Kleppner, Daniel Department of Physics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts.
- Particlelike behavior
- Quantum theory
- Photon distributions
- Need for quantized fields
- Links to Primary Literature
- Additional Readings
An entity that can be loosely described as a quantum of energy of electromagnetic radiation. According to classical electromagnetic theory, an electromagnetic wave can transfer arbitrarily small amounts of energy to matter. According to the quantum theory of radiation, however, the energy is transferred in discrete amounts. The energy of a photon is the product of Planck's constant and the frequency of the electromagnetic field. In addition to energy, the photon possesses momentum and also possesses angular momentum corresponding to a spin of unity. The interaction of radiation with matter involves the absorption, scattering, and emission of photons. Consequently, the energy interchange is inherently quantized. See also: Angular momentum; Energy; Momentum; Spin (quantum mechanics)
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