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What do we mean whe we say that electrons absorb photons

  1. Apr 15, 2003 #1
    What do we mean whe we say that electrons absorb photons.....is it that electrons store photons somewhere.....
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 15, 2003 #2

    chroot

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    No, electrons don't store photons.

    Essentially, the interaction obeys this rule:

    Electron with energy E1 + photon with energy E2 --> electron with energy (E1 + E2).

    The photon is destroyed in the process. The electron does not 'store' the photon itself, but it does take on the photon's energy.

    - Warren
     
  4. Apr 15, 2003 #3
    what do you think is the situation when electron are waves.....
     
  5. Apr 15, 2003 #4

    chroot

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    Quantum-mechanically, waves and particles are one and the same. What exactly do you mean?

    - Warren
     
  6. Apr 15, 2003 #5

    Tom Mattson

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    Re: photons...

    Do you mean to say "atoms" instead of "electrons"? That would be the most likely thing, I think.
     
  7. Apr 15, 2003 #6
    Is it that when photons (when considered as particles) are absorbed by electron...then the electrons should be described a particle.....and that when photons are considered as waves the electron, absorbing it is also wave......my question was can we consider electrons as waves while considering the photon, that the electron absorbs, as particles.....how would you describe a wave absorbing a particle......
     
  8. Apr 15, 2003 #7

    dav2008

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    You describe a wave/particle absorbing a wave/particle

    deBroigles wavelength..It equals Plancks Constant divided by a particles momentum..

    Hm..I dont know the detailed physics behind the actual transfer of energy...Maybe we havent even been able to describe it yet...*shrug*
     
  9. Apr 16, 2003 #8
    With great difficulty. Because photons are being destroyed, regular quantum mechanics won't work, and you have to use quantum field theory to do it properly. Dirac was the first person to work it out in a famous paper around the middle of the century.
     
  10. Apr 16, 2003 #9
    As far as I can remember from my quantum mechanics classes to properly describe it you need to do things like qunatise the radiation field and use destruction and creation operators. It's fairly standard in quantum field theory I think. Probably the best way of looking at this particle wave thing is to realise that both descriptions are correct at the same time. Essentially though when you deal with this stuff you just end up using the wave-functions to do the hard number crunching.
     
  11. Apr 18, 2003 #10
    So do you mean that it has not yet been found out...what the electrons are like......I know that they are like particles as well as like waves....
     
  12. Apr 18, 2003 #11

    dav2008

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    No, I meant that I didnt know whether or not we are able to describe what actually happens during photon interactions
     
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