Dual Nature of Light

Course Details

Field of Study: Electronics Engineering
Course Name: Optoelectronics
Description: Dual Nature of Light: Particle like nature and wave like nature

Scientists build models of physical processes to help them
understand and predict the behavior of dual nature of light.
It is through seeing the effects of light that the models are
developed. Scientists have observed that light energy can
behave like a wave as it moves through space, or it can
behave like a discrete particle with a discrete amount of
energy (quantum) that can be absorbed and emitted.

Particle Like Model
The particle-like nature of light is modeled with photons. A photon
has no mass and no charge. It is a carrier of electromagnetic energy
and interacts with other discrete particles (e.g., electrons, atoms, and
molecules).
A beam of light is modeled as a stream of photons, each carrying a
well-defined energy that is dependent upon the wavelength of the
light. The energy of a given photon can be calculated by:
photon_energy

Wave Model
The particle-like model of light describes large-scale effects such as
light passing through lenses or bouncing off mirrors . However, a
wavelike model must be used to describe fine-scale effects such as
interference and diffraction that occur when light passes through
small openings or by sharp edges. The propagation of light or
electromagnetic energy through space can be described in terms of a
traveling wave motion. The wave moves energy without moving
mass from one place to another at a speed independent of its
intensity or wavelength. This wave nature of light is the basis of
physical optics and describes the interaction of light with media.

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