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Linear relationship between frequency and energy of a wave train

Peifeng Wang∗ and Peilei Wang


Guanghua Road 1#, 34-1-3-5, Yanta District, Xi’an, Shaanxi, P. R. China 710075 and
Mijiaqiao 34-1-3-5, Xi’an, Shaanxi, P. R. China 710075

We demonstrate that, under Lorentz transformation, the frequency and the energy of an electro-
magnetic wave train form a linear relationship, emulating the equation of photon energy E = h̄ω.
This shows that wave-particle duality of light is compatible under space time transformation.

PACS numbers: 03.50.De

Wave-particle duality is one of the most fundamental The above transformation of fields E, B will inevitably
characters of quanta and is revealed by the linear depen- lead to variation of (S, P) in different frames.
dence between energy and frequency of a particle. In On the other hand, viewed from different frames, the
most cases, treatment of physical entities deals only with frequency of EM wave follows the formulas of relativistic
one of the properties at a time. For photon, one of the Doppler effect
basic elementary particle, the wave property is studied by
examining the few-cycle light pulses [1–5], while the par- ω ′ = γω(1 − β cos θ)
ticle property is learned by investigating the interaction sin θ
tan θ′ = (4)
of photon with other particles [6–10]. γ(cos θ − β)
Here, we demonstrate that under Lorentz transforma-
tion, the energy of an electromagnetic wave train is lin- θ is the angle between β and the wave propagation direc-
early dependent on the frequency of that same wave train. tion k observed in frame F .
Our model is based on the observation that in electro- We will show that for any given plane EM wave train
dynamics, space time transformation can simultaneously under Lorentz transformation, |P′ | = E′ ×B′ ∆t′ /µ varies
lead to both Doppler effect and a change of magnitude of in the same way as ω ′ . Consequently
electromagnetic (EM) fields. Consequently, there exists |P′ | ∝ ω ′ (5)
a relationship between Doppler frequency shift and the
energy flow change of plane EM wave train due to space Throughout our discussion, the Gaussian units are used,
time transformation. It turns out that this relationship, so for the electric and magnetic fields (E, B) in a plane
resulting completely from wave theory, is linear, emulat- EM wave, we have
ing the equation of photon energy E = h̄ω.
For a plane EM wave train of duration ∆t, the time |E| = |B| (6)
rate of energy flow through unit area is related to the
The primed quantities are evaluated at (x′ , t′ ) in frame
fields (E, B) of the wave by Poynting’s theorem ′
F , while the unprimed quantities are evaluated at (x, t)
1 in frame F . (x′ , t′ ) and (x, t) are related by Lorentz
S= E×B (1) transformation
µ
then the total energy flow of the wave train through unit t′ = γ(t − β · x)
area is γ−1
x′ = x + β(β · x) − tγβ (7)
β2
P = S∆t (2)
To prove eqn. (5), we first discuss two special cases,
The values of (E, B) are both dependent on the se- 1) β is parallel to the propagation direction k. 2) β is
lected reference frame. The transformation of electro- perpendicular to propagation direction k. Then we gen-
magnetic fields from reference frame F to frame F ′ mov- eralize to the situation of arbitrary angle θ between β
ing with velocity v relative to F are [11] and k.
γ2 For β parallel to the propagation direction k in frame
[E′ ]x′ ,t′ = [γ(E + β × B) − β(β · E)]x,t F , as shown in fig. 1, β · E = 0, β · B = 0, then from eqn.
γ+1
(3), fields in frame F ′ are
γ2
[B′ ]x′ ,t′ = [γ(B − β × E) − β(β · B)]x,t E′ = γ(E + β × B)
γ+1
v 1 B′ = γ(B − β × E) (8)
β = ,γ = √ (3)
c 1 − β2 then with eqn. (6)
E′ = γ(1 + β)E
∗ peifeng
B′ = γ(1 + β)B (9)
w@yahoo.com
2

x2 x2
F F'
F w k F' w' = wg(1+b) c D t'=c D t/g
b k'
w cDt w' = wg
x1 x1
x3 b k'
c Dt k
c D t'=c D tg(1-b) x3

x2 x2
E E'=Eg(1+b)
F F' F F' |E'|=|E|g
b E x1 b x1

S=E H H S'=E' H H' x3 x3


B S=E H H B'=Bg S'=E' H H'
B B'=Bg(1+b)
P=S D t P'=S' D t'=Pg(1+b) P=S D t | P'|=|S'| D t'=|P| g

FIG. 1. β is parallel to wave propagation k in frame F . The FIG. 2. β is perpendicular to wave propagation k in frame
left column shows the wave train and corresponding fields F . The left column shows the wave train and corresponding
E, B in frame F , the right column shows the wave train and fields E, B in frame F , the right column shows the wave train
corresponding fields E′ , B′ in frame F ′ and corresponding fields E′ , B′ in frame F ′ . Note that the
direction of wave propagation and Poynting vector differs in
the two frames.
Since the magnetic permeability µ is invariant in any
frame, the Poynting vector observed in frame F ′ is
Next is the calculation for β perpendicular to the prop-
′ E′ × B′ E×B agation direction k. For simplicity, we assume the electric
S = = γ 2 (1 + β)2 = γ 2 (1 + β)2 S(10)
µ µ field E parallel to β. The explicit form of eqn. (3) are
The duration of the wave train in frame F ′ is E1′ = E1
E2′ = γ(E2 − βB3 )
∆t′ = γ(1 − β)∆t (11)
E3′ = γ(E3 + βB2 )
using the identity B1′ = B1
1 B2′ = γ(B2 + βE3)
γ(1 − β) = (12)
γ(1 + β) B3′ = γ(B3 − βB2) (17)
we arrive at From the configuration shown in fig. 2, the fields ob-
1 served in frame F ′ are
∆t′ = ∆t (13)
γ(1 + β)
E1′ = E1
The energy flow of wave train through unit area ob- E2′ = −γβB3
served in frame F ′ is E3′ = 0
P′ = S′ ∆t′ = γ 2 (1 + β)2 S
1
∆t = γ(1 + β)P
(14) B1′ = 0
γ(1 + β) B2′ = 0

On the other hand, the Doppler frequency shift in eqn. B3 = γB3 (18)
(4) at θ = π is
with eqn. (6), it follows
ω ′ = γ(1 + β)ω (15)
|E′ | = γ|E|, |B′ | = γ|B| (19)
Eqn. (14) and (15) show an identical variation of P
and ω under Lorentz transformation. Eqn. (5) comes as The magnitude of Poynting vector is

|P′ | |P| 1 ′ 1
= = const (16) |S′ | = |E × H′ | = γ 2 |E × H| = γ 2 |S| (20)
ω′ ω µ µ

In the case that β is in the same direction of wave The duration of the wave train is
propagation k and θ = 0, we just need to replace β in
∆t′ = ∆t/γ (21)
the above equation with −β, and the same result (16)
yields.
3

Then in frame F ′ , energy flow of wave train through ∆ω.


unit area is ∆ω 1
′ ′ ′
= (26)
|P | = |S ∆t | = γ|P| (22) ω 2N
If the time duration ∆t of a wave train is interpreted
On the other hand, eqn. (4) shows that the Doppler
as the uncertainty in time and the spectrum breadth ∆ω
frequency shift at θ = π/2 is
as the uncertainty in frequency, we have
ω ′ = γω (23) ω∆t
∆ω∆t = =π (27)
Again, an identical variation of |P| and ω under 2N
Lorentz transformation emerges, and eqn. (5) follows With eqn. (5), the following relationship holds for a
as give electromagnetic wave train when observed in differ-
|P′ | |P| ent frames.
= = const (24)
ω′ ω |∆P|∆t = const (28)
Eqn. (16) and (24) are proofs of eqn. (5) when the This emulates the uncertainty principle in quantum
angle θ between β and wave propagation k is either 0, π theory
or π/2. In the case that θ is arbitrary, the calculation can
h
be done in the following way. By decomposing β into a ∆E∆t = h̄∆ω∆t >
component βp parallel to k and a component βv vertical 2
to k, we can compute the total effect as a superposition h̄∆ω h
∆p∆x = c∆t > (29)
of the parallel case of βp and the vertical case of βv . c 2
Therefore, eqn. (5) holds true for all cases. In conclusion, we have shown that under space time
Unlike other particles, which may appear at rest in transformation, Doppler frequency shift ω and the energy
some specific reference frame, the speed of EM wave train flow |P| of EM wave train are related linearly, emulating
is invariant in any frame. That is, all frames are equiv- the equation of photon energy E = h̄ω. If a wave train
alent in the observation of EM wave. Therefore, for any has a ratio E/ω = h̄, then it has the same ratio in all
given wave train, the above equations show that the ratio frames, while its E and ω varies respectively. This pro-
between its frequency and energy flow through unit area portional dependency reveals that the model of photon
remains constant independent of the reference frame in holds under space time transformation. Our derivation
which the EM wave train is observed. is completely from Lorentz transformation and Doppler
The proportional relationship between the frequency effect. Conversely, the linear relationship between the
of a wave train and its energy flow emulates the equation energy and frequency of photon implies that the speed of
of photon energy E = h̄ω. Furthermore, under Lorentz light is constant.
transformation, the frequency of an electromagnetic wave It is also noted that 1) the number of cycles of a wave
train is proportional to the magnitude of its fields. This train remains unchanged in different frames and 2) an
can be derived from eqn. (9), (15) and eqn. (19), (23) observed ω ′ photon(wave train) resulted from Doppler
shift of an ‘original’ ω photon is indistinguishable from
ω ∝ |E|, ω ∝ |B| (25)
an ‘original’ ω ′ photon. It is then speculated that all
From wave theory and Fourier analysis, a finite length photons contain the same number of cycles.
wave train of N cycles has a frequency spectrum breadth

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