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More Optics

Traveling Light

'Tis said that light travels in straight lines. 'Tis true, but that rule is honored more in the breach than in the observance. There are many ways to leave the straight and narrow. The line between me and the sun curved at sunrise and sunset. The same goes for the moon, when it sinks below the horizon and remains visible a while longer. Light turns sharply as it goes through my window, and again when it enters my eye. That fish in the lake is not where he seems to be, and the soda straw is not really bent.

We drive along a blacktop road, but it reflects sky light. At such an angle it reflects half of the light that strikes it. The other half is absorbed in the asphalt. A poor photon in the wrong half says, "why me?"

You see, all of the neg-pos in a photon is on one plane. An ordinary light source sends out photons whose planes are in all orientations. Some photons have planes that are somewhat horizontal. Others have planes that are more like vertical.

Those photons whose planes are nearly vertical, will have one of the charges hitting the road an instant sooner than its partner charge. The one that hits first is stopped, while the other charge is caused to trip, change course, and be absorbed in the opaque substance of the road.

Those photons whose planes are nearly parallel to the roadway, strike the ground with neg and pos at the same time, causing the photon to bounce. Since there is no transfer of neg-pos from the photon to the ground, there is no alteration of the energy of the photon, so it bounces on an angle exactly equal to the angle of incidence.

If anything other than a neg-pos pair bounces, it gains or loses energy, depending on which party to the collision is more stubborn. The party that gains the energy, receives neg-pos from the loser. A neg-pos pair is incapable of gaining or receiving anyhing smaller than itself, because there is nothing smaller. That is why a moving neg-pos pair is always traveling at the speed of light.

We digressed while the photon bounced. All the reflected photons have planes that are nearly parallel to the ground. That is polarized light, and the ground was its polarizer. That is why some drivers wear glasses that are polarized with planes that are vertical. The horizontally polarized glare can't pass through those glasses.

Look across any table top. The smaller the angle between your line of sight and the surface, the more reflection you see.



The source of visible light is the electron of an atom.

There is a place for each electron in the atom. It is the point of zero net force. In any other position there is a combination of pushes and pulls from the atomic nucleus and the other electrons, which, being unequal, cause the electron to move. The one place in the atom where the electron can rest is its point of zero net force.

When a resting electron is disturbed by the arrival of an outside particle, the electron moves away from its zero point. When the intruder leaves, the electron returns to its zero point, but can't stop there, because it has momentum. However, as it moves away from the zero point, it is attracted by net forces that increase as the distance increases. The electron slows. It decelerates. A decelerating electron emits a neg-pos pair of bits. The electron returns and passes through the zero point again. This process is repeated until the electron rests. The amount of motion lost is equivalent to the number of neg-pos bits emitted. It is the mechanism that is at the basis for radiation of light. However it is not a light photon unless it forms a thirty centimeters long procession of bit pairs.

Each species of atom emits aa spectrum of several colors of light, each color representing a particular frequency. The frequency is determined by the forces between an electron and the rest of the parts of the atom.

An attempt to explain atomic spectra, which has been accepted by the community of scientists, although it has many obvious defects, is the quantum theory.

According to the quantum theory, each electeron occupies a place in an enewrgy level; and when the electron emits a photon, the electron drops to a lower energy level. The lowest allowable level is called zero, and the rest are one, two, three etc. Dropping to zero from any other level, the electron emits an ultraviolet photon. In some elements, like copper, X rays are emitted in the drop to level zero.

When we view the electron as the receiver of a photon, we discover that the above paragraph is untenable. For example, a photon of red light of a particular frequency that is one of the colors of the spectrum of a certain atom, arrives at the electron of that atom when that electron is at rest at its point of zero net force. When that photon has been completely absorbed, the energy of this electron is very much less than the quantum theory's level one. In fact the electron is still at level zero. The electron is oscillating back and forth, with its point of zero net force at the center of the motion.

When ultraviolet light of a certain frequency that can be absorbed by the atom of the previous paragraph arrives at the electron of that atom, when that electron is at rest at the point of zero net force, the electron oscillates with its center of motion at the point of zero force. The difference between the oscillation of this electron and the oscillation of the above paragraph is the much greater amplitude of the swing.

Now we must examine the matter in depth. Each electron has a frequency determined by the rate of increase of the restoring force on the electron as it moves away from the point of zero net force. The greater the amplitude of oscillation, the stronger the restoring force. The amplitude grows with the increase in number of bit pairs that are absorbed by the receiving electron. The number of bits in a photon is the number absorbed. A photon of red light has fewer bit pairs than a photon of ultraviolet light.

What determines which photon will be absorbed is the frequency of the photon. Each bit pair must arrive at the electron when the electron is passing its point of zero net force. If the bits and the electrons are out of synchronization, the bits pass through the atom unhindered.

An ordinary oscillator maintains the same frequency for whatever amplitude it attains. The electron is different. The electron oscillates and has a higher frequency when it has a higher amplitude. The transition from one frequency to another is not smooth. As long as the restoring force increases linearly, (meaning at a fixed rate of growth), the frequency does not change.

In the case of the oscillating electron, the rate of growth makes sudden changes at several fixed distances. That is the reason why the electron whose limit of oscillation is close to the center of its motion is of lower frequency; and the electron that oscillates at a higher frequency has a limit that is far from its center of motion.

The atom does not have the energy levels arranged as described in quantum theory. (with the ultraviolet at the lowest level). The red is near the low end, and the violet is near the high end.




Incidentally, one finds a chance bit of aadditional evidence that an electron in an atom oscillates in a straight line, in the account of the emmision of photons in a transister type laser. When an electron is drawn from the body of the transister, it commences oscillation as soon as the charge that attracts it is removed. It oscillates toward and away from the body of the transister in a straight line. The oscillation ceases when an entire photon has been emitted.

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