1. Limited time only! Sign up for a free 30min personal tutor trial with Chegg Tutors
    Dismiss Notice
Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

What are photons made off?

  1. Feb 12, 2012 #1
    what are photons made off??

    this might be a stupid question but
    lets take a proton or a neutron these
    "elementary" particles are made up of quarks,
    does photons in its particle state follow the same pattern??
    if yes then what constitutes into a photon??

    thanks
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 12, 2012 #2

    jtbell

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    Re: what are photons made off??

    In the Standard Model, photons are elementary particles, i.e. not composed of other particles.
     
  4. Feb 12, 2012 #3

    Redbelly98

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    Re: what are photons made off??

    Moreover, protons and neutrons are not considered elementary particles in the standard model.
     
  5. Feb 16, 2012 #4
    Re: what are photons made off??

    A photon is the quanta, the local 'particle' character, of a wave......[electromagnetic radiation, like light] ...hence it is composed of energy.

    More here:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Photon
     
  6. Feb 18, 2012 #5
    Re: what are photons made off??

    But a photon has spin. So how can it be a wave?
     
  7. Feb 18, 2012 #6
    Re: what are photons made off??

    The photon is not a wave, it does however appear to act LIKE a wave in many circumstances due to the uncertainty in the movement of elementary particles
     
  8. Feb 18, 2012 #7
    Re: what are photons made off??

    Photon is not a wave it is a particle.
     
  9. Feb 18, 2012 #8

    HallsofIvy

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor

    Re: what are photons made off??

    Naty1 did NOT say a photon was a wave. He said it was a quantum of an electromagnetic wave.
     
  10. Feb 18, 2012 #9
    Re: what are photons made off??

    A photon can be sometimes considered the quanta of electromagnetic field. «Field» is not synonym for «wave»: both are different physical concepts.
     
  11. Feb 18, 2012 #10
    Re: what are photons made off??

    in my prior post, 'field' IS better than 'wave',,,,,I meant to draw no distinction here.

    "what constitutes [into] a photon??"

    What 'constitutes' any particle is it's measured/observed behaviors.....We create models to replicate those.
    So we can observe, describe, and model other characteristics of photons as well but those descriptions depend on what models we use....different model behaviors can manifest as 'spin' for example. What's 'really' there is
    anybody's guess unless we can smash something apart and look at the constituents...[which still seems like an odd approach, but it works. Like taking a car apart to see how its made by beating it!!!]

    from the link I posted:

    That's a mathematical statement.

    Meantime, string theory, another theory, also describes photon characteristics but I don't know enough about the math to divine exactly how [or if] AdS/CFT precisely relates string theory to gauge theory strictly enough to make direct characteristic 'spin' comparisons....

    Seems that things like spin pop out of mathematical models and clever physicsts exclaim "Oh that looks just like 'spin'...and so it is....but it takes a lot of work to compare the origins of such different mathematical model outcomes....
     
  12. Feb 18, 2012 #11
    Re: what are photons made off??

    A "photon" (that we perceive as a "particle) is generated by a change in the energy state of an electron. As the electron moves from a high energy state to a low energy state the energy that is lost by the electron is the "photon". It is a state of energy, mass without matter, how can it be a particle without matter?

    Paul
     
  13. Feb 19, 2012 #12

    Drakkith

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    Re: what are photons made off??

    A photon is just as much of a particle as an Electron is EXCEPT that it has no invariant mass. (Commonly known as "rest mass") Both photons and electrons have particle-like and wave-like properties, as the commonly performed Double-Slit experiment will show with either one. There is nothing that says a particle MUST be matter.
     
  14. Feb 20, 2012 #13
    Re: what are photons made off??

    Where does the photon get its matter? The electron has none to provide and preserve its existence yet the change in energy state is all that is required to make the photon.

    We perceive the effects of what we don't understand and make them understandable by expanding the improbable. Hiding behind the multiple definitions only delays the truer understanding of the reality of the universe.

    Photons only "behave" like particles and waves depending on the perceptions of the tests to which we subject them.

    Paul
     
  15. Feb 20, 2012 #14

    Nabeshin

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

    Re: what are photons made off??

    I hope you realize that photons are generated by more than electronic transitions.

    You keep using the word 'matter', but I don't really know what you mean by it. I'd define matter as 'stuff made of hadrons and leptons', but apparently you seem to disagree. What exactly is this 'matterness' that you seem to think the photon has that is confusing you?
     
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2012
  16. Feb 20, 2012 #15

    Drakkith

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    Re: what are photons made off??

    Matter is typically defined as objects that have mass. A photon does not and isn't matter. In fact, the matter isn't "something" in and of itself, it is merely a way to classify things. Similarly a proton is a Hadron and an Electron is a Lepton. Photons are Bosons, a type of subatomic particle that has spin 0. Leptons, Quarks, and Bosons are the 3 types of fundamental particles that everything else is made up of. Matter is simply another type of classification.

    Nonsense. You simply don't know the differences in the terms that are used. And there is no "truer" understanding of reality other than science.

    No, they act like both a particle and a wave all the time.(Edit: Rather they act like waves and particles whenever appropriate, irregardless of whether or not we are observing them) We can see the wave-like part of them when we look correctly, and we pretty much always see the particle-like part when we interact with them during a measurement.
     
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2012
  17. Feb 21, 2012 #16
    Re: what are photons made off??

    If it walks like a duck, and talks like a duck, then (surely) it is a duck?!
     
  18. Feb 21, 2012 #17
    Re: what are photons made off??

    The OED defines quantum to mean an "amount; share; portion" of something. A portion of cake is ..er.. cake. So how can a quantum of an electromagnetic wave not be an electromagnetic wave?
     
  19. Feb 21, 2012 #18
    Re: what are photons made off??

    So we can't say what photons are made of? We can't even say if they are particles or waves or strings?
     
  20. Feb 21, 2012 #19
    Re: what are photons made off??

    How do you know that? How *can* you know that? You certainly can't observe them all the time, without the observation interfering with them...
     
  21. Feb 21, 2012 #20

    Drakkith

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    Re: what are photons made off??

    Nope. We can't 100% know this. However I don't believe the universe works one way when we observe something and another way when things interact without us to observe them.
     
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook




Similar Discussions: What are photons made off?
Loading...