- #1

- 1,434

- 2

## Main Question or Discussion Point

Hello, this is a first year undergraduate student speaking, thanks for taking the time:

With which I mean: an infinite mathematical line with for each point an E and B-vector defined varying sinusoidally. In other words, would there be any physical laws I'm breaking by saying there's only "one wave"? (Is there a need of an infinite multiplicity to make sense?)

Obviously an EM wave is a mathematical idealization, correct? A photon is not periodical. Is "one EM wave" a continuum of an infinite amount of photons on one line? Am I far off? Is this is a crazy analogy? Is it acceptable? If the two are not connectable: is there a mathematical description of a photon; is it similar to that of a linear EM wave?

This implies a spherical wavefront is not just a sum an infinite amount of linear waves originating from one point outward. Intuitively that

I hope I was clear. I welcome all replies,

mr. vodka

**1) Is it unphysical (in a perfect realm, etc) to say "one EM wave"?**With which I mean: an infinite mathematical line with for each point an E and B-vector defined varying sinusoidally. In other words, would there be any physical laws I'm breaking by saying there's only "one wave"? (Is there a need of an infinite multiplicity to make sense?)

**2) How do I relate an EM wave with a photon?**Obviously an EM wave is a mathematical idealization, correct? A photon is not periodical. Is "one EM wave" a continuum of an infinite amount of photons on one line? Am I far off? Is this is a crazy analogy? Is it acceptable? If the two are not connectable: is there a mathematical description of a photon; is it similar to that of a linear EM wave?

**3) The (average) intensity (= average Poynting vector) of (one) linear wave is constant, that of a spherical wavefront is not.**This implies a spherical wavefront is not just a sum an infinite amount of linear waves originating from one point outward. Intuitively that

*is*how I imagine it. Maybe that is because I'm secretly thinking about photons flying from a point source. If you want to describe the waves from a spherical point source, you have to start from scratch? Just like a plane wave is an infinite sum of linear waves, is a spherical wavefront a sum of something? What is one such element, if so?I hope I was clear. I welcome all replies,

mr. vodka