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Good day Dr. Nelson,

I hope this question finds you well. Can one electromagnetic wave increases the frequency of another electromagnetic wave? For example 2 non-ionizing beams become superimposed to create an ionizing beam, even if only for a little while? Also, could meta materials increase a beams frequency?

Respectfully submitted,

While the individual photons of overlapping light beams will not change in frequency, their peak electric field strengths can combine (they simply add) to an increased local field strength.  If their wavelengths are long enough that this is not an issue in the local area you are concerned with, then you can get a secondary effect which is not a photoelectric effect (one photon excites, the other ionizes) like what you're talking about.  I'm not an expert in metamaterials, but it's well-known that you can use nonlinear crystals to double the frequency of a pump beam.  That's already in intensive use at the national ignition facility, a laser-fusion lab.  More on frequency-doubling in nonlinear crystals can be found here:  


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Dr. Stephen O. Nelson


I can answer most basic physics questions, physics questions about science fiction and everyday observations of physics, etc. I'm also usually good for science fair advice (I'm the regional science fair director). I do not answer homework problems. I will occasionally point out where a homework solution went wrong, though. I'm usually good at explaining odd observations that seem counterintuitive, energy science, nuclear physics, nuclear astrophysics, and alternative theories of physics are my specialties.


I was a physics professor at the University of Texas of the Permian Basin, research in nuclear technology and nuclear astrophysics. My travelling science show saw over 20,000 students of all ages. I taught physics, nuclear chemistry, radiation safety, vacuum technology, and answer tons of questions as I tour schools encouraging students to consider careers in science. I moved on to a non-academic job with more research just recently.

Ph. D. from Duke University in physics, research in nuclear astrophysics reactions, gamma-ray astronomy technology, and advanced nuclear reactors.

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