I'm trying to differentiate the wave-particle duality of light-photons in order to understand what exactly distinguishes a single photon of light. I'm looking for a simplified, I'll even take an oversimplified, definition. I reviewd the wiki pages on photons/polarization, etc. and it's a morass of terms and equations that isn't helping me. I guess, conceptually I'm wondering if a single photon is composed of a single oscillation in the EM field propogating at c. Is it a short series of oscillations? Is it something of a traveling "wave packet" that has a central peak that decays symmetrically, or is something else?(adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({});

Also, I know a photon has zero resting mass and spin 1, but how could one visualize one traveling through space? A little squiggling sideways S? A wavefront like so, ")"? An ellipse like a photon torpedo from Star Trek? I guess my challenge is to try to describe and define it while eschewing an avisual desciption of it in leiu of equations. Anyone?

**Physics Forums | Science Articles, Homework Help, Discussion**

Join Physics Forums Today!

The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

# Photon torpedo

**Physics Forums | Science Articles, Homework Help, Discussion**