electromagnetic wave. This view describes 99.9% of all properties you will ever encounter with light, including diffraction, refraction, and reflection. It is only when you look into how light interacts with matter that the "particle" properties come into play.

It turns out that EM waves only interacts with matter in specific amounts of energy at a time, an amount that depends on the frequency of the wave. The higher the frequency the higher the energy that the wave interacts with. This "packet" of energy is what we call a photon. This is different than the situation in a classical wave, in which energy is transferred continuously, not in packets.

So no, the photons are not traveling in waves. They are merely the way an EM wave interacts with matter. It is the EM wave itself that is doing all the moving and traveling and oscillating.

Drakkith said:

Consider the view that light is an electromagnetic wave. This view describes 99.9% of all properties you will ever encounter with light, including diffraction, refraction, and reflection. It is only when you look into how light interacts with matter that the "particle" properties come into play.

It turns out that EM waves only interacts with matter in specific amounts of energy at a time, an amount that depends on the frequency of the wave. The higher the frequency the higher the energy that the wave interacts with. This "packet" of energy is what we call a photon. This is different than the situation in a classical wave, in which energy is transferred continuously, not in packets.

So no, the photons are not traveling in waves. They are merely the way an EM wave interacts with matter. It is the EM wave itself that is doing all the moving and traveling and oscillating.

+1

Also, the word 'particle' that is often used to describe a photon is very very misleading to the uninitiated because of all the connotations of that word. You have to make a huge effort and not think of photons as little bullets - especially not 'wiggling bullets'.

sophiecentaur said:
You have to make a huge effort and not think of photons as little bullets - especially not 'wiggling bullets'.
Nor electromagnetic field is like this.

Relativity shows that the division between electric field and magnetic field is artificial. in the 4D formalism appears only an electromagnetic field without division. Electric field and magnetic field depends in the selection of frame of reference.

Patrick

## 1. What are photons and lightwaves?

Photons are tiny particles of energy that make up electromagnetic waves, including visible light. Lightwaves are a form of electromagnetic radiation that travels in a wave-like manner at the speed of light.

## 2. Are photons particles or waves?

Photons exhibit properties of both particles and waves. They behave like particles in that they have a discrete amount of energy and can interact with matter, but they also exhibit wave-like properties such as diffraction and interference.

## 3. How are photons and lightwaves related?

Photons are the fundamental particles that make up lightwaves. Lightwaves are made up of a stream of photons that travel together in a wave-like pattern.

## 4. Can photons and lightwaves be measured?

Yes, photons and lightwaves can be measured using various instruments such as spectrometers or photometers. These instruments can detect the energy and wavelength of photons, as well as the intensity and frequency of lightwaves.

## 5. What is the significance of studying photons and lightwaves?

Understanding photons and lightwaves is crucial in fields such as optics, telecommunications, and quantum mechanics. It also allows us to better understand the nature of light and how it interacts with matter, leading to advancements in technology and scientific discoveries.

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