The Heavens Declare His Handiwork

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Thomas Lee Abshier, ND

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Angular Momentum
Conservation of Angular Momentum
& the Photon
By: Thomas Lee Abshier, ND

o An example of decoupling of an angular system includes skaters who twirl together and then release, each then taking separate linear paths.  For conservation of angular momentum to occur there must have been an element of angularity to the skaters’ relationship prior to their coupling.  They both had a velocity which was slightly askew, and thus tangential to a central point where they joined.  Thus, prior to their joining as a coupled angular system, they had a velocity that was angular around a certain point.  And likewise, as the skaters release their grasp, they continue on their separate linear paths, but they do so around a common point which retains an element of angular momentum.

o Before the electron loses angular momentum to photon emission, the energy of the electron-nucleus is angular and electrostatic potential energy.  At the moment the electron releases from the orbital electron, the electrostatic potential energy component diminishes.

o The system is unusual in that a portion of an orbital system has left and for all practical purposes, the track of the photon has little ongoing relationship with the orbital path of the electron after it decays into the lower orbital.

o Thus, to make the concept of angular momentum useful, we must tighten down the system boundaries for examination.  At the moment of photon release, the electron has been in some way disturbed, and is no longer able to maintain its activated state.  Thus, the polarized energy in the space around the orbital electron becomes dissociated with it, leaving the orbital electron as a photon.  

o The normal method of analyzing conservation of momentum is to note that two masses depart around a common point of axis rotation.  In this case there is no offset between the activated orbital and the photon.  But, there is a differential of distance between the photon and the lower energy orbital.  Thus, the photon as a unit of momentum, in relationship to the nucleus, at the same time as the orbital electron is in relationship the nucleus in its lower orbital, the two entities split in a moment, the electron simply assuming the lower energy state of the energy-depleted orbital.  Thus the moment before decay, the angular momentum of the system was entirely contained within the orbital electron.  The moment after the decay the two entities were separated, photon with its angular momentum, and orbital electron with its photon-deficient orbital angular momentum.

o The photon carries angular momentum even though it has no rest mass.  The concept of p=mv is not relevant to the photon because there is no rest mass to put into the equation.  Instead, the photon’s organization of E&B fields oscillating normal to the direction of travel as a packet contain the energy and momentum-type organization (i.e. organized DPs in motion).  Another confirmation of the conservation of the angular momentum as the photon separates from the orbital electron comes as the photon carries its energy in units of integer multiples of Planck’s constant, which has units of angular momentum (joule-sec).  

o Note that linear momentum and angular momentum are interconvertible simply by changing the focus of the system.  A snapshot of two masses without note of their interconnection reveals a system with a given amount of linear momentum.  If we could instantly place a connecting force between the two (such as a hook catching at a particular moment), we would have an actual forced angular relationship between the two masses.  And while there was only a potential angular relationship between the two prior to the hook-connection, there was an actual bonded angular momentum afterwards with no angular momentum.  This type of analysis, looking at the potential bonded angular momentum when two masses are in their unbonded state is the conventional method of considering the conservation of angular momentum before and after bonding.  

o The photon-orbital electron system falls into this same category with the hook, in that the photon completely decouples from the orbital system at the moment of orbital electron decay.  The method of characterizing and partitioning the energy-type and their relationship to the angular momentum before and after decay is different than in the ball and hook system, but nevertheless, there is a way of connecting the angular momentum before and after so as to declare conservation.  

o The linear photon leaves a system that continues in its angular character.  This is different than the more macroscopic ball and hook world of masses decoupling.  Nevertheless, the photon’s angular momentum associated with its fields, and the angular momentum of the orbital electron after decay have a connection in the time sequence of the decay, and make a smooth conversion between the pre and post decay configurations of angular momentum.