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Have photons been isolated?

  1. Feb 2, 2008 #1
    This is probably a stupid question, but I was wondering if scientists have been able to isolate a single photon. And if they have, have they run photons through particle accelerators to see what happens when they collide?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 3, 2008 #2

    mathman

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    Photns have been isolated - I hope someone can give a reference. Particle accelerators work on charged particles - photons have no charge.
     
  4. Feb 3, 2008 #3

    Cthugha

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    Isolating photons is a strange terminology.
    However, there are single photon sources, for example the one mentioned here (to read the full article, you might need a subscription).

    And as said before, putting photons in particle accelerators won't help much. In vacuum they are already moving at c. You won't be able to accelerate them.
    If you choose to collide 2 photons, nothing much happens. In the visible range, there will be no interactions unless you go to really high photon densities (like in extremely powerful lasers). In the high energy range, photons might behave differently, but there are people around here, who know more about high energy and particle physics than I do
     
  5. Feb 3, 2008 #4
    Photons can't "collisde." They can interfere, constructively or destructively, like a wave.
     
  6. Feb 4, 2008 #5

    Cthugha

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    Although the term collision might be unusual, there are sometimes higher order terms in Feynman graphs representing photon-photon scattering in high energy physics.
    These are not just simple results of interference.
     
  7. Feb 4, 2008 #6

    ZapperZ

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    The OP needs to explain what he/she means as "isolated". Or else, subsequent discussion on this is meaningless.

    Zz.
     
  8. Feb 4, 2008 #7
    may be he/she is talking about modes of the universe, where all EM field is understood as one only object.
     
  9. Feb 4, 2008 #8
    By isolated, I meant, have scientists ever made a laser that could shoot out just one photon at a time.
     
  10. Feb 4, 2008 #9

    ZapperZ

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    Then read the link given earlier in this thread about single-photon sources. This means that based on your explanation, the answer is YES.

    Zz.
     
  11. Feb 4, 2008 #10

    berkeman

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