Quantum-ElectroDynamics (QED) is the quantum field theory believed to describe the electromagnetic interaction (and with some extension the weak nuclear force).

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Why is the Gupta-Bleuler gauge unfashionable?

In the early days of quantum electrodynamics, the most popular gauge chosen was the Gupta-Bleuler gauge stating that for physical states, $$\langle \chi | \partial^\mu A_\mu | \psi \rangle = 0.$$ ...
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Why do we need to prove the gauge invariance of QED (or all of the gauge theories) on the Feynman diagrams language?

Let's have the QED lagrangian. It has explicit gauge invariance, so, by the naive thinking, all of the EM processes must satisfy the property of gauge invariance. So why do we need to recheck of gauge ...
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Fundamentals of Quantum Electrodynamics

In quantum electrodynamics, the classical Hamiltonian is obtained from the classical electromagnetic Lagrangian. Then the classical electric and magnetic fields are promoted to operators, as is the ...
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Representation of phase in quantum mechanics

[Note: My discussion of the three answers can be found just after the question.] Imagine three points in space that differ only by a phase angle of "something" (what doesn't really matter). One way ...
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Why are geons unstable? Are there other problems with geons?

I read in various places geons are "generally considered unstable." Why? How solid is this reasoning? Is the reason geons are not studied much anymore because we can't make more progress without ...
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QED and Newton's 3rd law

According to some lecture notes on propagators (see bottom of page) the Feynman particle/anti-particle hypothesis states: The emission (absorption) of an antiparticle of 4-momentum $p^\mu$ is ...
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Transparency of solids using bandgaps and relation to conduction and valence bands

I think I understand how a solid can appear transparent as long as the energy of the photons travelling through it are not absorbed in the material's bandgap. But how does this band gap relate to ...
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How to calculate the properties of Photon-Quasiparticles

in recent questions like "How are classical optics phenomena explained in QED (Snell's law)?" and "Do photons gain mass when they travel through glass?" we could learn something about effective ...
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Do black holes have transient color charge?

In the membrane model, when a baryon hits the event horizon its spatially separated quarks will impact the membrane at different times. Doesn't this necessarily mean that black holes acquire, however ...
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Where and how exactly does string theory and Q.E.D. use zeta function regularization?

In the video they mention it being used in many fields of physics inclusing String and QED theory. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w-I6XTVZXww But I remember reading somewhere that 1+2+3..=-1/12 is ...
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Why do some materials reflect (metals) and other materials reflect and refract (glass) from the quantum perspective?

Recently I was asked to explain the difference between reflection and total internal reflection from a purely conceptual standpoint (no math). Let me explain what I already know. Reflection and ...
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How can an asymptotic expansion give an extremely accurate predication, as in QED?

What is the meaning of "twenty digits accuracy" of certain QED calculations? If I take too little loops, or too many of them, the result won't be as accurate, so do people stop adding loops when the ...
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Is it true that the angular momentum of electromagnetic waves in an anisotropic medium is an integral of motion?

Extending my previous question Angular moment and EM wave, does it make sense to talk about the angular momentum of electromagnetic waves in an anisotropic medium? It is not obvious that the angular ...
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Why is it important that the vector current should be conserved in QED?

In Quantum Field Theory and the Standard Model by MD Schwartz in the chapter about the anomalies, he derives from the equation of motions and the Noether currents of a effective massless QED ...
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How is charge expressed?

I am happy with the concept of electrons interacting with each other through the emission and absorption of photons, but what I don't understand is how the negative charge on an electron is expressed ...
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Electron's self-energy in QED in arbitrary gauge

Recently I've tried to evaluate electron's self-energy in QED in the second order of perturbation theory by using dimensional regularization. Corresponding 1PI-diagram leads to $$ \Sigma_{1loop} = ...
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Photons traveling backwards in time?

Imagine that two widely separated charged particles $A$ and $B$ exchange a photon. Because they are far apart one can imagine that there is a major contribution to the photon propagator that travels ...
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Derivative with respect to ${\not}{p}$

When studying renormalization of QED in standard textbooks, we typically encounter derivatives with respect to ${\not}{p}=p^\mu \gamma_\mu$, i.e., $\partial/\partial{\not}p$. As far as I understand, ...
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Classical EM neglects electron recoil?

Imagine two electrons $A$ and $B$ at rest. Electron $B$ is at a vertical distance $r$ above electron $A$. Let us assume that the electrons are constrained to move on horizontal rails. At time $t=0$ ...
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Magnetic monopoles in spin ice and Dirac string comparison

In spin ice systems magnetic monopole-like excitations are sources or sinks of $H$, not the $B$ field, why is that? Is it because the strings carries magnetic moment $M$ and not solenoidal $B$ filed ...
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Why can't fermions be affected by effective gravity in non-linear quantum electrodynamics?

Quantum electrodynamics based upon Euler-Heisenberg or Born-Infeld Lagrangians predict photons to move according to an effective metric which is dependent on the background electromagnetic field. In ...
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Why very strong fields are required for a photon to split?

Photon splitting does not occur in free space as energy and momentum cannot be conserved in any Lorentz frame. But it does occur in the presence of a strong field. Consider the example of a Magnetar. ...
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Do virtual photons have a frequency?

Real photons do have frequencies, which is directly related to its energy. So, can virtual photons that take part in EM interactions have frequencies too? When my hand is pressed up against a glass ...
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Do free electrons really not interact with photons?

If free electrons don't interact with photons, why are free electrons accelerated by electromagnetic fields?
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Equality of electric charges of all leptons

What does it precisely mean the often repeated statement that the electric charges of all leptons are the same. Let's consider QED with two leptons: electron and muon. The interaction part of the ...
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Is it reasonable to interpret the Lamb shift as vacuum induced Stark shifts?

This is a pretty hand-wavy question about interpretation of the Lamb shift. I understand that one can calculate the Lamb shift diagrammatically to get an accurate result, but there exist ...
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When can photon field amplitudes be written as field operators?

Suppose I have some classical field equation for two photon fields with amplitudes $A_1(z),A_2(z)$ (plane waves) given as ${A}_1=\alpha f(A_1,A_2) \\ {{A}_2}=\beta g(A_1,A_2) $ Under what ...
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Can the Lamb shift be expressed in more-or-less closed form in terms of the renormalized 2-, 3-,…,n-point VEVs of QED?

I see here that there are three contributions to the Lamb shift, from vacuum polarization (-27 MHz), from electron mass renormalization(+1017 MHz), and from the anomalous magnetic moment (+68 MHz). ...
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In QED, why is the $e^- + e^+\leftrightarrow\gamma$ process forbidden on-shell?

QED has a vertex that couples a single photon to two fermions. This vertex describes the annihilation of an electron-positron pair into a photon. Why is this process forbidden for all three particles ...
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QED: Would atoms without electrons be visible?

I have been reading a lot of QED books lately, and understand (as well as possible anyway) the interaction between electrons and photons. But I can't seem to get a clear indication of the interaction ...
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Some questions about virtual particles

When reading about quantum mechanics, I've stumbled upon a description of the force between two electrons as a result of virtual particles being "exchanged" by the two electrons. So far I've ...
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Chiral anomaly and decay of the pion

I am told that if all classical symmetries were reflected as quantum symmetries, the decay of the neutral pion $$\pi^0 ~\longrightarrow~ \gamma\gamma$$ would not happen. Why would the conservation of ...
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$U(1){\times}U(1)$ local gauge invariance derivative

In QED and the basic Higgs mechanism, there is a local gauge transformation where a scalar field $\phi$ is transformed as: $e^{i\theta\eta(x)} \phi$ The partial derivative of this however makes the ...
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What exactly is the connection between gauge transformations and symmetry groups?

For a given gauge transformation, say, the electromagnetic field, where observable quantities aren't affected by transformations of the form $$\mathbf{A}' = \mathbf{A} + \nabla \chi,$$ $$\phi' = \phi ...
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QED BRST Symmetry

This is a homework problem that I am confused about because I thought I knew how to solve the problem, but I'm not getting the result I should. I'll simply write the problem verbatim: "Consider QED ...
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What is the physical process (if any) behind magnetic attraction?

I understand that the electromagnetic force can be described as the exchange of virtual photons. I also understand that it's possible for virtual photons, unlike their real counterparts, to have mass ...
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How is the double slit experiment modeled in contemporary physical theories?

Suppose I have the following double split experiment set up: a monochromatic electron source of low intensity, which we can model as emitting a single electron at a time with energy $T$. a ...
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How do you go from quantum electrodynamics to Maxwell's equations?

I've read and heard that quantum electrodynamics is more fundamental than maxwells equations. How do you go from quantum electrodynamics to Maxwell's equations?
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What is the difference between surface plasmon and surface plasmon polariton?

I'm trying to understand this reading article linked below and I still don't know how to explain this simply, without need to derive everything mathematically. Can someone just write here how do SP's ...
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QED Commutation Relations Implications

In Brian Hatfield's book on QFT and Strings there is the following quote: In particular $$ [A_i (x,t), E_j(y,t)] = -i \delta_{ij}\delta(x-y) $$ implies that $$ [A_i(x,t),\nabla \cdot E(y,t)] = ...
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Ward identity derived from global symmetry and SDE, different from that derived from gauge symmetry?

In QED, according to Schwinger-Dyson equation $^{[1]}$, $$\left(\eta^{\mu\nu}(\partial ^2)-(1-\frac{1}{\xi})\partial^{\mu}\partial^{\nu}\right)\langle 0|\mathcal{T}A_{\nu}(x)...|0\rangle = e\,\langle ...
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QED coupling constant at one loop

On page 257 in Peskin's QFT book a qualitative sketch of the QED coupling is given (see the picture below). Why should I expect such a behavior from QED? The QED beta function is ...
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LSZ theorem for photons

Is there any discussion on what the LSZ theorem for photons looks like? I would rather like a discussion of this in axial gauge $A_0 = 0$ (instead of the usual Lorenz gauge), but anything would do.
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How does one interpret the Dirac equation with a self-field potential?

EVERY QFT text I've ever examined states that if there is an external vector potential, $A_\mu$, then one writes the Dirac eq.(or Klein-Gordon eq.) using a covariant derivative to include this U(1) ...
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What is the constraint on the Gauge Potential in the Covariant Gauges?

One of the most common gauges in QED computations are the $R_{\xi}$ gauges obtained by adding a term \begin{equation} -\frac{(\partial_\mu A^{\mu})^2}{2\xi} \end{equation} to the Lagrangian. ...
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If a photon's emission is detected is it real or virtual?

I understand that one can measure a single photon being absorbed using a photomultiplier tube or CCD. Can one measure a single photon being emitted by monitoring the current through an LED or the ...
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Coulomb interaction as virtual particles exchange?

I've been reading about virtual particle exchanges in physics books and in Physics SA posts, where a particle interpretation of gravity and Coulomb interaction is established. The Feynman Diagram ...
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Conservation of BRST current in QED

I am trying to understand the conservation of the BRST current in QED but am having some trouble. This is what I have so far, QED lagrangian density in Lorenz gauge is, $$L = ...
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Why does positronium decay into 2 photons more often than into 3 photons?

I cannot find the answer to the above question. I know that para-positronium is created with a probability of $25\%$ and decays into 2 photons, while ortho-positronium is created with a probability ...
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What are the limits of applicability of Coulomb's Law?

Coulomb's law is formally parallel to Newton's Law of Universal Gravitation, which is known to give way to General Relativity for very large masses. Does Coulomb's Law have any similar limits of ...