posted on Nov, 22 2013 @ 05:06 PM
ImaFungi
reply to post by mbkennel
So is the EM field infinite photons (or not infinite as in uncountable, but infinite as in moment to moment their number changes) that are touching or
near touching, and when an electron is accelerated, its not that it shoots the nearest photons surrounding it from point A to point B, but that the
photons react as a newtons cradle in a way, the balls being the photons?
It's not quite like that---there is no conservation law for photons. Unlike normal matter in normal cases they can be created and destroyed at will.
Do you know classical E&M? Go to your chapters on waveguides and resonant modes. What a resonant eigenmode is to classical E&M, a photon is to
quantum electromagnetic field theory: an eigenstate of some operator where calculations become simple. Think about classical E&M. In the full case
you have 3-d partial differential equations for the fields from Maxwell. But because of the geometry and boundary conditions you can expand the lower
frequency behavior into a sum of those modes and then the partial differential equations separate and you get a series of ordinary scalar differential
equations for the mode amplitudes. (Do you understand/remember all this? If not, learn classical E&M first. QFT is hard. Impossible if you don't
know classical E&M. I remember recommending you the Feynman Lectures on Physics. Please read them all, and then you start to be prepared to learn
quantum optics.)
Many classical electromagnetic states don't even have a precisely defined number of photons---the state is "mixed' in the photon number basis.
But then again it is more like how water waves, if the molecules of water in a still pool represented the photons of the EM field at
equilibrium, and then a finger or electron was dipped into this field, the molecules would not move as the wave, the wave is an energetic and
momentary displacement of the position of the quanta.
Electromagnetic fields are not like water waves. Water waves there is an underlying physical substrate and the waves are motion of that substrate.
There is no simple "mechanical" analog to photons or picture of photons. They aren't balls. All the simplest explanations are in some ways
misleading. At the core, there are Maxwell's equations as the classical field then you go to QM and find quantum field wavefunctions of classical
electromagnetic fieldfunctions. There are then 'equations of motion' which you get by combining QM and Maxwell's laws. There are mathematical 'bases'
(the coordinate system in QM, or the basis of resonant modes in classical E&M) where the equations of motion become simpler for some tasks. The
'eigenmode' of some of those bases are 'photons'.
The really correct explanation is known as "quantum optics", and in there you finally learn what a photon really means.
And so theoretically as perhaps one could measure the transfer of energy from one molecule to another, the transfer of energy from one photon
to another is the particle nature?
Photons don't transfer energy to other photons.
Its near impossible to get this network of photons to like a newtons cradle send energy in a straight line, so that is why it is said they are
particle in nature, yet also always wavelike when detectable as an energetic phenomenon.
It isn't that the photons are always there waiting to be pushed around. It's more like one component of the mathematical series expansion of a field.
If you have 'one photon' then it means that the quantum state of the classical fields has a certain configuration. Just like if you had a certain
minimum energy in a classical mode of a resonant microwave cavity the E & B fields would have a certain defined shape and amplitude. In classical
physics the amplitude can be any continuous real number down to zero. In quantum mechanics, it isn't so.
ErosA433: please correct any mistakes I've made.
edit on 22-11-2013 by mbkennel because: (no reason given)
edit on 22-11-2013 by mbkennel because: (no reason
given)
edit on 22-11-2013 by mbkennel because: (no reason given)