|How atoms generate light|
|I have recently been studying the nature of light and I must admit,
little of it makes any damn sense!
Light really doesn't appear to be either wave or particle like. I was
thinking about how microwaves are reflected by the small holes you see
in the grill of the microwave oven. Somehow, this acts as a totally
reflective surface to the microwaves. Now the standard explanation is
that waves cannot pass through holes which are smaller than the
wavelength - but that doesn't explain anything. Why can't it pass?
If light were particles, then surely, they would be able to pass like
bullets through the holes. Photons would be thought to be small. The
only way around this is if we think that a particle photon was a large
as the wavelength, then we could intuitively see why it couldn't fit
through the holes. But are photon particles really this large ( ~2 cm
in the case of microwave radiation).
If light were a wave travelling through a medium, then it would
probably pass longitudinally like water or sound waves and would most
certainly pass through any tiny opening regardless of the frequency.
Even if we think that they are somehow transmitted as a transverse wave
with an up/down motion then if the wave were large enough in amplitude,
we could imagine that the wave could not pass through the holes because
the top and the bottom of the wave wouldn't fit through the hole. But
the amplitude doesn't matter, only the frequency. If you had a
sufficiently small amplitude transverse wave, any frequency wave ought
to be able to fit through the holes in the front of a microwave, but
they do not. One way around this (and I have heard this suggested) is
that what we measure as light frequency is actually the amplitude. But
we know that other electromagnetic radiation like radio waves have real
amplitudes and frequencies we can measure with oscilloscopes. So this
can't seem right.
With this problem in mind, I have come up with the following
The true nature of the mechanical transmission of light is extremely
speculative or unknown. How is it that we don't think that light is
transmitted longitudinally? How could you prove that it does not? I
have not seen anything convincing that experimentally shows that
longitudinal transmission is ruled out.
The evidence for transverse transmission comes from the action of
polarizing filters which apparently filter out all light except that
aligned in a particular direction of the polarizing filter. However,
this doesn't make much sense, because if light came in all sorts of
random directions and you filtered out every direction but one, then
I'd say that the filter would have to block out 99.999% of the rays
since only the tiniest fraction would be in alignment with the
material. But from what I can see polarizing sunglasses pass far more -
at least 50% of the light striking the lenses. How can 50% of the light
just happened to be aligned with the direction of the polarizing
More likely is that we don't understand the nature of polarization. It
would appear that what is really happening is that it is taking the
light coming into the filter and then transforming it somehow to have
the "polarized" property. This would greatly reduce or eliminate the
idea that light is a transverse wave.
I think an under - researched and rarely thought of property of
polarized light is that it cannot be made to interfere with itself.
Experimentally if you set up a double slit experiment with a beam of
polarized light, it would not produce any interference patterns. How is
that possible? A wave picture of light would indicate that interference
must always be possible. The transverse picture comes somewhat to the
rescue if only beams which are polarized in different directions can
interfere. I think there may be a major misunderstanding about how
light interference patterns are formed.
In thinking about this, our understanding of light is naive by trying
to relate it directly with waves or particles we are familiar with in
the macroscopic world we can observe.
From what I can see, light waves and radio waves have very distinct
properties which make them completely different. They are both
electromagnetic radiation (EM), but I think that main difference is in
the way they are generated.
EM below that of light is generated by the mass migrations of electrons
to and from a conducting material - like a radio antenna. The wave is
simply generated by shoving electrons into metal rod and then sucking
them out again. The bulk action produces a clearly defined wave with a
very measurable amplitude and frequency.
On the other hand, EM with the frequency of light and above appear to
be generated exclusively by atomic processes whereby the interaction of
electrons falling through energy levels around an atom generate the
wave. This is extremely different from the radio wave generation case
in that the waves must be generated in distinct quanta. A single
electron dropping in the field of an atom generates a specific packet
of EM waves. I think this is fundamentally where the Planck constant
comes from. This represents the smallest quanta of energy that can be
released from an electron dropping in the field of an atom.
In addition, another characteristic represented by the Planck constant
is probably a fixed amplitude for all light generated waves. In fact, I
believe the Planck constant represents the armount of energy contained
in any single sinusoidal light wave of ANY FREQUENCY. Look at the
formula E = hv. The h (planck's constant) would make perfect sense as a
quanta of energy for a wave of any frequency). E represents the total
energy received by a surface over a 1 second period. Energy is higher
for higher frequency in only that more cycles of identical amplitude
hit a surface over a fixed period of time.
My own theory of light generation indicates that the light wave is
actually generated by the impact of the electron upon the atomic
surface. Like a ball dropped to the ground, the higher the ball starts,
the greater the impact will be. But because the electron and atomic
surface are oppositely charged, the electron sticks to the atomic
surface and this becomes an entirely inelastic collision. All of the
energy of the falling electron must then be expended on the atom to
satify conservation of energy. The atom expends this energy by
vibrating within the confines of the space it is contained in. My
theory also postulates that all of space is filled with a neutron like
aether, so the atom is not free to move. Instead it must bounce between
aether particles. It is like a ball that you throw into a box which
then bounces back and forth between the walls. The harder you throw the
ball, the faster it will bounce back and forth in the box. This is the
fundamental relationship between frequency and energy. This is the
reason why we see higher frequency light with higher energy levels in
In the case of light generation, there can be almost nothing like the
continuous wave forms that can be generated by radio transmitters. I
personally do not think that even lasers which are supposed to be able
to generate such continuous wave forms - really do so. The random
nature and quantum nature of light generation would seem to preclude
such precise alignments. I think that laser light is all going in the
same direction (which gives it most of its characteristics) and is of
the same frequency. But unless someone can show me experimental
evidence that all the wavefronts co-incide, I wouldn't think it would
be possible. (Do we have anything like an oscilliscope for light
waves?) It is most likely that light is generated with random periods
and the chance of light waves coinciding and reinforcing is just about
as likely as them cancelling. So what we observe in the case of light
brightness, is not a change in wave amplitude - it is only a change in
This particular view of light would enable us to explain the
photo-electric effect since light is generated in specific quanta and
always hit the metal target with specific quanta of wave energy. We do
not need to invoke a particle picture of light to explain this
phenomenon, only a sensible picture of light generation.
Another particular characteristic of only light is its ability to
travel in straight lines. We know that particles can travel in straight
lines, but light does spread out a bit and can bend around corners, so
this is certainly un-particle like. But most waves spread out in
spherical forms from any point source, but light doesn't seem to do
this either. A beam of laser light does not appear to disturb space
beyond where it is travelling.
So, I think that light must have this characteristic that it is a wave
which only moves in the direction it is pointed. How is this possible?
If we use the aether model as a base and presume that space is filled
with a crystalline structure of neutron like particles, then such a
view is possible if we think of these particles as being nearly
completely independent of each other (rather than attached by springs).
This would be like a square array of billiard balls. If you hit one of
the billiard balls on the edge of the square perpendicular to the
square, it would knock out just one of the billiard balls at the other
edge of the array of balls. This is just like a wave of light passing
through the aether. It travels absolutely straight and does not disturb
any neighbor aether particles which are not in the direct path of
travel for the wave.
However, none of this really explains why I don't get cooked while
sitting in front of a microwave while waiting for my lunch. Neither
does this explain what it means for a beam of light to have the
properlty of "polarized". I have presented some original ideas on how
light is generated and transmitted, but much remains to be learned
about the true nature of light