Photon vs Quantum
Photon is an elementary particle. Quantum is considered to be a discrete packet with energy stored in. Photon and quantum are two very important concepts discussed in modern physics. These concepts are widely used in fields such as quantum physics, quantum chemistry, electromagnetic theory, optics, particle physics etc. These concepts are also applied in many real world applications such as LASERs, high resolution microscopy, measurements of molecular distances, quantum cryptography, and photochemistry. It is vital to have a good understanding in photon and quantum in order to excel in such fields. In this article, we are going to discuss what photon and quantum are, their definitions, applications of photon and quantum, the similarities between them and finally the difference between photon and quantum.
What is a Photon?
Photon is an elementary particle. Elementary particle is a particle that does not have a substructure. Elementary particles are the building blocks of the universe from which all other particles are made. Photons belong to the category of elementary bosons. Albert Einstein is considered to be the father of the modern concept of photon. He used this concept to explain experimental observations that did not fit with the classical wave model of light. A photon is a particle with a zero rest mass, but it has a relativistic mass. It also has no electric charge. Photons do not decay spontaneously in the space. A photon moves at the speed of light in space. The energy of a photon is given by E=hf, where energy is denoted by E, frequency of the photon is denoted by f and Plank’s constant is denoted by h. This equation is also represented in the form E=hc/λ, where speed of light is denoted by c and wavelength is denoted by λ. Photons like all other quantum objects exhibit wave like and particle like properties. This dual wave-particle nature is called wave particle duality of a photon. Photons are emitted in many natural processes, for examples when a charge is accelerated, during a molecular, atomic, or nuclear transition to a lower level, and when a particle and its corresponding antiparticle are in annihilation.
What is a Quantum?
The term quantum comes from the Latin ‘quantus’ for ‘how much’. A quantum is considered to be ‘a discrete packet’ with energy stored in them. Energy of matter is not continuous. That means, the transfer of any quantity of energy is not possible. Scientists have discovered that energy is quantized and can only be transferred in discrete units (or packets) of size hf. Each of the packets of energy is called ‘a quantum’. For example, a photon is a single quantum of light. The plural vote of quantum is called quanta. The concept of quantization was discovered by Max Plank. He used this concept to explain the emission of radiation from heated objects called black body radiation.
What is the difference between Photon and Quantum?
• A photon is an elementary particle, but a quantum is not considered as an elementary particle.
• A photon has the properties of both wave like and particle like, but quantum does not.
• Quantum can be described as a measure of quantity, but a photon is not about a measure of quantity. A photon can be defined as a quantum of energy.