World Journal of Condensed Matter Physics
The wave-particle duality of light is a controversial topic in modern physics. In this context, this work highlights the ability of the wave-nature of light on its own to account for the conservation of energy in light-matter interaction. Two simple fundamental properties of light as wave are involved: its period and its power P. The power P depends only on the amplitude of the wave’s electric and magnetic fields (Poynting’s vector), and can easily be measured with a power sensor for visible and infrared lasers. The advantage of such a wave-based approach is that it unveils unexpected effects of light’s power P capable of explaining numerous results published in current scientific literature, of correlating phenomena otherwise considered as disjointed, and of making predictions on ways to employ the electromagnetic (EM) waves which so far are unexplored. In this framework, this work focuses on determining the magnitude of the time interval that, coupled with light’s power P, establishes the energy conserved in the exchange of energy between light and matter. To reach this goal, capacitors were excited with visible and IR lasers at variable average power P. As the result of combining experimental measurements and simulations based on the law of conservation of energy, it was found that the product of the period of the light by its power P fixes the magnitude of the energy conserved in light’s interaction with the capacitors. This finding highlights that the energy exchanged is defined in the time interval equal to the period of the light’s wave. The validity of the finding is shown to hold in light’s interaction with matter in general, e.g. in the photoelectric effect with x-rays, in the transfer of electrons between energy levels in semiconducting interfaces of field effect transistors, in the activation of photosynthetic reactions, and in the generation of action potentials in retinal ganglion cells to enable vision in vertebrates. Finally, the validity of the finding is investigated in the low frequency spectrum of the EM waves by exploring possible consequences in microwave technology, and in harvesting through capacitors the radio waves dispersed in the environment after being used in telecommunications as a source of usable electricity.
Original Publication Citation
Boone, D. E., Jackson, C. H., Swecker, A. T., ... Ivanov, I. N., Stevens, E. C., & Scarel, G. (2018). Probing the wave nature of light-matter interaction. World Journal of Condensed Matter Physics, 8(2), 62-89. https://doi.org/10.4236/wjcmp.2018.82005
Boone, D. E.; Jackson, C. H.; Swecker, A. T.; Hergenrather, J. S.; Wenger, K. S.; Kokhan, O.; Terzić, Balša; Melnikov, I.; Ivanov, I. N.; Stevens, E. C.; and Scarel, G., "Probing the Wave Nature of Light-Matter Interaction" (2018). Physics Faculty Publications. 594.