I was wondering, how does a photon look like? What does it look like? I'm taking modern physics at the moment and I'm able to calculate lots of things quite well. Like DeBroglie wavelengths, I'm able to utilize the Schrodinger equation and the Heisenberg uncertainty principle and what not but I don't really have a good sense of visualizing some of the physics.(adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({});

What exactly are the topological or physical properties of a photon in terms of the space it occupies at a single instant for example? What 'shape' does it have? My understanding, correct me if I'm wrong, there two ways to see photons, classically as propagating waves determined by the poynting vector and described by Maxwell's equations or by quantum physics and Heisenberg uncertainty principle, DeBroglie wavelength etc. So in the classical view, is the photon the waves of the induced oscillating EM fields themselves?

To me, when visualizing it, it is simply energy that propagates in a given direction with oscillating EM waves. Does the oscillating energy stored in these field look like or take the form of the graph of traveling waves such as sin(kx-wt)? In the sense that the particle traces out the graph of a sine wave? Or is it just that the photon has oscillating magnetic and electric fields but the energy stored in these fields don't necessarily trace out such a graph. The graph is merely a representing the characteristic of the photon oscillating?

Furthermore, in the quantum view, which is the correct way to be think about it, we say a photon is a massless particle. But what does it look like? Does it even have a shape? Is the shape some kind of probability like the election cloud? All I have is this abstract interpretation of a photon solely described by symbols and math.

One way I think of it is this way: I'm not sure how many of you all have played the game "Halo" in that game there is this weapon called plasma rifle which shoots balls of energy. This is how I see them. Which would make sense when speaking of the work function for some metal when a photon strikes it's surface. But when I try to see it this way I am perplexed by what kind of size would this particle which we call photon have?

All photons are the same, what gives the different types of light we observed is because these photons have energies that oscillate at different frequencies, right? So this is what leads me to think about the photon in this way.

For example, in string theory you would imagine when first hearing about it is that these little 'strings' must be so asbtract but it turns out that they really are like such 'vibrating strings'

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# "Topological" properties of photons?

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