Essay on Photon

Only available on StudyMode
  • Download(s) : 90
  • Published : August 20, 2012
Open Document
Text Preview
Photon
The photon is massless,[Note 2] has no electric charge,[12] and is stable. A photon has two possible polarization states and is described by exactly three continuous parameters: the components of its wave vector, which determine its wavelength λ and its direction of propagation. The photon is the gauge boson for electromagnetism,[13] and therefore all other quantum numbers of the photon (such as lepton number, baryon number, and flavour quantum numbers) are zero.[14] Photons are emitted in many natural processes. For example, when a charge is accelerated it emits synchrotron radiation. During a molecular, atomic or nuclear transition to a lower energy level, photons of various energy will be emitted, from infrared light to gamma rays. A photon can also be emitted when a particle and its corresponding antiparticle are annihilated (for example, electron-positron annihilation). In empty space, the photon moves at c (the speed of light) and its energy and momentum are related by E = pc, where p is the magnitude of the momentum vector p. This derives from the following relativistic relation, with m = 0:[15] The energy and momentum of a photon depend only on its frequency (ν) or inversely, its wavelength (λ): where k is the wave vector (where the wave number k = |k| = 2π/λ), ω = 2πν is the angular frequency, and ħ = h/2π is the reduced Planck constant.[16] Since p points in the direction of the photon's propagation, the magnitude of the momentum is

The photon also carries spin angular momentum that does not depend on its frequency.[17] The magnitude of its spin is and the component measured along its direction of motion, its helicity, must be ±ħ. These two possible helicities, called right-handed and left-handed, correspond to the two possible circular polarization states of the photon.[18] To illustrate the significance of these formulae, the annihilation of a particle with its antiparticle in free space must result in the creation of at least two photons...
tracking img