Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Photons and interference

  1. Nov 22, 2007 #1
    I have a question which maybe shows that I'm not trained in physics. I hope someone will answer anyway.

    When a single photon in a doubble slit experiment is shown to interfere with itself is there then any need to talk about photons interfering with each other. Could all interfernce of light not then be explained as photons interfering with themselves and not with each other?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 22, 2007 #2

    ZapperZ

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Education Advisor

    Er... all of the "standard" interference pattern that we are familiar with are all single-particle interference. This can be from photons, electrons, protons, neutrons, etc... 2-particle interference almost never occurs. So even if you do this with a steady stream of particles (or light), the effect you see is the result of each individual particle's interference.

    Zz.
     
  4. Nov 22, 2007 #3
    Thanks. That was great to get cleared up. Now a follow up question then: Interference of light always happens as it interacts with particles right? So can the interference be understood as a result of energy from one photon being absorbed by a multiple particles and sent off again?
     
  5. Nov 22, 2007 #4

    ZapperZ

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Education Advisor

    No. You will have a tough time convincing anyone that you can preserve coherence after such multiple events. We have seen evidence that a single-particle system can lose coherence with just ONE interaction.

    So why are we pursuing this avenue when there is a well-formulated description of quantum interference? What's wrong with the standard description?

    Zz.
     
  6. Nov 22, 2007 #5
    I guess the sorry answer is that I need to look into that description of quantum interference. Thank you for your help :-)
     
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Have something to add?



Similar Discussions: Photons and interference
  1. Photon interference (Replies: 3)

Loading...