Books and publications on the
interaction of systems in real time by A. C. Sturt
A methodology based on standing waves is proposed which may establish whether electromagnetic radiation consists of waves or particles. Wave/particle duality is a convenient way of classifying observations, but it can only be a temporary solution on the way to a more comprehensive understanding of the underlying nature of light. The methodology uses orthogonally crossing beams of coherent light to produce conditions which are calculated to form standing waves, as long as the nature of light is waves. Detectors are placed inside the area in which standing waves are predicted, because such waves cannot be detected by observation of the beams of light which emerge. Detectors can be as simple as photographic plates, and may be deployed over a wide range of the electromagnetic spectrum.
If standing waves are detected, the nature of light must be fundamentally waves. If they are not detected, and the null result is confirmed over a wide range of conditions, the probability increases that light is fundamentally particulate. Any objection that a result is null because standing waves do not form, is countered by the phenomena of diffraction and interference, which are the equivalent of standing waves observed externally by reflection from a source or as individual rays.
More sophisticated detection may be used, such as CCDs, and long exposures are valid because standing waves remain in position for as long as the beams shine. Laser cooling is also a method of detection, and results suggest that light cannot in fact be waves. Further analysis shows that it also unlikely to be photons. The most likely solution is that light is composed of induced rotating electromagnetic dipoles.
For the last century, light has been considered to have the inexplicable character of wave/particle duality. Observations showed that light must have wave characteristics, because the results of constructive and destructive interference were visible to the naked eye, like ripples on a pond. However, other observations showed equally conclusively that light was particulate, because it knocked electrons out of atomic structures in the manner of a missile, the photoelectric effect. The conclusion was that light behaved like waves, if the detector responded to waves, or particles, if the detector responded to particles. Hence the compromise of photons, or “wavicles”, light particles with frequency characteristics.
That is not a proposition which can stand scrutiny, however well it works in practice. Particles are independent, discrete entities, an intensive phenomenon. Waves are repetitive and linked in the sense that each peak relates to the one which precedes it and the one which follows it, or else it is simply an isolated irregularity. Waves are by nature extensive.
The new theory of light explains the observations by stating that light is indeed particulate, but that the “particles” take the form of progressive, rotating electromagnetic dipoles (or REDs) induced in the medium of space (Reference). It is the “collision” or regular deflections of these dipoles as they travel that gives the appearance of wave behaviour.
However that may be, the fundamental difference between waves and particles remains clear. This paper proposes a methodology of practical measurements which could settle the matter once and for all. Progressive waves can be mixed so as to cause peaks and dead spots, as crests and troughs of different wave trains meet and reinforce or cancel each other out in constructive or destructive interference. Under suitable conditions the result may be standing waves, when a pattern is produced at the point at which waves cross each other’s paths, before proceeding on their way.
This is different from “stationary” waves, in which wavelengths are constrained at nodes, like strings on a violin. The electromagnetic equivalent of these would be emissions from aerials, where the geometry of the aerial provides constraints, or from atoms where the constraints are inherent in the atomic structure.
The advantage of standing waves for experimental purposes is that their location can be predicted, since they do not move; the location can be specified by calculation. Detection is complicated by the fact that electromagnetic radiation can only be seen by looking in the direction from which it comes, because it has only one dimension, the dimension along which it travels. But the whole point about standing waves is that they need two dimensions, and the progressive waves which form them emerge from the area of the standing wave unchanged. Detection of a standing wave therefore requires a technique of looking from inside rather than outside the predicted area.
The proposal is to carry out measurements from inside the predicted area to establish the presence or absence of standing waves. Waves and particles would give very different results, which would be a clear indication of the nature of the underlying phenomenon.
The methodology proposed for electromagnetic radiation is as follows:
- to predict a pattern of standing waves from the crossing of progressive waves through a medium, in this case space.
- to make measurements to prove the existence of the pattern.
If there is no pattern, there are no waves. Of course, there is the possibility that, if a pattern is not detected, it may be a problem of measurement. This is addressed by making a range of different measurements under different conditions at different wavelengths.
Normally the evidence of wave behaviour of electromagnetic radiation comes from observations under the particular conditions which produce diffraction patterns. Regular light and dark patches are considered to be areas where waves are being constructive, so that their peaks coincide, or destructive, so that peaks coincide with troughs and nullify them.
The paper referred to above suggested a quite different mechanism: that dark areas are dark because light is deflected away from them, not because they are in some way neutralised by opposing oscillations.
In either case what is observed is the result of a process of diffraction. Diffraction appears to be static, though it cannot be, because light has a velocity (the speed of light), and so each part of an apparently static light beam must also have a velocity. The result is observable only because the pattern in which this results is static. The light which is detected has left the place in which the diffraction process has taken place, and it is observed by projection on a screen, in which case what is seen is its reflection, or looking along the successive directions from which light emerges.
By contrast standing waves cannot be seen except from inside the area in which they are formed. They too are dynamic phenomena, even though they appear to be static, because waves are progressing through them. The progressing waves are not changed by passing through the area of standing waves. Every part of a progressive wave which enters an area of standing wave also leaves it in the same direction. Thus no information about standing waves reaches the observer looking at the wave train emerging from the area.
That conclusion applies to observations made outside the zone of standing waves, but a similar argument applies for waves of electromagnetic radiation inside the zone which move completely independently. Standing waves generated by progressive waves which arrive from orthogonal directions i.e. along x and y axes, cannot be detected by looking along one or other of these directions inside the area of standing waves itself. If an observer looks along the direction of the x-axis, it tells nothing about light arriving along the y-axis.
This is quite different from standing waves on the surface of water, because these can be observed by looking down on the surface i.e. from a third dimension. For light there is only one dimension, the direction in which it is travelling.
The problem then is to generate standing electromagnetic waves in a predictable location, and to detect their existence by measurements made inside the zone in which they occur. The corollary is that the detector must be universal rather than directional. It needs to detect light, from whatever direction it arrives. If the detector is directional, like a telescope, it will see only what arrives from one direction e.g. the x-axis, which by the above argument is exactly what entered the area of standing waves.
With these caveats in mind, measurements may be made inside the predicted zone to see whether the pattern exists or not. If a pattern is found which conforms to prediction, the beams must be composed of waves. If none is found, then either there is a problem of detection, or electromagnetic radiation is not composed of waves and an alternative explanation must be found.
The proposal is to divide a coherent beam of electromagnetic radiation of a single frequency into two beams, to redirect them so that they cross orthogonally, to calculate the pattern of standing waves that this should produce and to detect whether the pattern exists.
The Figure shows what happens when two such wave trains cross. Their crests reinforce each other to form higher peaks, their troughs reinforce each other to form deeper valleys in a standing pattern. The line of the peaks forms a ridge of standing waves at 45º to the direction of progression, which is the pattern to be detected. As soon as the progressing waves emerge from the zone in which they interact, the lines of the crests resume their original orientations.
This analysis relates to two dimensions, because that makes possible the proposed method of detection. Adding a third beam of light in the z direction would make a more complex pattern and complicate detection considerably, but add nothing to the result.
The dimensions of the pattern in the Figure depend on wavelength according to a simple geometrical relationship. The pattern provides a broad grid for measurement, with wavelengths which may range from a few tenths of a nanometre to centimetres. Choice of wavelength depends on the detector and its resolution, but the pattern itself is quite general.
If electromagnetic radiation is not a wave, such a pattern cannot be formed. Particles from orthogonal directions would be detected without change by a directional detector, or be doubled in number if the detector was universal i.e. trapping particles from both x-axis and y-axis directions. The absence of a pattern would confirm the theory that light is composed of “particulate” entities which travel in straight lines independently
There are two measurable phenomena in the standing waves as depicted in the Figure. First, a diagonal perpendicular to the line of the ridges should show a pattern of light and dark spots corresponding to wavelengths, or possibly half wavelengths, because brightness may be caused by maximum amplitudes in both a positive and negative sense. In any case it should be a characteristic repeating pattern. Secondly, lines parallel to ridges should be alternately bright and dark.
If there are no waves, but simply streams of particles arriving at random locations, there should be no pattern. The detectors should see the same brightness across the whole width for the beam along the x-axis , and brightness should be doubled when the beam along the y-axis is added.
Thus the detector should be the sort that can pick up light from both directions i.e. non-directional, and both the detector and the walls should be totally non-reflective to avoid complications. Since beams of light must have a cross-sectional area, the detector sees not just spots but lines. The results should resemble spectrographs.
Since standing waves persist as long as the beams shine, there is no problem with the length of exposure of detectors. Low intensity beams would have the advantage of minimising possible interactions between them without damaging the pattern, which would build up by accumulation. The same sort of technique of long exposure as used in astronomy may be applied.
Given all this, options for detectors include the following.
A photographic plate placed perpendicular to the ridge of the standing wave ought to record regular patterns, and may be used at wavelengths ranging from visible to the longer end of infra-red. The grain of photographic emulsion is sufficiently fine to show individual lines under the microscope.
CCDs may do the same job as photographic film, but by a different mechanism.
Grids formed by microwaves may have the dimensions of centimetres or larger, which makes specifying their location easier. The problem may be to find detectors with sufficient resolution, but even then it may be necessary to move a detector along the diagonal line to pick up the pattern of bright spots, unless the grid dimensions are large enough to build an array. However, the lengths involved make that easier, and the presence or absence of a pattern would be valuable evidence.
Confirmation of the nature of electromagnetic radiation may already exist in the phenomenon of laser cooling. Laser cooling is a technique used to cool an atom to temperatures below those obtainable by conventional means. Lasers beams of the appropriate frequency are trained on the atom. The result is a reduction of the atom’s measured temperature.
Various explanations of the phenomenon have been given ranging from quantum mechanics to the exchange of momentum of photons, but the fact remains that the addition of energy to the system causes a decrease of temperature, which is contrary to the laws of thermodynamics.
The theory of light as rotating electromagnetic dipoles gives a simpler explanation. REDs are not energy, but they transport energy which is realised when they are absorbed. Thus there is no thermodynamic objection to cooling with REDs. In the circumstances which require laser cooling, residual heat lies in the irregular orbiting of electrons around the atom. When a RED of the appropriate frequency passes and interacts with an atom which has an aberrant electron, resonance with the atomic structure sweeps the electron back into place by a process of absorption and re-emission, leaving a more stable orbit. This correction occurs only in the direction of the axis along which the RED is travelling, say the x-axis, because there is no component of force in the other orthogonal directions.
If an identical RED, as would be expected in a laser, travels along the y-axis and meets the same atom, a further correction takes place in the other axis of the xy plane, which adds to the first. Similarly, if an identical RED travelling along the z-axis meets the same atom, there is a third correction, which completes the action of firmly putting the electron back in its place in three dimensions. Each correction reduces the aberration of the electronic orbit, which is manifested as a decrease of temperature, a stepwise reduction.
If the electromagnetic radiation was wave-like, the first dose of correction would reduce temperature, but the effect of the second dose would depend on where the atom was located, according to the above analysis of standing waves. If it was in a bright spot, there would be a reduction, but if it was in a dead spot, the first reduction would simply be cancelled out, and no reduction of temperature would occur. The third dose from the final orthogonal direction would merely re-institute the first reduction.
In fact it is reported that three stepwise reductions do in fact occur. By the above argument this is probably incompatible with the wave theory, so that the evidence favours particles.
To pursue the particle theory further, if light consists of photons, it is not clear how such particles could withdraw energy from the electronic structures of atoms by collision. To justify the mechanism at all it is necessary to postulate that photons have momentum, which means mass. The cooling process then comprises shooting the electrons back into place, which seems rather improbable.
Rotating electromagnetic dipoles and the resonance which they induce seems a more likely mechanism for shedding unwanted vibrations, especially in three dimensions.
The proposed methodology attempts to prove a negative by the accumulation of evidence which swings the balance away from the wave theory towards the particle theory, and in particular the RED theory of electromagnetic radiation. It is difficult to argue against the formation of standing waves, if waves are considered to be responsible for diffraction and interference. These are simply the manifestation of the same phenomenon observed exogenously and indirectly.
The nature of light is so fundamental that it must be worth the effort to establish it beyond doubt it. There is the further point that the methodology provides a means of testing the continuity of the electromagnetic spectrum, if the same outcome is found across the whole range. New results from research into light suggests that there is plenty of scope for advances. A valid, unified theory of the nature of electromagnetic radiation could produce significant new discoveries.
The Nature of Light – A Unified Theory of Rotating Electromagnetic Dipoles. A.C.Sturt 7 May 2003 www.churingapublishing.com/relite_1.htm
(not stationary waves)
light beam has one dimension
standing waves two dimensions
predict pattern of standing waves
detect it by measurement
waves show constructive peaks or destructive troughs
for RED theory dark areas have no light
static diffraction pattern, dynamic process view from outside
standing waves must be viewed from inside the area in which form
not by looking along x- and y- axes
not the surface of a pool
detector must be universal not directional
result then yes or no
divide a coherent beam
but particles just double the intensity
perpendicular to line of ridges alternate bright and dark spots
parallels alternately bright and dark lines
laser cooling consistent with REDs
add “energy” to cool
photon theory requires them to have mass
proof by accumulation of evidence against
unified Theory of Light a major advance
Copyright A. C. Sturt 2005