Radiation Pressure

Most recent answer: 05/24/2017

Thank you for taking the time. My question has to deal with the transfer of momentum of a photon. I know that when reflected, a photon exerts a forward momentum on the reflection plane. But what isn't explained is if the photon exerts a recoil on its source. In other words, does the light push away from its source with the same radiation pressure as when reflected? Thank you again. MO.
- Matt O. (age 29)
Chicago Illinois USA

The light beam has some momentum, so the source did lose that momentum. There is a small recoil. The force from the light reflection is twice as big because the light momentum changes sign on reflection.

Mike W.

(published on 05/24/2017)