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I Photon moving on a wave?

  1. Mar 23, 2017 #1
    Hi there,

    I was wondering what the relationship between the photon and the electromagnetic wave is? Is the photon traveling on that wave like a surfer is riding a wave? :-)

    Thanks in advance!
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 23, 2017 #2


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    Science Advisor

    No. Photons and the electromagnetic wave refer to the same phenomenon, but analyzed with different mechanics. You could say that the electromagnetic field is made up of photons, or the photons are quanta of the electromagnetic field. But these are just words that don't capture the intricacies of the math. Whenever an electromagnetic field interacts with something, it transfers a discrete amount of energy, angular momentum, and momentum. So we call a unit a photon.
  4. Mar 23, 2017 #3


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    Staff: Mentor

    No. Photons don't even have a meaningful position.

    Electromagnetic waves can be described with photons. It is an alternative description for the same thing. Sometimes waves are a more useful description, sometimes photons are more useful, sometimes both don't work and you have to use quantum electrodynamics, which combines both approaches.
  5. Mar 26, 2017 #4


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    Staff: Mentor

  6. Mar 29, 2017 #5
    Please read out here, I have found the best description for your question here:-
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