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Photons and electromagnetic waves


BeyondFar
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BeyondFar (2021-04)

Are photons just electromagnetic waves? I really can't say that. As we know, electromagnetic waves come from changes in electromagnetic fields; therefore, electromagnetic waves typically have different amplitudes to reflect the different changes in electromagnetic fields. One of the most critical questions is: do photons have different amplitudes? Obviously not, which means, photons are not electromagnetic waves.

There is another indicator that photons are not electromagnetic waves. Anyone who has done the secondary quantization of electromagnetic fields knows that it is more complicated than the quantization of other particle fields. Since the electromagnetic field naturally satisfies the Lorenz covariance, there is no reason to be more difficult to quantize it than the wave function of a particle. Actually, this just proves that the electromagnetic field is not a photon quantum field, and Maxwell's equations should not be the object for quantization. Therefore, the quantization of electromagnetic fields is very far-fetched, and the object of quantization should be the photon quantum field.

Then, what's the relationship between photons and electromagnetic waves? Electromagnetic waves are the fluctuations of electromagnetic fields in classical physics, but they have the appearance of photons. So how can the fluctuations of continuous electromagnetic fields become quantized photons? Leaving aside those "beautiful" generation & annihilation operators for photons, what actually happened in the physical process? This question may not have been asked in the early days of quantum mechanics, but it definitely needs to be explored now.

At the beginning of the last century, Hilbert, the famous mathematician who made Einstein jealous, once said "Physics is too hard for physicists" which ridiculed the limited mathematical knowledge of physicists at that time. After that, physicists worked hard to study mathematics, and the requirements for mathematics in physics research became higher and higher. In any case, after Einstein, the requirements of mathematics in physics research are getting higher and higher. This is of course a good thing. The precise description of physical phenomena is inseparable from rigorous mathematical support. However, entering the new century, I personally feel that the influence of mathematics on physics is a bit overcorrected. Many results of physics research in these years can tell that physics is becoming more and more mathematical. Actually, mathematics has made many physicists forget the original intention of physics research.

Back to the above question, what is the physical process of the quantization of electromagnetic waves into photons? The answer to this question may be found in the quantum field theory (QFT), where photons are regarded as excited states of photon quantum fields. Maybe, it's the electromagnetic waves that activates the photon quantum fields. When the electromagnetic wave propagates, it resonates with the photon quantum harmonic oscillator of the same frequency and is activated as photons; the amplitude of the electromagnetic wave is converted into the number of activated photons. The stronger the electromagnetic wave, the more activated photons. From the black body radiation formula to the latest research in quantum mechanics, it has revealed the truth of "vacuum is not empty", and this non-empty vacuum must have something that we don't know about. It is likely to help us reveal how electromagnetic waves are quantized into photons. It should be the most reasonable prediction that the zero-point energy (ZPE) in vacuum is actually the photon quantum harmonic oscillator which represents the ground state of the photon quantum field that can be activated by electromagnetic waves, let us wait and see.

Although Einstein proposed many years ago that there is no need to assume the existence of ether for the propagation of light, quantum field theory tells us that the propagation of light waves may really require a "medium"-a photon quantum field. Seeing these, do you still think that photons are electromagnetic waves?

 

Edited by BeyondFar
minor grammar
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42 minutes ago, BeyondFar said:

Are photons just electromagnetic waves?

I don't think anyone says that.

However, we have a theory that models photons mathematically as EM waves, and it makes some pretty impressive predictions, in the ranges where it is applicable.
For any answers to you questions about quantization, I suggest reading up on Quantum Electrodynamic Field Theory.
Another mathematical model ( with a slightly different range of applicability ), which also makes a very impressive set of predictions

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Also note that this is a discussion site and not your blog 

 
57 minutes ago, BeyondFar said:

Back to the above question, what is the physical process of the quantization of electromagnetic waves into photons?

It’s not a physical process. It’s an issue of which model you use, quantum mechanics or classical electrodynamics. One should use the one best-suited to the situation being investigated 

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1 hour ago, BeyondFar said:

Are photons just electromagnetic waves? I really can't say that. As we know, electromagnetic waves come from changes in electromagnetic fields; therefore, electromagnetic waves typically have different amplitudes to reflect the different changes in electromagnetic fields. One of the most critical questions is: do photons have different amplitudes? Obviously not, which means, photons are not electromagnetic waves.

What sort of electromagnetic waves are you describing, there are many different sorts, some of which are still under investigation. ?

Have you heard of pilot waves, non linear waves, self resonant cavities, soliton waves.....................?

 

1 hour ago, BeyondFar said:

At the beginning of the last century, Hilbert, the famous mathematician who made Einstein jealous, once said "Physics is too hard for physicists" which ridiculed the limited mathematical knowledge of physicists at that time. After that, physicists worked hard to study mathematics, and the requirements for mathematics in physics research became higher and higher. In any case, after Einstein, the requirements of mathematics in physics research are getting higher and higher. This is of course a good thing. The precise description of physical phenomena is inseparable from rigorous mathematical support. However, entering the new century, I personally feel that the influence of mathematics on physics is a bit overcorrected. Many results of physics research in these years can tell that physics is becoming more and more mathematical. Actually, mathematics has made many physicists forget the original intention of physics research.

This is neither completely true nor anything to do with the offered topic.

1 hour ago, BeyondFar said:

Then, what's the relationship between photons and electromagnetic waves? Electromagnetic waves are the fluctuations of electromagnetic fields in classical physics, but they have the appearance of photons. So how can the fluctuations of continuous electromagnetic fields become quantized photons? Leaving aside those "beautiful" generation & annihilation operators for photons, what actually happened in the physical process? This question may not have been asked in the early days of quantum mechanics, but it definitely needs to be explored now.

I remember my physics teacher demonstrating resonance  with his handkerchief to show how a discrete mechanical phenomenon can generate a periodic mechanical motion.

Similar mechanisms are exploited in radio etc.

1 hour ago, BeyondFar said:

Back to the above question, what is the physical process of the quantization of electromagnetic waves into photons? The answer to this question may be found in the quantum field theory (QFT), where photons are regarded as excited states of photon quantum fields. Maybe, it's the electromagnetic waves that activates the photon quantum fields. When the electromagnetic wave propagates, it resonates with the photon quantum harmonic oscillator of the same frequency and is activated as photons; the amplitude of the electromagnetic wave is converted into the number of activated photons. The stronger the electromagnetic wave, the more activated photons. From the black body radiation formula to the latest research in quantum mechanics, it has revealed the truth of "vacuum is not empty", and this non-empty vacuum must have something that we don't know about. It is likely to help us reveal how electromagnetic waves are quantized into photons. It should be the most reasonable prediction that the zero-point energy (ZPE) in vacuum is actually the photon quantum harmonic oscillator which represents the ground state of the photon quantum field that can be activated by electromagnetic waves, let us wait and see.

Again doesn't this depend upon your model of electromagnetic waves ?

And also on you model of quantum wave mechanics ?

1 hour ago, BeyondFar said:

Although Einstein proposed many years ago that there is no need to assume the existence of ether for the propagation of light, quantum field theory tells us that the propagation of light waves may really require a "medium"-a photon quantum field. Seeing these, do you still think that photons are electromagnetic waves?

Nobel prize winner Wilczek champions this hypothesis, but has yet to achieve breakthrough.

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Electromagnetic waves are photons, or rather a stream of many photons, but photons are not electromagnetic waves. The photon propagates as a wave but is absorbed as a particle. And what the photon consists of can only be guessed, as long as it is a "black box", we only know its external manifestations.

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36 minutes ago, SergUpstart said:

Electromagnetic waves are photons, or rather a stream of many photons

I would be interested to hear you describe this 'stream'

To me a stream implies different properties than a wave. (Huygen's Principle)

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Thanks to all commenters for your comments. 

The questions I asked are actually not new. However, I could not find a convincing model of photons to answer them. Let's keep discussing.

Also, Thanks to Science Forum for providing the discussion platform. 

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Below is the proposed theory:
 
  • The amplitude of an EM wave reflects its intensity and can be represented by the number of photons it activates;
  • There is a photon field (quantum) which acted as the medium for the propagation of EM waves;
  • The zero-point energy (ZPE) in vacuum is actually the harmonic oscillator which represents the ground state of the photon field (quantum);
  • The photon's spin property is from the harmonic oscillator, which is a superposition state;
  • It's the EM wave that  propagates while activating photons to present its particle nature, photons don't propagate.
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With the theory above that EM waves propagate while photons are just activated and deactivated,  double-slit experiment can be explained; and the photon's spin state of superposition can be regarded as due to the different harmonic oscillators that EM waves activate.

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On 5/3/2021 at 1:05 AM, BeyondFar said:

It's the EM wave that  propagates while activating photons to present its particle nature, photons don't propagate.

How would you test this?

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13 hours ago, swansont said:

How would you test this?

Good question. I don't know. But, how would you test it's not true?  

The proposed theory is just a challenge to the existing theories as they are not consistent with each other, e.g. double slit experiment is solvable with Maxwell's classical wave equations; however, you have to refer to QM for the explanation of photon's particle nature. 

Actually, let's find out if the non-propagating photon hypothesis would cause unreasonable results.

Also, maybe there are more than one way to describe the physics phenomenon, even for the famous Dirac equation, there are 2 groups of Dirac matrices. 

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10 hours ago, BeyondFar said:

Good question. I don't know. But, how would you test it's not true?  

Not the way it works. Hypotheses are not assumed to be true, and falsifiability is a requirement.

 

Quote

The proposed theory is just a challenge to the existing theories as they are not consistent with each other, e.g. double slit experiment is solvable with Maxwell's classical wave equations; however, you have to refer to QM for the explanation of photon's particle nature. 

You use the best model available. IOW, you use the wave model to explain wave behavior. There is no inconsistency since the models explain different things.

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10 hours ago, BeyondFar said:

Good question. I don't know. But, how would you test it's not true?  

The proposed theory is just a challenge to the existing theories as they are not consistent with each other, e.g. double slit experiment is solvable with Maxwell's classical wave equations; however, you have to refer to QM for the explanation of photon's particle nature. 

Actually, let's find out if the non-propagating photon hypothesis would cause unreasonable results.

Also, maybe there are more than one way to describe the physics phenomenon, even for the famous Dirac equation, there are 2 groups of Dirac matrices. 

 

Yes there is often more than one approach to a problem, for instance force methods and energy methods.

But in general these arrive at the same conclusion, not different ones, thereby enhancing confidence in the theory.

Yours it yet another ptoposal that is at variance with those already existing, in fact it amounts to another aether proposal.

Extensive investigations over more than a century now have failed to reveal one single phenomenon that is consistent with an aether, as against the many that are not.

As a matter of interest are you suggesting that a block of glass is filled with fixed (stationary) 'photons' that transmit the 'wave' from photon to photon ?

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15 hours ago, BeyondFar said:

Good question. I don't know. But, how would you test it's not true?  

The proposed theory is just a challenge to the existing theories as they are not consistent with each other, e.g. double slit experiment is solvable with Maxwell's classical wave equations; however, you have to refer to QM for the explanation of photon's particle nature. 

Actually, let's find out if the non-propagating photon hypothesis would cause unreasonable results.

Also, maybe there are more than one way to describe the physics phenomenon, even for the famous Dirac equation, there are 2 groups of Dirac matrices. 

How do you account for the momentum of a photon in your model? Does that belong to the wave (difficult with a transverse wave, I'd have thought) or to the photon "corpuscle" - which does not move?

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On 5/4/2021 at 6:05 AM, swansont said:

How would you test this?

 

12 hours ago, studiot said:

 

Yes there is often more than one approach to a problem, for instance force methods and energy methods.

But in general these arrive at the same conclusion, not different ones, thereby enhancing confidence in the theory.

Yours it yet another ptoposal that is at variance with those already existing, in fact it amounts to another aether proposal.

Extensive investigations over more than a century now have failed to reveal one single phenomenon that is consistent with an aether, as against the many that are not.

As a matter of interest are you suggesting that a block of glass is filled with fixed (stationary) 'photons' that transmit the 'wave' from photon to photon ?

what I proposed is the ZPE is the quantum field which could be excited by EM wave. ZPE field spreads in the universe. 

8 hours ago, exchemist said:

How do you account for the momentum of a photon in your model? Does that belong to the wave (difficult with a transverse wave, I'd have thought) or to the photon "corpuscle" - which does not move?

The momentum is actually from the EM wave; However, the angular momentum is from quantum harmonic oscillator (ZPE). The energy of an activated photon includes two part: the wave energy Ew=c*p/2, and the spin energy Es=h*v/2; where p is the EM wave momentum and the v is the oscillator spin frequency(same as EM wave frequency as a photon is the resonance of the EM wave with the ZPE oscillator). 

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7 hours ago, BeyondFar said:

what I proposed is the ZPE is the quantum field which could be excited by EM wave. ZPE field spreads in the universe. 

That's not as I understood your original description.

On 4/27/2021 at 6:19 PM, BeyondFar said:

Back to the above question, what is the physical process of the quantization of electromagnetic waves into photons? The answer to this question may be found in the quantum field theory (QFT), where photons are regarded as excited states of photon quantum fields. Maybe, it's the electromagnetic waves that activates the photon quantum fields. When the electromagnetic wave propagates, it resonates with the photon quantum harmonic oscillator of the same frequency and is activated as photons; the amplitude of the electromagnetic wave is converted into the number of activated photons. The stronger the electromagnetic wave, the more activated photons. From the black body radiation formula to the latest research in quantum mechanics, it has revealed the truth of "vacuum is not empty", and this non-empty vacuum must have something that we don't know about. It is likely to help us reveal how electromagnetic waves are quantized into photons. It should be the most reasonable prediction that the zero-point energy (ZPE) in vacuum is actually the photon quantum harmonic oscillator which represents the ground state of the photon quantum field that can be activated by electromagnetic waves, let us wait and see.

 

 

On 5/3/2021 at 6:05 AM, BeyondFar said:
  • The amplitude of an EM wave reflects its intensity and can be represented by the number of photons it activates;
  • There is a photon field (quantum) which acted as the medium for the propagation of EM waves;
  • The zero-point energy (ZPE) in vacuum is actually the harmonic oscillator which represents the ground state of the photon field (quantum);
  • The photon's spin property is from the harmonic oscillator, which is a superposition state;
  • It's the EM wave that  propagates while activating photons to present its particle nature, photons don't propagate

Both others and myself took these to imply a row of photons which do not move and are therefore stationary.

Please discuss this claim.

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16 hours ago, studiot said:

That's not as I understood your original description.

 

 

Both others and myself took these to imply a row of photons which do not move and are therefore stationary.

Please discuss this claim.

Photons are the excited state of the ZPE field (creation) when EM waves pass; after EM waves passed, photons back to ground state of ZPE (annihilation).

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6 hours ago, BeyondFar said:

Photons are the excited state of the ZPE field (creation) when EM waves pass; after EM waves passed, photons back to ground state of ZPE (annihilation).

So how do you explain standing waves ?

 

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