The concept of the photon emerged in the early 20th century to explain light’s behavior.

First proposed by Max Planck in 1900 to explain the blackbody radiation spectrum, he proposed a revolutionary idea. He suggested that light wasn’t emitted continuously, but in discrete packets of energy called quanta. This was a radical departure from the classical view of light as a wave.

A few years later, in 1905, Albert Einstein applied Planck’s concept of quanta to explain the photoelectric effect. This phenomenon observed that light hitting a metal surface could eject electrons, with the energy of the ejected electrons depending on the light’s frequency, not its intensity (as classical theory predicted).

Following these breakthroughs, physicists like Gilbert Lewis (who coined the term “photon” in 1926) and Arthur Compton (who explored photon-electron collisions) continued to refine the understanding of the photon.

The development of quantum mechanics solidified the wave-particle duality of light. Photons exhibit both wave-like and particle-like behavior depending on the experiment.

State of the Art

In contemporary physics, photons are fundamental particles that exhibit dual wave-particle behavior, serving as carriers of electromagnetic radiation and playing a central role in the interactions of light with matter.

Described by quantum mechanics, photons possess both wave-like and particle-like properties, allowing them to propagate through space as electromagnetic waves while also exhibiting discrete energy quantization characteristic of particles. The wave-particle duality of photons is exemplified by phenomena such as the double-slit experiment, where they demonstrate interference patterns characteristic of waves, yet interact with detectors as discrete entities.

Massless and electrically neutral, photons travel at the speed of light in a vacuum and carry energy proportional to their frequency, as described by Planck’s relation, E=hf. This energy-carrier property of photons underlies their role as the fundamental particles of light and electromagnetic radiation across the electromagnetic spectrum, from radio waves to gamma rays.

Beyond the Basics

Photons are foundational to modern optics, quantum mechanics, and particle physics, embodying the concept of wave-particle duality elucidated by Erwin Schrödinger. Within the standard model of particle physics, photons are considered elementary particles that interact via electromagnetic forces, contributing to our understanding of fundamental interactions in nature.

While traditionally viewed as particles, they also exhibit wave-like behavior under certain conditions, underscoring the intricate nature of quantum objects and the nuances of their interactions in the fabric of reality.

The latest research explores properties of photons beyond the standard model:

Shape and Spin: The intrinsic properties of a photon, including its shape and spin, may influence its behavior in how it interacts with electromagnetic fields

A New Paradigm: Some theories propose a new view of the photon as a spinning energy dipole at the Planck scale, composed of an electron and its antiparticle, a positron.

Key Points

Photons are the fundamental particles of light.

They are massless, electrically neutral, and carry energy.

Photons exhibit wave-particle duality.

The concept of the photon is crucial in modern physics.

Ongoing research explores the nature of photons in more detail.

QA Photons

QA photons are energy dipoles having the charge difference of one electron and one anti-electron

Because the mass of the charge and anti-charge are equal and opposite they are weightless.

Because the spin of the charge and anti-charge are opposite the composite charge is neutral.

The charge distances are at a fixed distance regardless of frequency.

The spin rate determines the frequency of the energy radiated, and the energy released per unit of time.

The upper limit of their energy radiating frequency is when the dipole spins faster than its wavelength.

Planck’s constant designated h is the wave length of a complete Planck dipole cycle.

Planck is the radius of the Planck dipole – this determines its near field or the field of energy interactions with it.