Scientists Say: Photon

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Photon (noun, “FOH-TAHN”)

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This word describes a particle of light. A photon is a unit of light that cannot be broken into smaller pieces. This particle is the tiniest possible packet of electromagnetic radiation.

Light’s motion is often described as a wave. But light also has some properties of a particle. One of those properties is that photons can be counted, like beads on a string.

Photons can have different energies. A photon of visible light, such as light that’s the color blue, has a lower energy than an X-ray photon. Scientists can use beams of high-energy X-ray photons to study the properties of matter and molecules.

In a sentence

Human eyes are sensitive enough to see a single photon.

 

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