Originally Posted by Gurgle
Surely a phonon would be restricted to the speed of sound in any given material.
Yeah.......Ya see, I'm not all that sure about this whole thing. They don't really give a detailed description of what the phonon transmitting the light would be.
It definitely couldn't be the same thing as sound phonons. All sound is transmitted in phonons - sound can't travel through a vacuum, because there's no medium for the phonons to move through.
Sound waves are also longitudinal. Sound does something strange when hits a solid - like the wall of a boom time "luxury" apartment. What doesn't get absorbed, once it re-emerges at the other side, will be sound wave.
Different explanations I've heard of how light passes through a transparent medium don't make sense. Like, that there is enough room in the crystal lattice to allow light to sneak its way through. But that would be empty vacuum space - why would the speed of the light be slower?......Is it some kind of gravitational effect - or are the light waves being bent by the electro magnetic field of the atoms in the crystal lattice.
Or is it a phonon. Is it quantum tunnelling.
If the phonon idea is correct, it would mean that the energy of the electrons in the transparent medium is vibrating at just a little bit lower than the frequency and amplitude of the light it's transmitting. Then again, it doesn't make complete sense, as a certain amount of the light passing through the medium does behave as if it is photons. But then again, maybe the phonon is so close to a photon, it will behave like one.
It's a mad idea. I don't know the quantum stuff well enough to know if this is possible or absolutely impossible. It's definitely not the same thing as an excited electron releasing a photon.
It raises other questions. I think it would explain the reflection of light from a mirror in terms of Newton's Third law of motion. The light hits the mirror - the material responds with a phonon - and the phonon quickly becomes a photon.
I have a really strong feeling that I'm completely wrong - but I don't know enough to say I'm completely wrong for sure.