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This Sixty Symbols video talks about how light travels through a material. One model mentioned is that photons do not travel through a material, but a different particle called polaritons do. Have no idea what that was, I googled it and got this as the best answer. That lead me here and here. I do not have any one specific question about these things; just imagine you told me about these things and I responded by staring at you like a deer in the headlights. Thanks for any help understanding this stuff.
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Phonons are the easiest to understand - in some circumstances, you can get localized sound waves that *act* similar to a particle (thus the name quasi-particle) - they'll collide with things, bounce off of each other, etc. Polaritons are just that concept, but with a photon involved - it's a wave in the EM field of some crystalline structure, rather than a wave in a liquid medium like air or water, and it acts like a quasi-particle.
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