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  • OT : What happens to photons when

    ...they are absorbed by the dark material they hit? Do they turn into something else?

  • #2
    My understanding is that depending on reflectivity of the material, a percentage is reflected -- the rest is turned into heat...unless we are talking about photovoltaic materail where it is turned into electric energy..by knocking out electron in outer shell of atom.

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    • #3
      The Photons are adhered to the surface of the dark material and are only released from the surface in the presence of an even darker material like a black hole. I don't really know. I do know that I had a red semi transparent refrigerator magnet on my white refrigerator door for several years at a location in direct sunlight (through a window on my house). The magnet on the refrigerator magnet protruded on the back side so no part of the red semi transparent plastic was touching the fridge door, The area under the refrigerator magnet turned red; I tried to clean it off but it was really stuck on. So this is a story of a personal observation that I made that proves to me that light is in fact matter. Light transferred matter on to/into the surface of my refrigerator door.

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      • #4
        They are absorbed and increase the kinetic energy by a teensy tiny amount. In other words, the absorbing material heats up. It's how laser cutters work. Light so focused that the material melts / burns / vaporizes.
        nothing can stop me now

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        • #5
          https://www.scientificamerican.com/a...does-light-tr/
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          • #6
            as a window tinter i should probably know the answer to this , i don't . i do know that heat is transferred in three different ways that we deal with . visible light , Infrared and ultra violet . film handles it by reflection and absorption .
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            • #7

              OMG! That's Funny! Scott Auerbach was my Phys. Chem Prof. at UMass when I was in grad school eons ago. Nice guy.

              For the OP, don't think of photons as particles. Photons are discrete packets of energy (Quantum) that can behave like both particles and waves. But they are not particles per se. As such, energy can not be created nor destroyed; only transformed from one form to another. So when a photon collides with a surface, the photon (or energy packet) can be absorbed and excite the atoms of the surface material (depending on what it is). This could result in heat, light or some other form of energy - but it the amount of energy is constant.

              That said, a physicist could probably offer a much more detailed and accurate explanation. I'm a mere chemist and that was a long, long time ago...
              Carbon13

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              • #8
                Despite what Einstein said about light being "massless," his own equation, E=mc^2 shows that nothing is without mass. You can't have energy without mass. And since photons carry momentum, they do indeed have mass.

                Light absorbed on a material is converted to heat, or it moves electrons in the case of the photoelectric effect. Heat is motion of atoms and electricity is motion of electrons.
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                • #9
                  Originally posted by revelator View Post
                  My understanding is that depending on reflectivity of the material, a percentage is reflected -- the rest is turned into heat.
                  Reflectivity isn't the only factor, so is color. It's commonly assumed that since black reflects the least light that it converts the greatest percentage of heat, but green has that property, as it reflects the least amount of red and infra-red. That's why chlorophyll is green, and therefore plant leaves aren't black.

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                  • #10
                    I bet we could buy an essay written on this topic...

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Shawn_K View Post
                      The Photons are adhered to the surface of the dark material and are only released from the surface in the presence of an even darker material like a black hole. I don't really know. I do know that I had a red semi transparent refrigerator magnet on my white refrigerator door for several years at a location in direct sunlight (through a window on my house). The magnet on the refrigerator magnet protruded on the back side so no part of the red semi transparent plastic was touching the fridge door, The area under the refrigerator magnet turned red; I tried to clean it off but it was really stuck on. So this is a story of a personal observation that I made that proves to me that light is in fact matter. Light transferred matter on to/into the surface of my refrigerator door.
                      ​Try some sort of bleach, either chlorine or oxygen bleach. Maybe try using a kitchen cleanser that has bleach.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Pete Schumacher View Post
                        Despite what Einstein said about light being "massless," his own equation, E=mc^2 shows that nothing is without mass. You can't have energy without mass. And since photons carry momentum, they do indeed have mass.

                        Light absorbed on a material is converted to heat, or it moves electrons in the case of the photoelectric effect. Heat is motion of atoms and electricity is motion of electrons.
                        Ok, I'm that kid that kept asking "why" until his parents said to quit asking...LOL

                        If the photon does have mass, is it fundamentally different that an electron or any of the other subatomic particles? In other words, when we say it gets absorbed, does it "stick" to the molecules of the absorbing material, does it become part of those molecules or ???

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by johngalt47 View Post

                          Ok, I'm that kid that kept asking "why" until his parents said to quit asking...LOL

                          If the photon does have mass, is it fundamentally different that an electron or any of the other subatomic particles? In other words, when we say it gets absorbed, does it "stick" to the molecules of the absorbing material, does it become part of those molecules or ???
                          Think about our eyes. Our eyes don't fill up with photons as we get older, right? Light is obviously going in, and going *somewhere*, or becoming something else. Since a senior citizen's eyes don't glow in the dark, the photons must be absorbed and changed.

                          It basically ceases to exist as a photon. It is absorbed, and becomes something else. Physics allows trades like this to be made.

                          When a photon strikes another subatomic particle, it is absorbed. The photon ceases to be as a thing we can point to. The object has taken the energy of the photon and converted it into a subtle atomic vibration. It will hold onto that energy for some period, and will re-emit it, most likely as a new low-energy, long-wavelength photon--infrared light. Heat.

                          In fact, thinking about it from the other direction, if something is REALLY hot, it will begin to glow, no matter what it is made of. That's because there's so much kinetic energy in the system that it is giving off both infrared light and visible light. Plug in a light bulb, and the temperature rises to 3000C in a fraction of a second, screaming photons into the room at various wavelengths. Where do those photons come from? They're "fresh", created just microseconds ago from the kinetic energy of the filament's molecules.

                          Photons are indeed different than other subatomic particles. It is a type of boson, not a fermion like a proton or neutron. A more fundamental particle than what we would classically call "matter". That is probably why its behavior as both particle *and* wave came as such a scientific surprise. Until about 1925 we had no clue sh*t could do that.
                          nothing can stop me now

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Pete Schumacher View Post
                            Despite what Einstein said about light being "massless," his own equation, E=mc^2 shows that nothing is without mass. You can't have energy without mass. And since photons carry momentum, they do indeed have mass..
                            And of course you [sic] are way smarter than Einstein.

                            http://www.quora.com/Do-photons-the-...ht-have-mass-1
                            See also:

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                            • #15
                              Ok, now that last equation is more helpful.

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