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Does Your Antenna Radiate Particles?

July 29th Fact-of-the-Day

There are two correct, but intuitively much different, ways to perceive electromagnetic radiation. Almost everyone involved with radio perceives electromagnetic radiation propagating through space as waves. However, in the well-established Standard Model of particle physics electromagnetic fields are quantum fields and electromagnetic radiation propagates as particles called photons that arise as quanta corresponding to those fields. Unlike protons and neutrons, photons have zero rest mass. (Albert Einstein's special relativity theory predicted that massless particles travel at the speed of light in a vacuum.) Furthermore, unlike protons and neutrons which are composed of smaller particles called quarks that are bound together with massless particles called gluons, photons (and electrons) are elemental particles that are not composed of smaller particles. Transmitting antennas do indeed radiate particles! ©2005 Martek International All rights reserved.


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