Blog of Veikko M.O.T. Nyfors, Hybrid Quantum ICT consultant

Quantum Mechanics demystified, a try

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Being a particle

Being a particle, like a photon or an electron, that would be somewhat of a schizophrenic life. You see, for long scientists have been pondering whether they should think of those as particles or waves. Proof on behalf of both views seem to exist.

I wonder if they actually are something in between. Or could they be both? Or even neither? What I really think is the middle one, only that they are either at different times. At one time, a wave like thing traveling in spacetime with probabilities of having specific location. Wavefunction describing these probabilities. Without being perceptible to humans. Only when it interacts with an atom of some material, it becomes perceivable to us. At location ruled by the wavefunction’s probabilities.

Let’s have a look on a photon traveling as a wave in spacetime.
Actually one can’t have a look on it, as it is impercebtible :-). We just have to believe it is traveling as a wave. Ok, then it hits an atom on the way, say a petal of a yellow flower. An atom on the petal absorbs the photon’s wave-energy. BTW, now we know the wavelength must be about 580 nm. After a very short time atom emits another photon-wave of the same wavelength. See details on this transaction of absorbing-emitting a photon at article What’s light. This new photon-wave then might eventually be captured by your eye to participate in building up the illusion in your brain of the yellow flower.

Wait just a sec. At what point of time the photon would be a particle in the preceding scenario?
Never, as I see it. After having been a wave with a bunch of energy, it releases the energy to the atom’s electron. No particle there. Then the excited atom releases the same amount of energy in the form of a new photon-wave. No particle there either! Nor is there a particle in your eye’s cone or rod cell interaction with the photon-wave. The same goes on from that onwards, no particles around.

Oh my, the photon is just always a wave with a bunch of energy, all it’s life. Until it ceases to exist once it’s energy is absorbed in an interaction like the one described above.

Thus, a photon never exists as a particle really. It has always been just imagination of us humans, as it looks a bit as if particles would be hitting the film on the detectors of the test equipment. Like the ones in single and double slit experiments.
But really it is just the excited electron’s energy released, which is causing the film to react. Not the photon in some particle form.
Due to our limited comprehension, mankind has made this kind of false deductions all along. Like the earth being flat. Or sun orbiting the earth. You name it.