Portable photon generator

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Artifacts of Godville
Portable photon generator
Type Bold
Description Magical source of light, miniature sun

The Portable photon generator is a rare tool, an almost mythical source of light. Sceptics say that it simply holds an everlasting candle inside it (popular at wizard feasts) but in actual fact, it generates photons from a fuel some call 'electricity'. This dark art of 'Electricity' holds many secrets about the universe and is only known by one or two legendary wizards that live in remote locations. They are known as 'Technomancers' and nobody dares approach them, as they tend to have quite a short fuse. The fact that nobody understands their language might play a part in it too.

Types of Portable photon generators


These handheld devices emit light usually from a bulb or an L.E.D. (Light Emitting Diode).

A simple torch


In a light-bulb, electrons pass through a piece of tungsten wire (the filament) in an inert gas (usually Argon). As the electrons pass through the filament, they collide with the atoms of tungsten and as they do so, transfer energy to the atom. The electrons that are part of the atom's structure are organised in energy levels. The extra energy causes some of the electrons to jump up an energy level (a quantum leap) but do not stay there for long and soon drop back down to their original energy level (the ground state) by emitting a photon of exactly the right amount of energy needed to return to its ground state. the energy of a particle (like this photon) is related to its wavelength by a certain constant called the Planck Constant (approx. 6.626 x10^-34). The wavelength of the photon emitted determines the colour of light we see. Since, the collision of electrons with electrons in Tungsten atoms which starts the whole process is completely random, the energies involved are too, and so we get light of all different wavelengths emitted and therefore all the different colours which all combine to give white light. The Argon gas greatly decreases the rate at which the Tungsten filament disintegrates. This is because Argon is a noble gas with a full outermost energy shell and so will not react with the Tungsten in a combustion reaction which would otherwise happen if the filament was surrounded by air, due to the heat the filament radiates (the light-bulb radiates infra-red photons as well; heat).

A light-bulb


Diodes are electrical components which only allow the electrons to move in one direction due to the way they take advantage of quantum mechanics (a way which is too complicated to be explained here but if you want to know more then look up 'p-n junctions'). Some diodes emit light when electrons pass through them. These light emitting diodes are used for cheap effective lighting, including torches. Some are manufactured to provide light of only one wavelength (roughly). There are even ultra-violet L.E.D.'s.

Light emitting diodes


Laser is actually an acronym for 'light amplification by simulated emission of radiation'. The mechanics of how it works are too complicated to be fully explained here. A laser is a monochromatic light source produced by what can be vaguely described as a 'chain reaction of colliding photons'. They are all directed in one direction and are all in phase with one another. A laser can be produced in various ways including ruby lasers and laser diodes. A laser must have around 75mW to even pop a balloon but a low powered 5mW one has enough power to irreversibly damage the cornea of an eye if focused for a short period of time since the eye is so delicate.

A laser beam