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 Ørsted 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".