Do individual photons of light each contain all the colors of the light spectrum or is each single photon a single color?

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Do individual photons of light each contain all the colors of the light spectrum or is each single photon a single color?

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Anonymous 0 Comments

A photon can only be a single color. Each photon has one wavelength. A wavelength can only correspond to one color. Light consisting only of 630 nm photons will appear red. Light consisting of 510 nm photons will appear green.

Some colors can only be produced by mixing light of different wavelengths.

Anonymous 0 Comments

Each photon is a single “color”. More specifically, each photon has a particular wavelength (or frequency) which corresponds to what we perceive as color. I think it’s important to note that human vision is somewhat subjective and more complicated than merely absorbing a photon and detecting its wavelength.

Without going too deep into it, our eyes only have three kinds of detectors and a particular wavelength of light will stimulate *some* of them some of the time, and it’s the combination of which detectors that are stimulated that our brain interprets as *color*. Our brains also do a lot of things like correcting for shadows and lighting and whatnot. Our vision can be tricked by absorbing several photons with different wavelengths. For example, each pixel in your screen is made of three sub-pixels, which are red, green, and blue. The screen never emits “yellow” photons: instead, it lights up the red a little bit and the green a little bit, which stimulates our eyes just like a yellow light.

Regardless: photons are emitted when charged particles (like electrons and protons) lose energy. The wavelength of the light corresponds with how much energy the particle lost. Typically this comes from an electron being energized into a higher “orbit” around its nucleus and then dropping back down into a lower “orbit,” emitting a photon in the process. Charged particles will absorb a photon and gain energy – which for an electron means going up to a “higher” energy state.

More energy in the photon means it has a smaller wavelength (and higher frequency). The electromagnetic spectrum – all of the energy levels that photons can have – goes from very very big radio waves (technically they can be as large as the universe but typically you’re looking at kilometers to meters) to microwaves to infrared light to all the visible light (which is a tiny little slice of the whole spectrum) to UV, X-ray, and gamma.

Anonymous 0 Comments

A photon can only be a single color. Each photon has one wavelength. A wavelength can only correspond to one color. Light consisting only of 630 nm photons will appear red. Light consisting of 510 nm photons will appear green.

Some colors can only be produced by mixing light of different wavelengths.

Anonymous 0 Comments

A photon can only be a single color. Each photon has one wavelength. A wavelength can only correspond to one color. Light consisting only of 630 nm photons will appear red. Light consisting of 510 nm photons will appear green.

Some colors can only be produced by mixing light of different wavelengths.

Anonymous 0 Comments

I wonder if you are trying to think how prisms work. You put in one color of light (white) and get the entire rainbow back out.

As others pointed out, light only has a single color at any particular time. The color of light is determined by its wavelength. HOWEVER the color that we see is the combination of all the different wavelengths of light hitting our eyes.

So, when we see sunlight or a flashlight that looks white, that is not because every single photon is “white”, but rather the sum of all the different colors mixing is perceived as white.

When you use something like a prism, what you are doing is taking the “white” light that has all the colors mixed together and seperating and organizing those colors. So all the red photons go one way and all the blue photons go the opposite way.

None of the colors have changed, they just are organized.

Anonymous 0 Comments

Photons, unlike matter, are very easy to create and destroy. Photons get created by just about anything that releases bursts of energy — fire, the sun, TV, lightning, etc. Even people create infrared photons — aka body heat. When it’s created, a photon’s wavelength depends on how much energy went into its creation (and some other factors). The photon is destroyed when it gets absorbed by matter — including, sometimes, your eyeball. Every wavelength corresponds to a color (or as an “invisible color” like ultraviolet or radio wave).

The color of a photon could change if the wavelength of the photon changes. On Earth, this is rare. Most photons you encounter will live a short and simple life as only one color. But if you can mess around with the speed of the photon, you can change its color. The most common example of this is “red shift.” Very distant stars look redder on Earth than they would if we were near the stars, because the expansion of the universe stretches out the wavelength of the photon over very long distances and very long time frames.

Anonymous 0 Comments

Each photon is a single “color”. More specifically, each photon has a particular wavelength (or frequency) which corresponds to what we perceive as color. I think it’s important to note that human vision is somewhat subjective and more complicated than merely absorbing a photon and detecting its wavelength.

Without going too deep into it, our eyes only have three kinds of detectors and a particular wavelength of light will stimulate *some* of them some of the time, and it’s the combination of which detectors that are stimulated that our brain interprets as *color*. Our brains also do a lot of things like correcting for shadows and lighting and whatnot. Our vision can be tricked by absorbing several photons with different wavelengths. For example, each pixel in your screen is made of three sub-pixels, which are red, green, and blue. The screen never emits “yellow” photons: instead, it lights up the red a little bit and the green a little bit, which stimulates our eyes just like a yellow light.

Regardless: photons are emitted when charged particles (like electrons and protons) lose energy. The wavelength of the light corresponds with how much energy the particle lost. Typically this comes from an electron being energized into a higher “orbit” around its nucleus and then dropping back down into a lower “orbit,” emitting a photon in the process. Charged particles will absorb a photon and gain energy – which for an electron means going up to a “higher” energy state.

More energy in the photon means it has a smaller wavelength (and higher frequency). The electromagnetic spectrum – all of the energy levels that photons can have – goes from very very big radio waves (technically they can be as large as the universe but typically you’re looking at kilometers to meters) to microwaves to infrared light to all the visible light (which is a tiny little slice of the whole spectrum) to UV, X-ray, and gamma.

Anonymous 0 Comments

Each photon is a single “color”. More specifically, each photon has a particular wavelength (or frequency) which corresponds to what we perceive as color. I think it’s important to note that human vision is somewhat subjective and more complicated than merely absorbing a photon and detecting its wavelength.

Without going too deep into it, our eyes only have three kinds of detectors and a particular wavelength of light will stimulate *some* of them some of the time, and it’s the combination of which detectors that are stimulated that our brain interprets as *color*. Our brains also do a lot of things like correcting for shadows and lighting and whatnot. Our vision can be tricked by absorbing several photons with different wavelengths. For example, each pixel in your screen is made of three sub-pixels, which are red, green, and blue. The screen never emits “yellow” photons: instead, it lights up the red a little bit and the green a little bit, which stimulates our eyes just like a yellow light.

Regardless: photons are emitted when charged particles (like electrons and protons) lose energy. The wavelength of the light corresponds with how much energy the particle lost. Typically this comes from an electron being energized into a higher “orbit” around its nucleus and then dropping back down into a lower “orbit,” emitting a photon in the process. Charged particles will absorb a photon and gain energy – which for an electron means going up to a “higher” energy state.

More energy in the photon means it has a smaller wavelength (and higher frequency). The electromagnetic spectrum – all of the energy levels that photons can have – goes from very very big radio waves (technically they can be as large as the universe but typically you’re looking at kilometers to meters) to microwaves to infrared light to all the visible light (which is a tiny little slice of the whole spectrum) to UV, X-ray, and gamma.

Anonymous 0 Comments

Photons, unlike matter, are very easy to create and destroy. Photons get created by just about anything that releases bursts of energy — fire, the sun, TV, lightning, etc. Even people create infrared photons — aka body heat. When it’s created, a photon’s wavelength depends on how much energy went into its creation (and some other factors). The photon is destroyed when it gets absorbed by matter — including, sometimes, your eyeball. Every wavelength corresponds to a color (or as an “invisible color” like ultraviolet or radio wave).

The color of a photon could change if the wavelength of the photon changes. On Earth, this is rare. Most photons you encounter will live a short and simple life as only one color. But if you can mess around with the speed of the photon, you can change its color. The most common example of this is “red shift.” Very distant stars look redder on Earth than they would if we were near the stars, because the expansion of the universe stretches out the wavelength of the photon over very long distances and very long time frames.

Anonymous 0 Comments

I wonder if you are trying to think how prisms work. You put in one color of light (white) and get the entire rainbow back out.

As others pointed out, light only has a single color at any particular time. The color of light is determined by its wavelength. HOWEVER the color that we see is the combination of all the different wavelengths of light hitting our eyes.

So, when we see sunlight or a flashlight that looks white, that is not because every single photon is “white”, but rather the sum of all the different colors mixing is perceived as white.

When you use something like a prism, what you are doing is taking the “white” light that has all the colors mixed together and seperating and organizing those colors. So all the red photons go one way and all the blue photons go the opposite way.

None of the colors have changed, they just are organized.