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Physics Challenge


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I have a challange for anybody who's good with physics...

 

 

If a single photon is projected flat out at a half-silvered (exactly 50% reflective) mirror, will it be deflected or go through? We're presuming the photon and the surface are entirely flat, and the collision of the photon into the mirror will be dead straight, so it would be like a right angle... description:

 

| <-- photon
|
|
|______ <--- mirror

 

 

 

So, start putting your brains to work.

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It has a 50% chance of either, hence "half-reflective". But, depending on your personal views, it has more chance one way.

If you believe a photon has mass: more chance it will reflect. Because if it has mass, presumably quantum tunneling theory applies. So it can possibly go through any surface, but it will usually bounce back.

If you believe it has no mass: equal chances of each way

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it would probably bounce back, but that would greatly depend on the temperature of the substance. the average kinetic energy at room temp would be enough to make the photon move back, but take it to extreme temps and the gap between the atoms and the electron shells would be enough to let it go through allthough this would be very hard to proove because if the surface reached a temp that would allow photons to pass it would be emmiting photons from the electrons dropping to a lower energy level. if that makes much sence to you

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