Are Photons Massless or Massive?

Affiliation(s)

Department of Applied Physics, National University of Science and Technology, Bulawayo, Republic of Zimbabwe.

Department of Applied Physics, National University of Science and Technology, Bulawayo, Republic of Zimbabwe.

ABSTRACT

Prevailing and conventional wisdom as drawn from both Professor Albert Einstein’s Special Theory of Relativity (STR) and our palatable experience, holds that photons are massless particles and that, every particle that travels at the speed of light must—accordingly, be massless. Amongst other important but now resolved problems in physics, this assumption led to the*Neutrino Mass Problem*—namely, “Do neutrinos have
mass?” Neutrinos appear very strongly to travel at the speed of light and
according to the afore-stated, they must be massless. Massless neutrinos have a
problem in that one is unable to explain the phenomenon of neutrino
oscillations because this requires massive neutrinos. Experiments appear to
strongly suggest that indeed, neutrinos most certainly are massive particles.
While this solves the problem of neutrino oscillation, it directly leads to
another problem, namely that of “*How can a massive particle travel at the
speed of light*? Is not this
speed a preserve and prerogative of only massless particles?” We argue herein
that *in principle*, it is possible for massive particles to travel at the
speed of light. In presenting the present letter, our hope is that this may aid
or contribute significantly in solving the said problem of “*How can massive
particles travel at the speed of light*?”

Prevailing and conventional wisdom as drawn from both Professor Albert Einstein’s Special Theory of Relativity (STR) and our palatable experience, holds that photons are massless particles and that, every particle that travels at the speed of light must—accordingly, be massless. Amongst other important but now resolved problems in physics, this assumption led to the

KEYWORDS

Curved Spacetime Dirac Equation, General Spin Dirac Equation, Massive Photon, Unified Field Theory

Curved Spacetime Dirac Equation, General Spin Dirac Equation, Massive Photon, Unified Field Theory

Cite this paper

Nyambuya, G. (2014) Are Photons Massless or Massive?.*Journal of Modern Physics*, **5**, 2111-2124. doi: 10.4236/jmp.2014.518207.

Nyambuya, G. (2014) Are Photons Massless or Massive?.

References

[1] Hojman, S.A. and Koch, B. (2013) Closing the Window for Massive Photons. arXiv:1209.4907v2.

[2] Burman, R. (1972) A Photon Rest Mass and Energy Transport in Cold Plasmas. Journal of Physics A: General Physics, 5, L128.

http://dx.doi.org/10.1088/0305-4470/5/11/017

[3] Burman, R. (1973) A Photon Rest Mass and the Propagation of Longitudinal Electric Waves in Interstellar and Intergalactic Space. Journal of Physics A: Mathematical, Nuclear and General, 6, 434.

http://dx.doi.org/10.1088/0305-4470/6/3/017

[4] Goldhaber, A.S. and Nieto, M.M. (1971) Terrestrial and Extraterrestrial Limits on The Photon Mass. Reviews of Modern Physics, 43, 277-296.

http://dx.doi.org/10.1103/RevModPhys.43.277

[5] Goldhaber, A.S. and Nieto, M.M. (2010) Photon and Graviton Mass Limits. Reviews of Modern Physics, 82, 939-979.

http://dx.doi.org/10.1103/RevModPhys.82.939

[6] Tu, L.-C., Luo, J. and Gillies, G.T. (2005) The Mass of the Photon. Reports on Progress in Physics, 68, 77.

http://dx.doi.org/10.1088/0034-4885/68/1/R02

[7] Chibisov, G.V. (1976) Astrophysical Upper Limits on the Photon Rest Mass. Soviet Physics Uspekhi, 19, 624.

http://dx.doi.org/10.1070/PU1976v019n07ABEH005277

[8] Davis, L., Goldhaber, A.S. and Nieto, M.M. (1975) Limit on the Photon Mass Deduced from Pioneer-10 Observations of Jupiter’s Magnetic Field. Physical Review Letters, 35, 1402-1405.

http://dx.doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevLett.35.1402

[9] Goldhaber, A.S. and Nieto, M.M. (1971) How to Catch a Photon and Measure Its Mass. Physical Review Letters, 26, 1390-1392.

http://dx.doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevLett.26.1390

[10] Einstein, A. (1905) über einen die Erzeugung und Verwandlung des Lichtes betreffenden heuristischen Gesichtspunkt. Annalen der Physik, 322, 132-148.

http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/andp.19053220607

[11] Amsler, C., Particle Data Group (2008) Physics Letters, B667.

[12] Schwartz, H.M. (1977) American Journal of Physics, 45, 512-517.

[13] Nyambuya, G.G. and Simango, W. (2014) International Journal of Astronomy and Astrophysics, 4, 250-263.

http://dx.doi.org/10.4236/ijaa.2014.41022

[14] Nyambuya, G.G. (2013) Journal of Modern Physics, 4, 1050-1058.

http://dx.doi.org/10.4236/jmp.2013.48141

[15] Nyambuya, G.G. (2009) Apeiron, 16, 516-531.

[16] Nyambuya, G.G. (2008) Foundations of Physics, 38, 665-677.

http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10701-008-9226-0

[17] Dirac, P.A.M. (1928) Proceedings of the Royal Society A, 117, 610-624.

http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rspa.1928.0023

[18] Dirac, P.A.M. (1928) Proceedings of the Royal Society A, 118, 351-361.

http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rspa.1928.0056

[19] Klebesadel, R.W., Strong, I.B. and Olson, R.A. (1973) Astrophysical Journal, 182, L85.

http://dx.doi.org/10.1086/181225

[20] Nyambuya, G.G. (2014) Journal of Modern Physics, 5, 1902-1909.

http://dx.doi.org/10.4236/jmp.2014.517185

[1] Hojman, S.A. and Koch, B. (2013) Closing the Window for Massive Photons. arXiv:1209.4907v2.

[2] Burman, R. (1972) A Photon Rest Mass and Energy Transport in Cold Plasmas. Journal of Physics A: General Physics, 5, L128.

http://dx.doi.org/10.1088/0305-4470/5/11/017

[3] Burman, R. (1973) A Photon Rest Mass and the Propagation of Longitudinal Electric Waves in Interstellar and Intergalactic Space. Journal of Physics A: Mathematical, Nuclear and General, 6, 434.

http://dx.doi.org/10.1088/0305-4470/6/3/017

[4] Goldhaber, A.S. and Nieto, M.M. (1971) Terrestrial and Extraterrestrial Limits on The Photon Mass. Reviews of Modern Physics, 43, 277-296.

http://dx.doi.org/10.1103/RevModPhys.43.277

[5] Goldhaber, A.S. and Nieto, M.M. (2010) Photon and Graviton Mass Limits. Reviews of Modern Physics, 82, 939-979.

http://dx.doi.org/10.1103/RevModPhys.82.939

[6] Tu, L.-C., Luo, J. and Gillies, G.T. (2005) The Mass of the Photon. Reports on Progress in Physics, 68, 77.

http://dx.doi.org/10.1088/0034-4885/68/1/R02

[7] Chibisov, G.V. (1976) Astrophysical Upper Limits on the Photon Rest Mass. Soviet Physics Uspekhi, 19, 624.

http://dx.doi.org/10.1070/PU1976v019n07ABEH005277

[8] Davis, L., Goldhaber, A.S. and Nieto, M.M. (1975) Limit on the Photon Mass Deduced from Pioneer-10 Observations of Jupiter’s Magnetic Field. Physical Review Letters, 35, 1402-1405.

http://dx.doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevLett.35.1402

[9] Goldhaber, A.S. and Nieto, M.M. (1971) How to Catch a Photon and Measure Its Mass. Physical Review Letters, 26, 1390-1392.

http://dx.doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevLett.26.1390

[10] Einstein, A. (1905) über einen die Erzeugung und Verwandlung des Lichtes betreffenden heuristischen Gesichtspunkt. Annalen der Physik, 322, 132-148.

http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/andp.19053220607

[11] Amsler, C., Particle Data Group (2008) Physics Letters, B667.

[12] Schwartz, H.M. (1977) American Journal of Physics, 45, 512-517.

[13] Nyambuya, G.G. and Simango, W. (2014) International Journal of Astronomy and Astrophysics, 4, 250-263.

http://dx.doi.org/10.4236/ijaa.2014.41022

[14] Nyambuya, G.G. (2013) Journal of Modern Physics, 4, 1050-1058.

http://dx.doi.org/10.4236/jmp.2013.48141

[15] Nyambuya, G.G. (2009) Apeiron, 16, 516-531.

[16] Nyambuya, G.G. (2008) Foundations of Physics, 38, 665-677.

http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10701-008-9226-0

[17] Dirac, P.A.M. (1928) Proceedings of the Royal Society A, 117, 610-624.

http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rspa.1928.0023

[18] Dirac, P.A.M. (1928) Proceedings of the Royal Society A, 118, 351-361.

http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rspa.1928.0056

[19] Klebesadel, R.W., Strong, I.B. and Olson, R.A. (1973) Astrophysical Journal, 182, L85.

http://dx.doi.org/10.1086/181225

[20] Nyambuya, G.G. (2014) Journal of Modern Physics, 5, 1902-1909.

http://dx.doi.org/10.4236/jmp.2014.517185