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radcliff's avatar

At what temperature does a photon explode?

Asked by radcliff (253points) May 12th, 2011

I can not find this answer anywhere!

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12 Answers

Rarebear's avatar

That’s because it doesn’t.

flutherother's avatar

I don’t think photons decay, disintegrate or explode.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

They might be a wave or they might be a particle or both.

6rant6's avatar

Are you thinking maybe, “Light bulb?”

Qingu's avatar

@radcliff, that’s not how photons work.

An explosion is caused by a chemical reaction involving oxygen. This chemical reaction takes place at a much larger scale than photons even exist at. Also, photons themselves mediate (carry the force) of the chemical reaction. An explosion is, in a way, made of photons.

Your question is sort of like asking “how many taste buds does a cell have?” Cells don’t have taste buds. Taste buds are made out of cells.

hiphiphopflipflapflop's avatar

I have read that gamma rays can spontaneously turn into electron-positron pairs which quickly recombine into a gamma ray photon.

It’s an interesting question of how one defines temperature on small scales in a vacuum. We usually think of temperature as a collective property of large ensembles of atoms.

King_Pariah's avatar

Like what all of thee above said mate, photons don’t explode, they’re light. Now you can get particles to “explode” but that requires a particle accelerator and something to collide with, not heat.

@Qingu you don’t need oxygen for an explosion. I know there was a case way back when where a guy ignited chlorine and hydrogen gas. BOOM.

mattbrowne's avatar

When the temperature was 10^32 K (before inflation) photons did not exist, right?

So can we argue that 10^32 K would destroy (“explode”) existing photons? Link in a big crunch scenario?

And what about hot black holes? Don’t they destroy (“explode”) existing photons?

Do photons “disintegrate” into strings?

King_Pariah's avatar

@mattbrowne no, if anything with blackholes or a bid crunch scenario, it’s “imploding” them with tremendous pressure to make it part of its supermass, exploding implies an increase in entropy, crunching something back into matter is definitely decreasing entropy. As for disintegrate into strings, that is still hotly debated among physicists.

mattbrowne's avatar

@King_Pariah – I was using the word explode figuratively. So this means photons do not vanish, but their energy is converted to mass, making a black hole a little heavier. Correct?

Rarebear's avatar

@hiphiphopflipflapflop Yes, I believe that’s part of quantum electrodynamics.

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