What do we mean whe we say that electrons absorb photons

What do we mean whe we say that electrons absorb photons.....is it that electrons store photons somewhere.....
 

chroot

Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
Gold Member
10,097
33
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
 
what do you think is the situation when electron are waves.....
 

chroot

Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
Gold Member
10,097
33
Quantum-mechanically, waves and particles are one and the same. What exactly do you mean?

- Warren
 

Tom Mattson

Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
Gold Member
5,453
21
Re: photons...

Originally posted by Stranger
What do we mean whe we say that electrons absorb photons.....is it that electrons store photons somewhere.....
Do you mean to say "atoms" instead of "electrons"? That would be the most likely thing, I think.
 
Quantum-mechanically, waves and particles are one and the same. What exactly do you mean?
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......
 

dav2008

Bubble-Pipe Squirrel
Gold Member
607
1
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*
 
D

damgo

Guest
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.
 
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.
 
...Maybe we havent even been able to describe it yet.
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....
 

dav2008

Bubble-Pipe Squirrel
Gold Member
607
1
Originally posted by Stranger
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....

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

The Physics Forums Way

We Value Quality
• Topics based on mainstream science
• Proper English grammar and spelling
We Value Civility
• Positive and compassionate attitudes
• Patience while debating
We Value Productivity
• Disciplined to remain on-topic
• Recognition of own weaknesses
• Solo and co-op problem solving
Top