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Stern–Gerlach experiment with photons?

  1. Mar 29, 2010 #1
    If we did this experiment with photons , the photon can have a spin of 1, 0 , -1 ,
    right , so then we would expect to see 3 paths correct .
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 29, 2010 #2
    No, because photons are unaffected by gradient of magnetic field. I believe we discussed this three weeks ago. See:


    There is a difference between spin and magnetic dipole moment.
  4. Mar 29, 2010 #3
    ok i see , thanks for the answer. Then why are neutrons affected by the magnetic field
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2010
  5. Mar 29, 2010 #4
    They have magnetic dipole moment. Reason this is so is neutron is composite particle made of three charged quarks.
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2010
  6. Mar 29, 2010 #5
    And, just to be clear - photons always have spin 1. They can have different projections of spin 1 and -1. If it was ordinary particle, it would also have 0 projection, but it doesn't. Long story short: lack of rest mass removes that state. If photons had 0 projection state, that would be seen as longitudinal polarized light.
  7. Mar 29, 2010 #6
    If you replace the Stern-Gerlach apparatus with a calcite crystal then you can do the analogous experiment with photons.
  8. Mar 29, 2010 #7
    Fair enough, but what would be the point? With AgBr (or some other silver) -> Silver Halide you're exploring the photographic process. With photons you'd be doing some kind of bastardized version of better experimental apparatus'.
  9. Mar 29, 2010 #8
    I thought that the original post had to do with doing the
    Stern-Gerlach experiment with photons. As pointed out, we cannot do the Stern-Gerlach experiment with photons. I am only pointing out that, just as Stern-Gerlach magnets are used to measure spin, Calcite crystals can be used to measure polarization. As you know, spin 1/2 particles have two eigenvalues, as does polarization. The Stern-Gerlach (Calcite crystal) experiment has two output channels, one for each possible value the spin (polarization). The physics of the two experiments is almost identical. If you understand one, then you understand the other. That's all I was trying to say!
    Best wishes
  10. Mar 29, 2010 #9
    Hence the "fair enough" that preceeded everything I said. I take your point.
  11. Mar 29, 2010 #10
    ok so if we did this experiment with neutrons , then would we see two different paths for the neutrons , and would the neutrons deflect because of their spin or because of their magnetic moment .
    And if we did this expirment with neutrinos what would we excpect to see , Neutrino's are neutral in charge but have a spin of 1/2
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2010
  12. Mar 30, 2010 #11
    WRONG>They would behave as a silver atom would, determined by their dipole moment, not their spin.<WRONG

    EDIT: Ok... that's true for neutrons, which is what I read in the first sentence, then apparantly ran with it an ignored that you were talking about neutrinos. The spin really should have given it away... sorry!
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2010
  13. Mar 30, 2010 #12
    so a neutrino with no charge has a dipole moment , what gives it a dipole moment
  14. Mar 30, 2010 #13
    EDIT: Sorry, tired... I forget we're talking about a neutrino, not a neutron; In my post #11 I was thinking "neutron".

    Here is the answer to your question about neutrinos: http://www.fnal.gov/pub/inquiring/questions/neutrinospin.html

    So, yes, their spin can be determined, but they have no magnetic dipole moment, but maybe a gravitoelectric one. and would fly past the apparatus as they would pass through the Earth.

    Truly sorry, I shouldn't comment when tired... I tend to miss things like "-ino" at the end of "neutron" and I probably could have spared you confusion.
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2010
  15. Mar 30, 2010 #14
    But the neutrino has no subparticles
  16. Mar 30, 2010 #15
    Yeah, I'm in EST (Eastern Standard time aka GMT -5:00) so... yeah, I was just being stupid and sleepy. Sorry crager.
  17. Mar 30, 2010 #16
    i see , thanks for your answers .
  18. Mar 30, 2010 #17
    Yeah, pity I couldn't have just made it an "answer" (singular) and not contradictory ones relating to completely different particles!

    Thanks for letting me off easy. :wink:
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