White light and how it works

  • Thread starter Johnahh
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Main Question or Discussion Point

I have been thinking about white light and having some trouble visualising how it actually works. I am aware that white light is made up from all the colours of the visible spectrum, my question is how does the light travel together in wave and photon form?

my only thoughts so far are that photons travel in a "packet" as it were all hitting they eye at the same time creating white light, this may be very far off the mark as I do not know much about light at the moment but it is bothering me.

If anyone could give some insight or suggest a good book to explain I would be very appreciative.

Thanks
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
Drakkith
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We perceive white light when all 3 cone cells in our eyes are activated approximately equally. All the different wavelengths travel the same whether they are in a beam of white light or by themselves. They do not travel together, each photon interacts independently of the others.
 
  • #3
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Drakkith, so photons from each wavelength hit the eye at roughly the same time making white light, I believe I nearly had the answer just I thought they travelled as a collective. Thank you drakkith
 
  • #4
Drakkith
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Drakkith, so photons from each wavelength hit the eye at roughly the same time making white light, I believe I nearly had the answer just I thought they travelled as a collective. Thank you drakkith
Exactly!
 
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  • #6
Khashishi
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Well, there's no such thing as a white photon. White light is just a mix of many overlapping colors. There's nothing holding white light together as a unit, so the colors will simply separate in a dispersive medium. It only stays together because all colors of light travel at the same speed in vacuum.
 

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