Toward a Local Theory of Light

DOI: 10.4236/opj.2015.57024   PDF   HTML     5,544 Downloads   6,278 Views  


Quantum mechanics is a probabilistic theory of the universe suggestive of a mean value theory similar to thermodynamics prior to the introduction of the atomic theory. If QM will follow a similar path to thermodynamics, then a local deterministic theory must be developed which matches QM predictions. There have been four tough barriers to a local theory of light, of which Bell’s Theorem has been considered the ultimate barrier. The other three barriers are explaining spontaneous emission, the reflection of a small fraction of light at a dielectric interface and the splitting action of a polarizer on polarized light (Malus’ Law). The challenge is that in a local theory of light, everything must have a specific cause and effect. There can be nothing spontaneous or hidden. Local solutions to all four of these barriers are presented in this paper, integrating results from two previous papers and adding the solution paths to the third and fourth barriers as well, which are nearly identical. A previous paper [1] used results from Einstein’s famous 1917 paper on stimulated emission to provide a deterministic local model for spontaneous emission. A second paper [2] showed that QM predictions in tests of Bell’s theorem could be matched with a local model by modifying the definition of entanglement in a manner invisible to quantum mechanics. This paper summarizes and extends those two results and then presents a deterministic model of reflection from a dielectric interface and transmission of polarized light through a polarizer that both match quantum mechanics. As the framework of a local theory of light emerges, it is not surprising that we find corners of physics where small disagreements with quantum mechanics are predicted. A new Bell type test is described in this paper which can distinguish the local from the nonlocal theory, giving predictions that must disagree slightly but significantly with quantum mechanics. If such experiments are proven to disagree with quantum mechanics, then the door to a local theory of light will be opened.

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Hutchin, R. (2015) Toward a Local Theory of Light. Optics and Photonics Journal, 5, 247-259. doi: 10.4236/opj.2015.57024.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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