On some questions about Photons

John Karpinsky

June 30, 2020

There are some elements of photon characteristics that are not commonly addressed in courses on quantum mechanics. It is possible that a detailed investigation into these lesser noticed elements of the characteristics of quantum particles and waves could discover new connections that might answer some of the outstanding questions in quantum theory.

A photon is an electromagnetic wave that has no rest mass. From our frame of reference, the wave travels at the speed of light. But from the frame of reference of the photon, it does not travel at all. The distance between the emitting medium and the absorbing medium is zero in the photon’s frame of reference. Also, the time elapsed is zero in that frame of reference.

The first question I will address involves how the photon looks in different frames of reference. How many cycles of oscillation are in a single photon? This may not seem like an important question, but it is necessary that the answer be the same, regardless of the frame of reference. One hypothesis in answering this question is that it is one cycle. The reason for this speculation is that, when a photon is emitted by an atom by the jumping of an electron from an excited state to a less excited state, it is reasonable to assume that the transition happens in one cycle of the electron around the nucleus. If that is not true, there should be an experiment that will show what is true. I don’t know the implications of the answer to this. There may not be anything new in this.

Another aspect of the geometry of a photon is that it exists as a 2-D plane in 4-space. There are huge numbers of photons in the Universe that each exist at one point in time. I don’t know how to make sense of it, but in each photon’s frame of reference, 4-D space has collapsed to one point in time and the space between the source and absorber has collapsed to zero distance. I would think that the time would not collapse to zero, but to the time of one cycle of the emitting electron. This is a slight modification of Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity. I would think it would be part of the structure of space-time, but I don’t know how it works.

What are the field strengths of the electric and magnetic fields of a photon? I would think that these would be the same for all photons, but is that true? The energy of a photon is a function of the frequency. It does not depend on field strength. The implications of this hypothesis are startling to me. It says that all photons in the universe have the same field strength. This would be independent of energy, source, wavelength, or the lengthening of the wavelength with the expansion of space in the Universe.

I hope that these questions inspire some interesting new explorations that will illuminate the nature of space-time. This is the area of physics that I think will lead to the most revolutionary advances in the near future. I plan on expanding this exploration to the nature of other quantum features of other particles such as electrons, protons, and neutrons in future posts. The questions I am asking seem to be ignored in present discussions of quantum mechanics. Either they are too elementary, or too advanced. I don’t know which.

I am a retired industrial physicist interested in the fundamental physics of the universe.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store