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okay, so how does a photon mediate electromagnetism?
Im still having trouble understanding this idea. If the strength of electric attraction between two objects is a product of its distance, and has nothing to do with what is in between the objects is true, then in order for photons to be able to carry this force they too must be unaffected by anything. They aren't, you can block them. Being able to block any photons makes the way they work inconsistent with how electric force works.What am I missing, that's super obvious?
Is the answer, hypothetical virtual photons carry electromagnetism, and virtual photons are completely different from electromagnetic photons, visible light, xrays etc. ?
Let me try to explain the whole photon business as I understand it, thanks to many people on this forum (including lightarrow), and from my own independent reading. The oscillatory energy of Planck's 'harmonic oscillators', E, equals nhν. In otherwords, E is an integer multiple of hν (h is Planck's constant and ν is the frequency of the oscillation). The number 'n' is the number of photons (of energy hν) that any single oscillator has. If these oscillators are charged, then they produce oscillations in their surrounding electromagnetic fields with the same oscillatory energy, E, as the charged oscillator. These EM waves are light and when we say there are photons of light we mean that the oscillation in the electromagnetic field has an energy equal to 'n', the number of photons, times hν. Now, knowing this, I disagree that these photons and the so-called 'virtual photons' are essentially the same, unless it can be shown that there are harmonic oscillators inside of individual charged particles (electrons for example). By giving the mediators of the EM force the name 'photon,' we are comparing them to the photons of Planck, which are packages of energy of the value hν.
I have never understood this implication of HUP before but I think I have just sorted it out. As the time interval gets really small, the minimum energy change gets to be so large that a particle can't help but exist for that small moment of time.Getting back to photons, the idea that I was trying to make clear in my previous post is that photons are not particles but a proportional measure of the amplitude (which can only be integer multiples of the minimum amplitude) of the oscillations of the SHO's in an object. The energy of a SHO is E = kA2/2 = nhν. The 'quantization' here is in the energy of an oscillation and so I am puzzled over how you can take this concept and make the leap to a 'quantization' in an electric field, which may very well not be oscillating. It seems to me that all of the different things that have been found to be 'quantized' involve oscillations...energy of light, energy levels of electrons (standing waves) in atoms, etc. Are you implying that electric fields are always non-constant, that they are always oscillating even if they are produced from a static charge?
Except that photons are the packets of oscillatory energy that a harmonic oscillator has. Photons are not objects but are like Joules: they are units of energy (the conversion factor is hν J = 1 photon). Saying that electric fields are made of photons is like saying it is made of cubits or seconds...preposterous. Of course, I understand that I am the last person to claim he understands QED but if this is the conclusion of the theory, it can't be valid. Maybe someone can explain the theory better...it is an experimentally proven theory (accurate to 10-12 according to Wikipedia). I still think that anything that is quantized has to have something to do with a SHO just as every SHO's energy is quantized.