How light behaves

$c=\lambda v$

LeannaPhan14BDis1D
Posts: 57
Joined: Fri Sep 28, 2018 12:16 am

How light behaves

I cannot conceptualize light being both photon (PACKETS) of energy and wavelengths. I find it difficult to exercise this into equations when I do not understand how it can be both and have one number. Please explain and possibly use equations in your explanation if possible. If not that is okay, any rationalization and information is valuable. Thank you.

Douglas Nguyen 2J
Posts: 71
Joined: Fri Sep 28, 2018 12:15 am

Re: How light behaves

"I cannot conceptualize light being both photon (PACKETS) of energy and wavelengths. I find it difficult to exercise this into equations when I do not understand how it can be both and have one number. Please explain and possibly use equations in your explanation if possible. If not that is okay, any rationalization and information is valuable. Thank you."

It's because light has the properties of particles and waves. This can be seen in the photoelectric effect and the diffraction example. Certain questions require you to treat light as a particle, and others require you to treat it as a wave.

Casandra
Posts: 65
Joined: Fri Sep 28, 2018 12:17 am

Re: How light behaves

LeannaPhan14ALec1Dis1F wrote:I cannot conceptualize light being both photon (PACKETS) of energy and wavelengths. I find it difficult to exercise this into equations when I do not understand how it can be both and have one number. Please explain and possibly use equations in your explanation if possible. If not that is okay, any rationalization and information is valuable. Thank you.

Light is both a particle and a wave depending on how you want to look at light, this is because of the wave-particle duality. If you look for wave-like properties you'll see a wave, and if you look for particle-like properties you'll see a particle.

005113695
Posts: 59
Joined: Fri Sep 28, 2018 12:15 am

Re: How light behaves

Photons are packets of energy, but the energy can be seen as wavelengths. The wavelengths can show the amount of energy and frequency.

Henry Dudley 1G
Posts: 61
Joined: Fri Sep 28, 2018 12:16 am

Re: How light behaves

Douglas Nguyen 1E wrote:"I cannot conceptualize light being both photon (PACKETS) of energy and wavelengths. I find it difficult to exercise this into equations when I do not understand how it can be both and have one number. Please explain and possibly use equations in your explanation if possible. If not that is okay, any rationalization and information is valuable. Thank you."

It's because light has the properties of particles and waves. This can be seen in the photoelectric effect and the diffraction example. Certain questions require you to treat light as a particle, and others require you to treat it as a wave.

When does light make the jump from behaving like a particle to behaving like a wave?

Chloe Qiao 4C
Posts: 65
Joined: Fri Sep 28, 2018 12:27 am

Re: How light behaves

Henry Dudley 1I wrote:
Douglas Nguyen 1E wrote:"I cannot conceptualize light being both photon (PACKETS) of energy and wavelengths. I find it difficult to exercise this into equations when I do not understand how it can be both and have one number. Please explain and possibly use equations in your explanation if possible. If not that is okay, any rationalization and information is valuable. Thank you."

It's because light has the properties of particles and waves. This can be seen in the photoelectric effect and the diffraction example. Certain questions require you to treat light as a particle, and others require you to treat it as a wave.

When does light make the jump from behaving like a particle to behaving like a wave?

Light does not jump from behaving like a particle to behaving like a wave. It has both characteristics at the same time. It's more about when to use its properties of behaving as a wave or as a particle, and that will depend on the question.

Nicklas_Wright_1A
Posts: 60
Joined: Fri Sep 28, 2018 12:23 am

Re: How light behaves

Try to think of light as being either a wave or a particle instead of both at the same time. In some instances it acts like one and other times it acts like the other. For each circumstance, find out which one it is acting like and treat it that way for the rest of the problem.

Danny Elias Dis 1E
Posts: 60
Joined: Fri Sep 28, 2018 12:19 am

Re: How light behaves

Our issue is we cannot see what light is really made up of. However, it displays properties that compare to those of waves in some instances and photons (packets of energy) in others. The struggle comes when trying to decide when it acts like a wave and when it acts like a photon.

Nell Mitchell 1E
Posts: 31
Joined: Fri Sep 28, 2018 12:16 am

Re: How light behaves

For understanding this I really liked Professor Lavelle's analogy of a stream of water flowing from a wide mouth faucet versus individual water molecules slipping through a very tiny faucet. In this analogy you can understand that the molecules (ie the photons) are always there and always individual even through the wide mouth faucet (ie wavelength of light) - their properties as individual entities are just not always obvious when observed at a larger scale.