Light slows down in water. That’s a known experimental fact. The usual explanation is that, when light advances through water, it collides with water molecules. So it zigs and zags through the water, and this zig-zagging action slows it down.

This makes no sense (sorry, noble predecessors!)

After showing why it makes no sense, I will present my solution, STRUCTURED LIGHT. The reasoning squarely contradicts Einstein on the photon, and its triumph helps to demonstrate how right it is.

Structured Light Slows Down In Empty Space. I Apply To H2O

Structured Light Slows Down In Empty Space. I Apply To H2O

If the zig-zag collision theory of the slowing down of light were true, light would lose energy during these collisions. (Light speed through water is only 2/3 c; the collision theory would mean that laser light through water would cover one third more distance, simply due to haphazard collisions; thus laser light would certainly losing coherence.)

Simple basic physics shows that light loses energy: if particle P hits particle W, and particle P’s momentum changes, W momentum also changes, and so does its energy. Energy is conserved (at least for times long enough), so as P gives energy to W, P loses energy. Here P is for Photon, of course, and W for Water. (Remember Quantum Physics does not contradict Classical Mechanics; instead, it gives it a SUBSTRUCTURE, in the finer domain that subtends the Classical domain.)

So the slow-down through collision theory predicts that light will lose energy when it goes through water.

However, it does not. Light comes out of water at the same exact color, thus energy, as it came in. Laser light keeps being laser light under water. It surely would not if every single photon of the beam had to collide with a water molecule. (Notice in the link how confused research presently is about optics and liquids; my proposed reasoning is at a scale thousands of times smaller.)

Proposing that light slows down from collision is thus wrong.

So, what’s my solution?

Absolute Wave Theory.

According to said theory, propagating photons are NOT particles (Va De Retro, Einsteinas!)

What are photons, when viewed as Absolute Waves?

Einstein proposed that photons (“Lichtquanten”) were points. He made it up. He had no proof, whatsoever, that this was true. It just sounded good. Worse: he did not need point-particle photons to explain the photoelectric effect. That error has poisoned the well of physics for 110 years. Thousands of physicists repeated what Einstein said. That Einstein was given the Nobel Prize for this exact idea, is no proof of its validity, as far as I am concerned. That makes me special.

But I have very good reasons to believe photons are not points. Because:

  1. I don’t know what points are. Not only I do not know what points are physically, I don’t even know what they are, mathematically. (By the way, I know Real Analysis and some Model Theory, so I am not as naïve as I may sound to the unwary.)
  2. Light diffracts and bends around corners. Isolated photons do this. How could they do it, if they were not spread about transversally?

Here is my conclusion: Photons are structured waves. This basically means that they have some width.

This is now experimentally supported. What was published in Science on January 22, 2015?

Spatially structured photons that travel in free space slower than the speed of light. (Daniel Giovannini1,*, & Al.)

“Abstract: That the speed of light in free space is constant is a cornerstone of modern physics. However, light beams have finite transverse size, which leads to a modification of their wavevectors resulting in a change to their phase and group velocities. We study the group velocity of single photons by measuring a change in their arrival time that results from changing the beam’s transverse spatial structure. Using time-correlated photon pairs we show a reduction of the group velocity of photons in both a Bessel beam and photons in a focused Gaussian beam. In both cases, the delay is several micrometers over a propagation distance of the order of 1 m. Our work highlights that, even in free space, the invariance of the speed of light only applies to plane waves.”

So what do I propose?

That water structures photons propagating through it. Structuring is what slows light down. Instead of having just one mask, as in the Glasgow experiment, we have thousand within one wavelength of light. Thus, instead of being slowed down .0001%, it’s slowed down of the order of 10% or more.

As in the Glasgow experiment, photons are not “particles”, they are spread about (they have a “TRANSVERSE structure”).

When a photon enters water, should it NOT hit a water molecule, the photonic wave will get endowed with a complex topology of non-trivial genus (because the non-linear wave that constitutes the photon has to have avoided nuclei and orbiting electrons, and the only way it can do that is by evolving holes in the right places).

As a photon passes a water molecular group, it slows down a bit. The water molecules act like the mask the physicists applied to slow down the beam photons in their experiment. Those breaking episodes pile up, and integrate in a global slow-down.

Frequency, thus energy, is unaffected.

Some may object that the theory is obviously false: should not the slow-downs pile up, and thus, the thicker the water, the more photons will slow down?

No. In the slowing down of the Structured Photons in vacuum, the slowing down is necessitated by the collapse of the photon back into a linear wave. It’s a one time event. However, in water, when the photon has acquired a structure which is enough like a sieve, after going around enough water molecules, it needs time to restructure. So over that distance, it has slowed down. Then the process repeats.

Let me quote a bit more from the violation of light speed Glasgow University paper (from behind its pay wall):

“The speed of light in free space propagation is a fundamental quantity. It holds a pivotal role in the foundations of relativity and field theory, as well as in technological applications such as time-of-flight measurements. It has previously been experimentally established that single photons travel at the group velocity (20). We have now shown that transverse structuring of the photon results in a decrease in the group velocity along the axis of propagation. We emphasize that in our full-aperture experiments, no pre- or post-selection is applied to the spatially structured photons, and that the group velocities are always compared over the same propagation distance, much as if they were in a race. The effect can be derived from a simple geometric argument, which is also supported by a rigorous calculation of the harmonic average of the group velocity. Beyond light, the effect observed will have applications to any wave theory, including sound waves.”

The authors have declared that they could not see any application of the effect they discovered. In particular not in cosmology.

However, I just found one, in everyday physics.

Einstein said nobody understood Quantum Mechanics. Feynman added that all the mystery of the Quantum was in the Double Slit Experiment. Here I explain speed of light in a medium by piling up thousands of double slit experiments within a wavelength of light, and the slow-down they bring. (It’s not quite the Double Slit as it involves continual collapses along the propagation axis.)

The structured photon is the fundamental idea, the order one idea, of the Absolute Quantum Wave theory. The preceding, and the Glasgow experiment itself, establish it further (more is coming soon).

There is no experimental support for Einstein’s views on the spatial the nature of the photon as a particle, there is plenty of evidence against it (the latest being Structured Light).

By contrast there is increasing evidence for the Absolute Wave Theory. Einstein and company, bless their souls, pontificated about a lot of things they did not know anything about. That photons were point-particles is one of them. Time to move on.

Patrice Ayme’

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  1. dominique deux Says:

    But but but, photons do lose energy in water. Warming, inter alia, the oceans.
    And they do change color ie wavelength – as a deep sea diver should recognize.
    Are you contending this is only because they encounter non-water particles? Would a 100 meter deep body of 100% pure water (with no pollutants, salts or isotopes) stay the same temperature under sunlight?
    Not saying your wider conclusions have no merit. Just musing.


    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      Dear Dominique: You are entirely correct. It is indeed true that light will collide with water molecules, and warm up the ocean. By 100 meters down, pretty much all light has been extinguished. That helps prove my point, BTW.

      Physics is a field famous for its massless trains proceeding, frictionless, etc.

      Many experiences are done TO THE LIMIT: if light enters a medium (water, or a prism, or a lens), it “immediately” (within a wavelength or so) slows down. That’s what I am trying to explain. That some photons, and ultimately all of them, will collide, I do not deny.

      Actually the fact water is deprived of photons at the depth of, say, a kilometer, is used in various under-sea observatories: a particle travelling above the (water) speed of light, leaves a shock wave, the Cerenkov radiation. That radiation can be detected, because its photons are the only photons around (there are such observatory off Provence, one is off Hawai’i)


      • John Rogers Says:

        Wow, just wow.
        Not to drift off point (sic), but your criticism of Einstein and colleagues reminds me of the old economics joke:

        Two economists fall into a deep pit.

        First economist: This is terrible! How do we get out of here?
        Second economist: Assume a ladder . . .


  2. gmax Says:

    Hmm. Wow. Should you be proven right, this a major advance in physics


  3. ianmillerblog Says:

    I would disagree that the “zig-zagging” makes no sense. The maths that Feynman used in is book on quantum electrodynamics appears to me to make sense, although of course that does not mean they are correct. Of course the Feynman “phase term” is effectively an associated wave.

    One important point is that if light emerges from the medium (easier to do with glass than water) it has the same frequency that entered the medium, which means its energy is constant.

    Surely the fact that light heats water is because the light is absorbed by entities in the water, and thus transfers its energy as the light is absorbed.


    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      Dear Ian: In his most famous paper, Feynman did seven errors one way, and then seven, the other way, getting it right in the end.
      Much of QED makes no sense (whatever THEY say).
      In the link I provided, simple laser physics leads to no good theoretical answers.
      Often, in theoretical physics, reasonings are obtained through a selection by veracity… of the conclusion. As you said.

      I believe in simple mechanisms. Technique such as going to “imaginary time” to effect a computation, a basic tech in QED, do not seem, to me, to carry truth. The mechanism I proposed is very simple:

      1) photons going through a medium, avoid to interact with the medium in a PARTICULAR way (no particle to particle interaction)
      BTW, notice that’s pretty antinomic to QED, which is all about POINT interaction (thus causing infinities). So basically, here I come with my low energy physics, and I make fun of these guys.

      2) the avoidance-reacquainting mechanism cost time.


  4. The Future Of The Soul? | Patrice Ayme's Thoughts Says:

    […] Ever more arguments, and even now experiments, show that those waves, while not particles, are endowed with an ethereal existence capable of differences, thus identity. […]


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