Photon dynamics in the double-slit experiment 2

Both photons and material particles such as electrons create analogous interference patterns when passing through a double-slit experiment. For photons, this corresponds to the interference of a Maxwell light wave whereas, for material particles, this corresponds to the interference of the Schrodinger wave equation. Although this similarity might suggest that Maxwell’s equations are simply Schrodinger’s equation for photons, most physicists do not agree. For one thing, they are mathematically different; most obviously, Schrodinger’s one equation solves for a complex field, whereas Maxwell’s four equations solve for real fields. More generally, the normal concept of a Schrodinger probability wave function cannot be applied to photons. Being massless, they cannot be localized without being destroyed; technically, photons cannot have a position eigenstate , and, thus, the normal Heisenberg uncertainty principle does not pertain to photons. A few substitute wave functions have been suggested for the photon, but they have not come into general use. Instead, physicists generally accept the second-quantized theory of photons described below, quantum electrodynamics, in which photons are quantized excitations of electromagnetic modes.

— Wikipedia on Photon

2010.07.29 Thursday ACHK