Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Argued the idea and lost

I found a place where I could argue the idea but lost the argument.   There were over 100 posts.   To me the best arguments against this theory were that laser light entering a vacuum does not have enough electrons but does not in fact push any electrons from mater into the vacuum.  The other very convincing one is that a vacuum tube can have a positive plate to absorb electrons and yet still stay perfectly transparent.

I came up with a couple arguments that I like.  One was that relativity links electricity and magnetism so an electromagnetic wave does need moving electrons.     I also argued by looking at Maxwell's equations.  Some of these are talking about charges and currents and a light wave passes an atom so fast that only the electron could have any significant movement.   I may make a post on each of these.   Nobody bought either argument and they even had a good counterargument to the second, that some energy should be lost to the proton.  After it was all over it occurred to me that the electrons movement could cancel out the field from the view of the proton.  So it really could be that the proton was not moved.

One claim was that only whole photons are absorbed but this is not true.  You can get part of the energy from a photon and that just lowers the frequency of the photon.  This is in my list of experiments.

Anyway, it was an interesting debate for me.

Friday, July 8, 2011

How best to proceed?

What is the best way to test the idea that electromagnetic waves are using electrons as the medium for transmission?    Here are some ideas:

  1. One big question is if there really is enough matter in space to transmit the wave.   One way to test this is to simulate waves going through space using dipole approximation.  If waves can word at such low density of matter it would be big support for the electron waves theory.
  2. Put out prizes to see if anyone can come up with any experiment showing either magnetic or electric fields that are clearly not involving electrons.  This theory holds that all electromagnetic waves are propagated by electrons, so any experiment where this was not so would falsify this theory.
  3. Explore bursts of laser light going into vacuum.  There are experiments and papers on this.  Results do not seem to fit with this hypothesis. 
  4. Simulate atoms and see if we can get a very directional wave that fits photon experiments as well as wave experiments.
  5. Show that photons are really waves by making an experiment that takes off part of the energy at a time.  There are already experiments like this though.
  6. Try to do or find experiments that show that the maximum energy density that can be transmitted in a vacuum, without loss due to ionization, goes down with particle density. 

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Quotes from wise men

Maxwell said, “The agreement of the results seems to show that light and magnetism are affections of the same substance, and that light is an electromagnetic disturbance propagated through the field according to electromagnetic laws.” 

Also Maxwell, "We can scarcely avoid the inference that light consists in the transverse undulations of the same medium which is the cause of electric and magnetic phenomenon.”    Page 500 in James Clerk Maxwell scientific papers.

Newton said, "I do not know what this Aether is", but that if it consists of particles then they must be "exceedingly smaller than those of Air, or even than those of Light: The exceeding smallness of its Particles may contribute to the greatness of the force by which those Particles may recede from one another, and thereby make that Medium exceedingly more rare and elastick than Air"

Observing that his equations represented periodic electric currents at right angles to the direction of propagation of the disturbance, Lorentz suggested that all luminous vibrations might be constituted by electric currents and hence that there was “no longer any reason for maintaining the hypothesis of an aether, since we can admit that space contains sufficient ponderable matter to enable the disturbance to be propagated.” 
Einstein said, "This double nature of radiation (and of material corpuscles)...has been interpreted by quantum-mechanics in an ingenious and amazingly successful fashion. This interpretation...appears to me as only a temporary way out..."

Friday, July 1, 2011

Speed of light

If light is a wave and electrons are the medium, the speed of a light is a consequence of the forces between electrons and the inertia of the electrons.  In different types of matter, where electrons are more or less free to move the speed of light is different.

It seems like the forces between the electrons would have to have a higher speed of propagation than light so that after the inertia is overcome the speed of the wave would be the speed of light.

One objection I get is "to get electrons moving at the speed of light would take infinite energy".  This comes from the mistaken idea that if the wave is propagating at the speed of light then the particles in the medium have to move at that speed.   You can see that this is not so by looking at a tsunami wave in water.  The water molecules move slowly yet the wave may be moving at 600 MPH.  Also, light is a transverse wave, not a longitudinal wave like sound.   So the medium is not moving in the direction the wave is moving.  The electrons do not need to move at the speed the wave moves at.  An even better example is that electricity propagates down a wire at the speed of light even though the electrons in the wire are not moving very fast.

Electrons in atoms as medium for light

An atom where an electric field can stretch electrons off to one side a bit can become a dipole, these are called Dielectric.   Energy is stored in the stretching of the position of the electrons.  Atoms that are forced into a dipole are also sometimes said to be polarized.   In the plane wave there is a whole volume of atoms with electrons moving up.  This volume of electrons going up is like a current and produces a magnetic field around it.  A half wavelength away the electrons are going down.  It produces a magnetic field around it.  In between the two magnetic fields add together.   You can also think of it as in between it is like electrons are moving around that spot and electrons going in a circle make a magnetic field.

As the electromagnetic wave moves the electric field and magnetic field are off by 90 degrees to each other and the direction the wave is moving.  They are also out of phase by 90 degrees.   

Atoms with free electrons, that conduct electricity, do not propagate electromagnetic waves well.

Atoms where the electrons can move at the right frequency can conduct light of that frequency.

It makes sense that much solid matter, where electron bonds are such that the can not move so freely, do not propagate light that humans can see.  We needed to see the solid objects and we don't need to see the air.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Red Shift and Cosmic Background Radiation

If light is an electron wave, then we can expect some energy loss after years of travel.  This energy loss would show up as a red-shift in the light and some background radiation.  If this is the real reason for the red-shift then maybe there really is no expansion of the universe.

This is somewhat like the tired light hypothesis.  However, without photons, so scattering is not such an issue.

Interesting Experiments in Electromagnetic Waves

There are many known phenomenon that any theory of electromagnetic waves must fit with.   My theory is that Maxwell's equations are right and the medium is electrons around matter.   I don't know of any experiment that refutes Maxwell's equations.   I list here some interesting experiments related to electromagnetic waves.

  1. Aberation of light Movement of Earth around the sun can make stars locations appear to change.
  2. Absorption  Matter can absorb light.
  3. Birefringe Certain materials can split a ray of light into two beams.
  4. Blackbody Radiation  As the temperature goes up the distribution of radiation given off by matter shifts higher and higher.  
  5. Bragg's Law  Bragg's law gives the angles for coherent and incoherent scattering from a crystal lattice. When X-rays are incident on an atom, they make the electronic cloud move as does any electromagnetic wave. The movement of these charges re-radiates waves with the same frequency (blurred slightly due to a variety of effects); this phenomenon is known as Rayleigh scattering (or elastic scattering).  Electron waves theory fits.
  6. Bremsstrahlung  Electromagnetic radiation produced by the deceleration of a charged particle when deflected by another charged particle, typically an electron by an atomic nucleus. 
  7. Compton Effect  Light can lose energy to matter and knock an electron free.  When it does this the light's frequency is reduced.
  8. Cyclotron Radiation An electron moving in a magnetic field produces electromagnetic waves.
  9. Diffraction   Light can be made to interfere with itself.
  10. Discrete Dipole Approximation You can model atoms as dipoles interacting with each other by their electric fields and accurately model the optical properties.  This is very much like the electron waves theory.
  11.  Dispersion   In some things, like a prism, the speed of light depends on the frequency.   
  12. Double-slit experiment   Light can give interference even when reduced to levels we call "one photon at a time".
  13.  Faraday effect   A magnetic field can cause the plane of polarization for light to rotate. 
  14. Fizeau experiment   Speed of light in moving water.  Seems to work with an ether drag theory so may be ok with electron waves theory.  
  15. Gravity effects  Light going down is blue-shifted and light going up is red-shifted.   Going sideways past gravity well it is curved some.
  16. Infrared Spectroscopy Molecules have certain vibrational modes that give off electromagnetic waves at certain frequencies that can be used to identify the molecules.
  17. Klein-Nishina formula Gives the range of scattering angle for different frequencies of light interacting with an electron. 
  18. Lorentz ether theory  This ether theory gets the same answers as special relativity.   So it seems that electron waves should work.  In this theory electrons are separate from the ether though.
  19. Magneto-optic Kerr effect  Light reflected off magnetic surfaces can change in polarization and intensity. 
  20. Michelson-Morley Light is not moving relative to some ether that is at any significant speed relative to the experiment.
  21. Molecular Vibration  Molecules have different types of vibration that can absorb and give off energy.
  22. Photoelectric effect   Light can make electrons come off matter.  At the right frequency an electron wave could make electrons come loose.   If the light is in resonance with the electrons period in its orbital then the electron could absorb energy and  get to a higher energy level, possibly free from the atom.
  23. Photoconductivity  Light can free up some electrons in matter and change the conductivity.  
  24. Polarization   Light waves can have an orientation.  Certain things, like polarized glasses, will only let light with the right orientation through.
  25. Rayleigh scattering The elastic scattering of light or other electromagnetic radiation by particles much smaller than the wavelength of the light, which may be individual atoms or molecules.
  26. Reflection Light can reflect off mirrors and other surfaces.
  27. Refraction Light bends when it moves between different medium where it has different speeds.
  28. Propagation in vacuum of space - see other post. 
  29. Rotational Spectroscopy  Microwaves can cause molecules to spin.  In doing so they absorb energy and release when they spin down.
  30. Photochemistry  Some chemical reactions need light, like photosynthesis.  
  31. Phosphor  Some things can emit light of different frequencies than what they are excited with. 
  32. Snell's Law Light moving between different mediums where it travels at different speeds curves like a wave should curve.
  33. Stark effect   A static electric field can split light into spectra.
  34. Stimulated Emission Atoms can release their energy so it has the same phase, frequency, polarization, and direction of some light going past them.   This is used in lasers.
  35. Wikipedia index of optical articles
  36. Wikipedia index of optical phenomenon
  37. Zeeman effect   A static magnetic field can split light into spectra.

I will be adding to this list and welcome any suggestions in comments.

Plane Waves In Near Vacuum

The main argument against light being "electron waves" is that there is not much matter out in space, so how could electron waves propagate?   The reason is that light is a plane wave and the field does not drop off just from distance from the surface of the wave.   So it can reach out as far as needed to propagate.

The field extends out till it moves enough electrons around to neutralize it.  Normally this is a very tiny distance for visible light but in space it might be a few meters.  Radio waves can be thousands of feet, so space density of electrons does not seem any trouble for them.

One way to think about this is that light is started by electrons moving and propagated by electron waves and if it gets to where there are not enough electrons to pass the energy on then the final electrons will be ripped off the matter they were on.  So the Sun expels huge numbers of electrons, as many as needed to propagate the wave.

Imagine in deep space there is a place that light gets to but there was no matter after that for the light to propagate on.  Then the matter at the edge would absorb the momentum of the light and be pushed on toward where there was not enough matter.  So light from all the stars is working to keep a tidy medium for light in place.

I am told by people who seem expert in this that lasers entering a vacuum do not push electrons into the vacuum.  Also, a vacuum tube with a positive plate absorbing electrons is still transparent.   So there are troubles with this hypothesis.

Experimental Evidence for Photons

Atoms give off and absorb quantized amounts of energy.  Most people assume that light comes in quantized amounts of energy called photons.  But what if there is only waves and matter just absorbs quantized amounts of energy?  Maybe the energy absorbed came from many different directions and just happen to add together at that point to the right amount for that atom to change states?

Photon detectors go off rapidly even in complete darkness.  They are in fact rated with a dark count rate.  Random thermal noise sets off a photon detector that is supposed to only detect photons of a certain frequency.  Since the energy states of atoms are quantized, a photon detector would receive a quantum of energy, even if the source was not quantized.  If random thermal noise can add together to trip the photon detector, then why can't some real input and some random thermal noise also trip the photon detector?   Anyway, that a photon detector is discrete does not prove photons exist.

So I would like to see solid experimental evidence that photons are real and not just a useful way of thinking about light.   Here is one experiment that would be interesting. 
Imagine the single photon source is generating a photon every 1 ms.  The two photon detectors have synchronized their clocks and digitally record the times of each photon detection event (I am told this is called "time-tagged mode measurement").   After running for awhile we can analyze the data.  It should be clear where the 1 ms clock comes down in the data and we can discard dark count detections off of this time.  We also need to discard data shortly after dark count events as it takes the detectors awhile to recover from a detection and we want data from when both were ready.  Then with the remaining data we see how often when one detector goes off the other also goes off.   If photons are real and we have a single photon source, then when one detector goes off the other should not go off.   If light is really just waves then when one detector goes off it should not reduce the chances of the other going off in that time slot.

Some experiments have used heavily attenuated light sources and then asserted that they were single photon at a time sources.  This is not totally correct.  It would be much better to use the new true single photon source devices.

There have been experiments similar to mine but using beam splitters instead of fibers.  However, it might be that at single photon energy levels a beam splitter either sends the energy one way or the other but not both.  So maybe the beam splitters have made it look like there are photons.  This is why I think my experiment with fibers is worth doing, if it has not already been done.

A single-photon avalanche diode is a photon detector in silicon, so the prices are getting affordable.   A quantum-dot makes a real single photon source.  This is also in silicon and so prices are getting reasonable.  So the equipment to do this experiment is getting better and cheaper.

Some experiments show that the energy a single electron can give off or absorb is proportional to the frequency.  This is the E=hf formula.  Most interpret this to indicate that photons are real and quantized but I think this could also just be a property of matter.  It might not say anything about how energy is transported.    So I find these experiments not conclusive.

After 100 years of believing in photons there should be some good experimental evidence.   Does anyone know any?   I would pay $200 US for the first link in these comments to an experiment published openly on the net (no pay access stuff) that is as convincing to me as the above experiment would be (no beam splitter, not just E=hf).  If someone has a single photon source and two photon detectors and would be willing to do my experiment for some modest funding please contact me.

One very good experiment uses a beam splitter but is able to show either anti-correlation or interference after the beam splitter when at single photon energy levels.

A second very good experiment is Quantum transduction of telecommunications-band single photons from a quantum dot by frequency upconversion.

I still think my experiment would be simpler and more conclusive.

Electron Waves

In 1820 Hans Christian ├śrsted noticed that an electric current could affect a magnetic compass.  By 1862 James Clerk Maxwell had developed Maxwell's Equations for electromagnetic waves. People thought of the medium for electromagnetic waves as the  lumiferious ether.  However, the 1887 Michelson Morley experiment contradicted the ether theory.   Maxwell died in 1879. It was not until 1897 that J. J. Thomson proposed that there were electrons about 1000 times smaller than atoms. By the time electrons were beginning to be understood the idea of any medium for light was associated with the discredited ether theory.

To me it seems odd that although electricity is moving electrons and magnetism comes from electrons going in circles, people don't think of electrons as the medium for electromagnetic waves.

A sound wave is where the whole atom moves back and forth.   In an electromagnetic wave the main motion is just in the electrons.  In heat the atoms are moving fast enough to make electromagnetic waves.

I suspect that if electrons had been discovered before Maxwell started working on the problem that he would have understood that electrons were the medium and today we would call these waves  "electron waves".