# physics-- waves and photons

Waves and photons ( ) simultaneously be used to describe exactly the same experimental data, even within the same experiment?
A) can
B) cannot
C) sometimes can

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1. You can always describe electromagnetic phenomena using photons, because that's the most fundamental description of electromagnetism. You can't always apply the classical Maxwell theory for elecromagnetism that describes this in terms of electromagnetic waves.

Example: the photo-electrical effect can only be described using photons.

Example: interference between electromagnetic waves can be described using the classical theory, but also using photons. Photons, as described by quatum mechanics, interfere with themselves leading to the interference pattern.

What you obviously can't do is describe the photon as a classical particle. When you attempt to do that and ask when we see classical particle like behavior and when do we see classical wave like phenomena, you find that the two cases are exlusive. This is known as the wave-particle duality.

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