• Question: Is there an upper limit to the energy of a single photon?

    Asked by emmaandizzy to Gioia, Iain, Jo, Leo, Mariam on 24 Jun 2010 in Categories: .
    • Photo: Joanna Watson

      Joanna Watson answered on 17 Jun 2010:

      Sorry emmaanddizzy – I don’t know much about physics, maybe one of the other scientists will know.

    • Photo: Mariam Orme

      Mariam Orme answered on 21 Jun 2010:

      Sorry, I don’t have a clue!

    • Photo: Leo Garcia

      Leo Garcia answered on 23 Jun 2010:

      Theoretically, there is no reason why there should be an upper limit to the energy of a photon. However, in real life a limit is that the amount of energy in the universe is finite and limited – and so this would be an upper limit.

      The highest energy of a photon that we have observed is 10^20 eV – which is 1 electron volt (around 10^-19 Joules – a very small amount of energy) with 20 zeros after it.

    • Photo: Iain Moal

      Iain Moal answered on 24 Jun 2010:

      No, I don’t believe that there is. However, I don’t think the photons could go very far when they have very high energy, because they can turn nothingness into something. Completely empty space is called a vacuum, but with photons of high enough energy, the vacuum absorbs the photon and can turn into a differnt type of space! Very strange, I don’t really understand it.