Photon Interactions


In current physics, particle energy and photon energy are not related through equations. This is another example of the separation of the laws of physics between the classical and quantum worlds. The equation to relate energy to mass is Einstein’s famous E=mc2 and the equation for photon energy is Planck’s E=hf. There is no method in physics to describe the energy change from particles to photons or vice versa. Modern physics believes that there is a separation of the laws of physics based on size or speed.

Classical vs Quantum




All energy is waves, but it comes in different forms: longitudinal and transverse. Furthermore, the motion of these waves may be traveling or standing. However, a fundamental rule in physics is the conservation of energy. Energy, within a defined volume, remains constant. In energy wave theory, particles have standing, longitudinal wave form. For photons, it is a transverse wave form. The energy for these waves are calculated from a fundamental energy wave equation, that is then derived into two types for longitudinal and transverse waves. This provides the mechanism to translate between the two types of wave forms using the conservation of energy principle.

There are various scenarios of photon interactions with electrons. This page describes the process for each of these scenarios (although it doesn’t cover photon interactions with an atomic nucleus – which was briefly described on the photons page). A summary is provided first and then each scenario is described in detail to compare it to experimental observations.

Photon interaction summary
Photon Interactions with Electrons – Summary


In the right column of the table is the Energy Wave Theory (EWT) equation for the equivalent of what is measured outside of the atomic nucleus as a conservation of energy (the equations do not consider recoil energy in the nucleus).  The left side of each equation is the energy before the event; the right side of the equation is the energy after the event.  The symbols represent:

  • El – Longitudinal energy
  • Et – Transverse energy
  • KE – Kinetic energy

The diagrams assume a knowledge of the components for aether wave motion (granules) and particle formation (wave centers), and how they interact, as shown on the photons page. They key to understanding the next section is resonance frequency as it relates to the electron’s spin.


Photon Creation

Spontaneous Emission

In spontaneous emission experiments, an electron moves to an orbital closer to the atomic nucleus, generating a photon.  This may occur for an electron that drops from a higher-level orbital or it may also occur for an electron that is outside of the atom and is captured into an orbital.

An electron in a higher orbital or outside of the electron will be attracted to and move to the orbital where the sum of forces is zero.  Before stopping, it will vibrate and produce two photons.  The vibration converts longitudinal wave energy to transverse energy.  It vibrates perpendicular to the direction between the electron and the nucleus as it reaches the orbital and begins to spin synchronous to the proton. The temporary vibration of the electron as it settles into position creates two transverse waves traveling in opposite directions.  One travels away from the nucleus and is measured in experiments.  The other photon travels to the proton and is absorbed by the massive nucleus as the recoil energy.

Spontaneous emission


Stimulated Emission

In stimulated emission, an electron is first excited to a higher level.  While excited, a second photon is used to excite the electron further.  In experiments, this results in two photons being generated that leave the atom.  The two photons will be identical in energy, spin and polarization.

Starting with #1 (figure below), an already-excited electron is struck by a photon.  This excites the electron momentarily and then it returns to the excited orbital, which still temporarily has increased amplitude.  Upon reaching this orbital, where the sum of forces is temporarily zero, it vibrates and creates two photons traveling in opposite directions.  Similar to spontaneous emission, one photon will leave the atom and one will reach and be absorbed by the nucleus as recoil.

Finally, the temporary increased amplitude between the electron and nucleus disappears.  Once it disappears, the electron is attracted again to the nucleus and moves to the ground state where amplitude is minimized (sum of forces is again zero).  Upon reaching this point, it vibrates again, generating two photons.  One will leave the atom and one will reach the nucleus and be absorbed as recoil. The two photons from #2 and #3 that leave the atom travel in the same direction and have the same spin and polarization since they originate from the same electron.

Stimulated emission



An electron and a positron are known to annihilate in experiments, seemingly disappear and produce two photons (gamma rays) traveling in opposite directions.

Similar to the proton, the electron is attracted to the positron due to destructive wave interference that causes particles to be attractive to minimize wave amplitude.  Unlike the proton, it is only attractive.  There is no repelling force to create an orbital so the electron and positron will be attracted until the particles meet – destructive wave interference affects the standing wave structure too.  Before coming to rest, both particles transfer longitudinal energy to transverse, vibrating perpendicular to the direction between the particles.



Photon Absorption

Non-Absorption (Pass Through)

Photons may pass through an atom and maintain the same energy and direction, even if it appears to coincide with the electron’s path.

In this case, the photon is not absorbed by the electron. As illustrated in the photons page, the photon should match the frequency of the electron to exchange energy.  In the example of the swing, the adult could miss the chance to push the kid if the frequency does not match, similar to the photon’s granule missing the chance to push the electron’s wave center.  This results in the photon passing through the atom unless it matches a resonating frequency.

nonabsorbent photon


Orbital Transition

A photon may be absorbed by an electron and change to a higher energy level orbital, which is further from the nucleus.  Unlike spontaneous emission, which is when an electron moves closer to the nucleus and emits a photon, to move an electron further from the nucleus requires the absorption of a photon.  However, there are defined orbitals that are possible, resulting in quantum jumps.

The next figure explains the process.  An incident photon strikes an electron which is at a lower energy level orbital.  In this case, the photon frequency matches the electron’s spin frequency of the wave centers, causing a temporarily faster spin.  This transfer of transverse energy to longitudinal energy increases the wave amplitude between the electron and the nucleus, forcing the electron away to the new point of minimal amplitude – a new orbital.

The photon must match (resonate) with the spin of the photon for this to occur, but there are multiple frequencies that allow the collision of the photon with the wave centers in the electron.  With more energy in the photon, at the correct frequency, the electron spins faster, creating more wave amplitude.  These photon frequencies convert transverse energy to longitudinal energy, causing distinct repelling wave amplitudes and thus different orbitals.

orbital transition


Photoelectric Effect

As photon energies get larger (compared to orbital transitions from the previous section) it can cause the electron to escape the atom. Photon energy that exceeds the binding energy is converted to kinetic energy when the electron leaves the atom – a faster velocity.

The next figure explains the process for the photoelectric effect. Similar to the absorption of the photon in the previous scenario for orbitals, transverse energy is converted to longitudinal energy, temporarily increasing wave amplitude between the electron and nucleus. This time, the energy that repels the electron exceeds the attractive, binding energy. The electron will escape the atom. Due to the conservation of energy, any additional energy from the repelling force is converted to kinetic energy – ½ mv2, where m is the mass of the electron and v is the exit velocity.

photoelectric effect


Compton Scattering Effect

The next figure shows photons that strike the electron not only eject the electron from the atom, but now also produce a photon that leaves the atom, which may leave at a different angle than the incident photon.  This is referred to as the Compton scattering effect.  In Compton scattering experiments, the angle and energy of the incident photon is compared to the angle and energy of the new, scattered photon.

Using the swing example, imagine a wind that blows in the same direction as the man, also blowing at a given frequency.  When the man pushes at the same frequency as the wind, he is aided by it, increasing amplitude with no effort.  In an atom with two or more electrons, there would be the equivalent of one or more “winds” that are repelling the electron struck by the photon. The photon is aided by these electrons. A lot of the photon’s energy does not need to be absorbed, and therefore some of the energy, if not all, can continue.

compton scattering effect

Note: Angles of the electron and scattered photon are dependent on the angle and energy of the incident photon. This is described in more detail with various scenarios in the Photons paper.


Pair Production

An electron and a positron are known to appear in space, where they did not previously exist, after a high-energy photon (gamma ray) disappears.  This process is known as pair production.  This process may also occur when a gamma ray strikes the nucleus of an atom.

From the annihilation section (above), a combination of a positron and electron produces destructive waves that collapse the standing wave structure of both particles.  The particles have no mass and are not detected by electromagnetic apparatus but the wave centers remain.  When a gamma ray strikes these wave centers, they will increase amplitude, causing separation of the particles just like the process in which an electron leaves the atom.  In this case, there is not a large nucleus mass to absorb a recoil and so the positron also exits, in the opposite direction of the electron.  Once separated, the wave centers continue to reflect longitudinal waves.  The reflected out-waves now combine again with in-waves to form the standing wave structure of the particles.  Mass has been recreated by this effect of separating the two particles’ wave centers.

The same process occurs in an atomic nucleus.  The neutron is a composite particle that contains a positron and an electron in its center.  This is also the reason for electron capture that converts a proton (which has a positron in its center) to a neutron.  It also matches beta decay experiments.  With this structure of the neutron, a gamma ray hitting the positron-electron combination would have the same effect of pair production – forcing an electron and a positron from the nucleus.  The neutron in the nucleus would still be neutral but it would now be an empty shell of a nucleon.

pair production





Proof of the energy wave explanation for photon interactions:

  • Descriptions of photon interactions to match experimental results (above)
  • Calculations of Conservation of Energy: transfer of longitudinal and transverse energy for: annihilation, pair production, orbital transition, photoelectric effect, spontaneous emission