(republished on 07/20/06)
(published on 02/23/11)
The sea of virtual photons in the quantum vacuum doesn't affect the real photon propagation. Perhaps photons are affected by the sea of virtual particles of some deeper type, sort of as quarks are affected by the Higgs field. But in that case the thing we call a photon would already be an object that included the interactions.
You ask if the initial photon could annihilate and be replaced with a different one. I believe that that process would have no symptoms whatsoever, even in principle. Therefore I think that the question has no meaning. We all often stumble into questions like that when we take try to picture quantum processes in classical terms. Classically, no matter how similar two particles are they are in some subtle way not identical. Yet quantum particles of the same type truly are identical, so it doesn't mean anything to say that one is "new".
I'm not positive what change a pilot-wave (Bohm) interpretation would make for the discussion.
(published on 01/03/14)
Aha, I see what you're wondering about- if some mechanism can be given for the pilot wave force on the particle coordinate in the Bohm picture. maybe some sort of little collisions with local particle fluctations, etc. It's a nice thought, but I think that if anything comes out of an attempt like that it will be even weirder than the view in which the wave function is the sole ingredient. The reason is that all such processes can violate the Bell Inequalities. That means that there is no local picture at all (other than universal conspiracies) that can reproduce the observations. So there's little motivation to pursue yet another local picture.
The emitted photo in a Hawking picture is a real photon, and, like Pinocchio, can do all the things a real photon can do.
(published on 01/09/14)
The basic two-slit behavior works the same for particles that are their own antiparticles (e.g. photons) and ones that aren't (e.g. electrons, buckyballs). The particle-like aspect of quantum waves is that they have a "number operator" that gives them something that has discrete integer counts. That also holds for each type of particle. It has a little different behavior for bosons (e.g. photons, 4He) than for fermions (e.g. electrons, 3He), but that is a different distinction than that between ones that are their own antiparticles and ones that aren't.
(published on 05/20/14)