The Nature of Light Chapter uri icon


  • 2008 by Taylor & Francis Group, LLC. The photon concept is one of the most debated issues in the history of physical science. Some thirty years ago, we published an article in Physics Today entitled The Concept of the Photon,1 in which we described the photon as a classical electromagnetic field plus the fluctuations associated with the vacuum. However, subsequent developments required us to envision the photon as an intrinsically quantum mechanical entity, whose basic physics is much deeper than can be explained by the simple classical wave plus vacuum fluctuations picture. These ideas and the extensions of our conceptual understanding are discussed in detail in our recent quantum optics book.2 In this chapter we revisit the photon concept based on examples from these sources and more.

author list (cited authors)

  • Muthukrishnan, A., Scully, M. O., & Suhail Zubairy, M.

editor list (cited editors)

  • Roychoudhuri, C., Kracklauer, A. F., & Creath, K.

Book Title

  • The Nature of Light: What is a Photon?

publication date

  • January 1, 2017 11:11 AM