What Is Light Made Of?

Kevin Dooley/CC-BY-2.0

The exact composition of light has eluded physicists for years, but the predominant theory is that light is comprised of a kind of energy called electromagnetic radiation. This energy behaves like a wave and a particle in different situations. Scientists believe electromagnetic radiation is composed of bundles of energy called photons.

Photons are very different from any other type of particle, and physicists believe this is why light has the unique ability to behave like a wave and like a particle. Photons do not have any mass, and they have no electrical charge. They are completely stable, which means they do not break down or undergo any chemical reactions when exposed to any other substances. However, photons can interact with other particles, such as electrons, by transferring their energy to these particles. Photons are capable of being created and destroyed.

According to Ducksters, Albert Einstein was the first to develop the concept of the photon. However, the particle was named by Gilbert Lewis some years later. Light is not the only type of electromagnetic energy made of photons. Other types of the waves in the electromagnetic spectrum, including radio waves and ultraviolet, or UV, waves, are also made of photons.