How Much Energy Do Individual Photons of 450 nm Light Have?

November 23, 2023

In order to understand how much energy an individual photon of 450 nm light has you have to know that the energy is directly proportional to frequency and inversely proportional to wavelength. This is because the speed of light (c) is equal to the frequency times the wavelength. So the shorter the wavelength of the light wave, the more energy it has.

Using this knowledge we can calculate that a single photon of 450 nm light carries 2.76 eV of energy. That’s a lot of energy! But how is it possible for a single photon of 450 mn light to carry this much energy?

The answer lies in Planck’s hypothesis, which states that all electromagnetic radiation is emitted in quantized chunks of energy that we call photons. This means that, irrespective of the exact frequency and wavelength, all photons have the same amount of energy. We call this Planck’s constant, and it is the most important factor in determining the energy of any given light wave.

It was this duality of wave and particle that led Einstein to develop his famous Eddington–Einstein experiment, which showed that particles of matter have a momentum, and he postulated the existence of mass-energy in the form of a boson. This theory of the quantum world has been confirmed by modern physics experiments.

Despite these amazing findings, we now have evidence that some wavelengths of the light spectrum may be harmful to humans. For example, blue light (between 380 and 500 nm) excites the protein melanopsin in the retina and can disrupt our circadian rhythms. The light emitted by screens can also have this effect.


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