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Relativity in Modern Physics$
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Nathalie Deruelle and Jean-Philippe Uzan

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780198786399

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198786399.001.0001

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The wave vector of light

The wave vector of light

Chapter:
(p.207) 4 The wave vector of light
Source:
Relativity in Modern Physics
Author(s):

Nathalie Deruelle

Jean-Philippe Uzan

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780198786399.003.0022

This chapter shows how simple world lines of zero length can describe an undulatory aspect of light—namely, its frequency. It first encodes the information about the frequency of a monochromatic light wave in the zeroth component of its wave vector. An alternative method of taking into account the wave nature of light is based on the fact that the emission of successive light corpuscles by the source also defines the period of a light signal. To illustrate, the chapter provides the example of a light source and a receiver moving along the X axis of a frame S. Finally, this chapter illustrates the idea of a particle horizon as well as the limits of validity of the spectral shift formulas introduced in the chapter by the example of two objects which exchange light signals.

Keywords:   light, wave vector, frequency, monochromatic light wave, wave nature of light, particle horizon, spectral shift formulas

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