Light does not behave as a particle, and light does not behave as a wave. Light is not as simple as drawing pictures or evoking comparisons to physical phenomena.
Space has Physical Properties
All stable atoms have electrons surrounding them. As the atom receives energy, the electrons begin jumping “orbitals” around the atom. Each orbital jump releases angular momentum from the atom into the surrounding space. The surrounding space is empty of physical matter, but space still has physical properties. One of the physical properties of space is that it carries waves of angular momentum from emitting atoms to receiving atoms at a very precise speed of c.
Photons are Atomic Pulses of Angular Momentum
So when a single electron jumps its orbital, that electron produces a wave of angular momentum into the surrounding space, much like a ripple on a pond. One jump of an electron produces one photon, and that photon is equal to the angular momentum of the electron times the speed c:
Atoms do not produce single photons and then stop. Each active electron in an atomic orbital jumps back and forth from a higher orbital state to a lower orbital state, and the electron makes these jumps at very specific frequencies.
Light is a Succession of Photons
It is because atoms excite their electrons at precise frequencies that we have developed atomic spectroscopy where we can identify an atom by the frequency of the photons it produces. When atoms produce a succession of photons at a frequency, the atom excites the surrounding space with a constant series of photon pulses, and this excited state is what we experience as light:
So light is a different phenomenon than photons. Light is the condition of excited space. The space provides the speed c to photons because the space is itself constantly vibrating temporally. The vibration of space is of a different order of vibration than the rate of photon production. Whereas space always vibrates temporally at the same speed, the photons are continually exciting the space at various frequencies determined by the properties of the atoms that produce the photons.
Energy Packets are Electron Quantities of Energy
So space is continually receiving pulses of angular momentum at various frequencies and carrying these pulses in the form of light. When the light-excited space comes in contact with other atoms which have empty valence positions (missing electrons in atoms), the valence positions are filled with angular momentum from the surrounding light-excited space, which then produces new electrons. This is the photoelectric effect for which Albert Einstein received his only Nobel prize.
The empty valence position is filled when the total energy received is equal to the energy of one electron. The angular momentum from the light is absorbed by a receiving atom and the light is no longer carrying that angular momentum and so the absorbed angular momentum loses its speed of c.
This quantum of energy received by an atom is the same quantum energy of an electron, and so at the receiving atom light can be perceived as a particle.
The photon began as a pulsed wave of angular momentum, the space carried a succession of pulsed waves (which is like a stormy sea of photons), and when the receiving atom collected the angular momentum, it collected only enough to equal one electron.
The energy received at the receiver valence position is equal to the unit of light divided by the speed c, but it is also equal to bits of angular momentum of many photons arriving at the frequency of the emitted photons:
The above equation is often represented in mainstream physics literature as:
but h represents Planck’s constant and therefore the hf representation is false.
The Energy Received at an Atom is the “Constant”
It is the E that is constant, and which is equal to the energy of one electron. Since the frequency is variable according to the properties of the emitting atom, the angular momentum received at the receiver must also be variable. The angular momentum that is emitted from the emitter immediately begins to spread according to the Compton function, and this means only a tiny portion of angular momentum from any specific photon actually reaches a specific receiver.
Three Distinct States of Electromagnetic Radiation
Photons are emitted angular momentum, light is the frequency of photons emitted from an emitter, and quantum energy packets are angular momentum collected at the valence position of the receiver. Light is the condition of excited space; light is neither the wave of the quantum photon, and neither is light the packet (particle) of received energy. Again, there are three distinct states for electromagnetic radiation; there are the quantum photon, the light, and the energy packet.
The appearance of wave-particle duality occurs because physicists do not acknowledge the three states of electromagnetic radiation.
The Inverse Square Law of Radiation
There is another key point to be explained here; the angular momentum of any given photon is dispersed in space because the photons are waves of angular momentum that expand according to the Compton function. This means the angular momentum of a given photon will disperse as the distance between the emitter and the receiver increases. Dispersion of angular momentum creates the inverse square law of radiation such that the energy available at a given distance from an emitter is inversely proportional to the square of the distance between the emitter and receiver.
The Magical Photon of Mainstream Physics
In the current mainstream view of electromagnetic radiation, it is imagined that photons are emitted as packets of energy immediately from the emitter, and that somehow a quantum photon remains as a structured packet of energy with inherent frequency as it travels through space, and then the photon magically hits an atom head on to transfer its frequency, angular momentum, and energy all at once to the receiver.
The reason for this magical photon theory is because physicists choose not to accept that space has its own structure and behavior. Albert Einstein, although he first thought of the photoelectric effect, chose to explain space as not being absolute such that he could explain relative velocities in terms of time dilation theory. As a result of his preference to see the effects of relative velocities in terms of time dilation, we are no longer allowed to discuss the physical structure of empty space, and therefore mainstream physicists cannot describe the actual photon mechanics as they occur in nature.
Along with the fantasy of time dilation, we now must also believe in the fantasy of light being its own quantum, and believe that light exists as both a particle and a wave.
See more of my physics posts at the Aether Physics Model space on Quora.