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Old Feb 27th 2013, 07:09 PM   #1
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Photons And Electromagnetic Waves

How many photons correspond to a single electromagnetic wave? Is there more than one photon for each wave?
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Old Jun 12th 2013, 12:46 PM   #2
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A tricky question. We can talk about photons or waves, not both at the same time. (This is from QM.)

An electromagnetic wave is composed of a self-reinforcing pair of electric and magnetic waves. As such there are no photons.

A photon is the particle version. A single photon is basically a "packet" of energy representing a single quantum of the field. As such all we need is one photon to represent the transmission of a quantum of the EM wave, though you certainly could have more than one of them.

Which answer you pick depends on what kind of problem you are addressing.

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