Relationship between light and sound

  1. Does light energy(waves) affect sound waves...? i read in one post that light affects sound indirectly.If yes how do we relate and calculate that..?
  2. jcsd
  3. Bobbywhy

    Bobbywhy 1,864
    Gold Member

    Hi kalkish! Welcome here to Physics Forums.

    At first sight I'd say, No, lightwaves do not affect sound waves. But just be sure, can you please explain in more detail or post the reference you used? There may be more science (physics) underlying this.

    Cheers, Bobbywhy
  4. I'd say no, but the opposite is certainly true - sound waves will affect light, especially if the sound is extremely loud, as in the shockwave from an explotion. The increased density of air at the wavefront will change the index of refraction, causing optical distortion.
  5. The only way to be sure is to devise an experiment, I didn't see any of the other posters citing a reference to their answers so would consider them more of a personal opinion at this point. But that is just me, perhaps they will cite reference(s) after reading my post (idk).

    I would recommend using a combination of these resources:
    1. tool(s) to measure sound intensity
    2. various levels of sound/notes to test
    3. various light intensities to test

  6. Hello,

    What is the meaning of light energy affect the sound ?

    In this experiment "Tesla Coil Control With XBOX Kinect" we could say that there is a relationship between light and sound.

    Originally, a Tesla coil does not generate notes. Sound is a wave that reaches the ears by vibrating air. By extension, anything that can vibrating the air is likely to create the sound. For example, a loudspeaker is a transducer that changes an electrical vibration intensity by a magnet fixed to a membrane.

    Electrical arcs generated by Tesla coil vibrating the air, like the diaphragm of a speaker.

  7. jtbell

    Staff: Mentor

    Which post? Can you give us a link? Then we can comment on the specific phenomenon that the post is talking about, instead of trying to guess what it is.
  8. If the medium through which the sound is traveling is not transparent then light would heat the medium, changing its acoustic properties.
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