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Electromagnetic Wave: EM Fields or Photon


 Electromagnetic radiation is also called electromagnetic waves because the phenomena has a defined frequency for its oscillations.

Here is wikipedia's description of how electromagnetic radiation works with no photon.
Classically, electromagnetic radiation consists of electromagnetic waves, which are synchronized oscillations of electric and magnetic fields that propagate at the speed of light, which, in a vacuum, is commonly denoted c. In homogeneous, isotropic media, the oscillations of the two fields are perpendicular to each other and perpendicular to the direction of energy and wave propagation, forming a transverse wave. The wavefront of electromagnetic waves emitted from a point source (such as a light bulb) is a sphere. The position of an electromagnetic wave within the electromagnetic spectrum can be characterized by either its frequency of oscillation or its wavelength.

Simple explanation: EM radiation is synchronized electromagnetic fields.

This link has a useful illustration of the perpendicular EM fields

I have heard it described that light is always a wave (frequency) but under certain conditions it will seem a particle, called a photon. In the double slit experiment, you see interference patterns from a wave but you might detect what seem to be particles. A particle with no mass is what exactly? I found this online:
failure to find a finite photon mass in any one experiment or class of experiments is not proof that it is identically zero
Here is wikipedia's description of a photon
The photon is a type of elementary particle, the quantum of the electromagnetic field including electromagnetic radiation such as light, and the force carrier for the electromagnetic force (even when static via virtual particles). The photon has zero rest mass and always moves at the speed of light within a vacuum.

Like all elementary particles, photons are currently best explained by quantum mechanics and exhibit wave–particle duality, exhibiting properties of both waves and particles. For example, a single photon may be refracted by a lens and exhibit wave interference with itself, and it can behave as a particle with definite and finite measurable position or momentum, though not both at the same time as per the Heisenberg's uncertainty principle. The photon's wave and quantum qualities are two observable aspects of a single phenomenon — they cannot be described by any mechanical model; a representation of this dual property of light that assumes certain points on the wavefront to be the seat of the energy is not possible. The quanta in a light wave are not spatially localized.

A photon is a massless particle defined by quantum physicists to replace the electromagnetic fields.

from an online course:
Despite photons having no mass, there has long been evidence that EM radiation carries momentum. (Maxwell and others who studied EM waves predicted that they would carry momentum.) It is now a well-established fact that photons do have momentum. In fact, photon momentum is suggested by the photoelectric effect, where photons knock electrons out of a substance.'

from a wave theory site:
A photon is the carrier of the electromagnetic force and is the quantum form of all electromagnetic radiation. This includes, light, radio waves, microwaves, X-rays, gamma rays and more.  Light, radio waves and the [other] wave types are based upon the same electromagnetic wave, but each one occurs at different frequency ranges.
In energy wave theory, a photon is caused by particle vibration. Particles [are] described as waves of energy, creating standing waves from in-waves and out-waves. The out-waves of these particles are longitudinal waves, but when a particle vibrates, it creates a secondary, transverse wave. A faster vibration causes a photon with a shorter wavelength and greater energy – the cause of the different types of waves seen in the electromagnetic spectrum.

Therefore in wave theory electromagnetic waves are photons not synchronized electromagnetic fields.

Last updated (03/08/2019)

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