Particle theory of light

  1. If light is a particle then it should definitely make sonic booms.but i did not find them even by keeping my er on light.ok light value is high but even if these guys did mistake in calculations then also it is definitely greater 1000km/hr but i would not happen.even for x-rays holds ssame.and protons,electrons,neutrons.
  2. jcsd
  3. Matterwave

    Matterwave 3,865
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member


    Sonic booms?
  4. K^2

    K^2 2,470
    Science Advisor

    ... He thinks individual photons traveling through air should generate sonic booms because speed of light is greater than speed of sound.

    I don't think any particle beam would generate a sonic boom traveling through air at supersonic speeds. Seems to me like you need a fairly massive object for that. But I could be off.

    In any case, light interacts with air as a wave. Keep in mind that all particles exhibit duality. They have wave-like properties and particle-like properties. Nothing is strictly one or the other. But different interactions can result in one or the other manifesting strongly. Wavelength of visible light being greater than size of molecules in air, and even greater than average distance between molecules, light will interact with air as a wave. Therefore, there are no particle-like collisions between photons and air molecules.

    At sufficiently high energies, such as these of gamma radiation, photons will begin interacting with air in a more particle-like manner.
  5. Thanks i did not knew that thing i thought light is both a particle and wave.
  6. mfb

    Staff: Mentor

    That is true.

    High-energetic charged particles in matter can produce the electromagnetic equivalent to a sonic boom: Cherenkov radiation
    But that requires charged and very quick particles, light does not work.
  7. ZapperZ

    ZapperZ 30,731
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Education Advisor

    Actually, it may be neither.

    You should start by reading the FAQ subforum in the General Physics forum, and in particular, this entry:

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