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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How does light know which path is fastest?

We know from Fermat's principle of least time that light follows the fastest path. But how does light know which path is the fastest?
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If the electron is point like, then what is the significance of the classical radius of the electron?

What is the physical meaning/significance of the classical radius of the electron if we know from experiments that the electron is point like? Is there similarly a classical radius of the photon? The ...
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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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How do you derive the Lagrangian for the Standard Model?

Is there a way to derive the Lagrangian for the Standard Model just like one would for Einstein's field equations for instance? Also, how do you derive the Laganrigans for QCD and QED? Is it possible ...
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Is there any idea why the electric charges of electron and muon are equal?

Is there any idea explaining why the electric charges of electron and muon are equal? Edit: The total charge of a particle is proportional to the integral of its own electric field flow through the ...
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Does the Casimir effect allow to change the lifetime of a radiating atom?

Is it true that a spontaneously light-emitting atom changes its lifetime if it is put between two parallel plates that are so near that they attract each other through the Casimir effect? Thus: does ...
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QED Vertex Factor/Rule

On page 303 in Peskin&Schroeder they give the vertex factor as $$V = -ie\gamma^\mu \int d^4x$$ while on page 304 they write $$V_\times = -ie\gamma^\mu\int d^4x A_\mu(x).$$ Why are the ...
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Vanishing of photon one-point function in QED

I would like to know why the photon one-point function vanishes in QED. I am aware that any $n$-point functions vanishes for odd $n$ because of 'charge-conjugate" argument, this does not apply to ...
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How many photons can an electron absorb and why?

How many photons can an electron absorb and why? Can all fundamental particles that can absorb photons absorb the same amount of photons and why? If we increase the velocity of a fundamental ...
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Is the fine structure constant actually a constant or does its value depend on the energy scale?

The value of the fine structure constant is given as $$ \alpha = \frac{e^2}{4\pi\varepsilon_0\hbar c} = \frac{1}{137.035\,999..} $$ It's value is only dependent on physical constants (the elementary ...
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How is the path integral for light explained, or how does it arise?

In a Phys.SE question titled How are classical optics phenomena explained in QED (Snell's law)? Marek talked about the probability amplitude for photons of a given path. He said that it was ...
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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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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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Does light really “travel”?

From what I've so far understood about light, a photon is emitted somewhere and after some time it's absorbed somewhere else. Have we had experiments that confirm the path taken or something akin to ...
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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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Electric current $j^{\mu}$ in standard QED vs. scalar QED

The expression for the 4-current $j^{\mu}$ in standard QED is $$ e\bar{\Psi}\gamma^\mu\Psi $$ and $$ \frac{e}{2 i}(\psi^\dagger D^\mu \psi - (D^\mu \psi)^\dagger \psi) $$ in scalar QED. I ...
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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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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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Are there 2 kinds of photons, one that mediate the electromagnetic interaction and the other the quanta of light?

It is usually said that photons are the force carriers or the mediators of the electromagnetic forces between electric charges. At the same time we know also that electromagnetic waves on the quantum ...
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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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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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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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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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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 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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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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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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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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Help to understand vertex function

In Weinberg's book (the quantum theory of fields, volume 1, pag 446, equation (10.4.19) ) is stated that $\int \ dx \ dy \ dz \ exp(-i p x - ik y + i lz) \langle\Psi_0,T\{J^{\mu}(x)\Psi_n(y)\bar ...
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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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Why possibility for X-ray to excite inner electrons higher than outer electrons?

It seems X-ray absorption spectroscopy is usually ascribed to the interation between photons and inner electrons. Does it mean inner electrons are much preferred by X-ray photons to outer electrons? ...
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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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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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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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Could future experiments on “Gravitational Casimir Effect” confirm the existence of gravitons?

From Casimir effect, we know that when two plates are placed very close to each other in vacuum, they attract each other because the quantum fluctuations that press on the two plates' outer surfaces ...
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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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Dimensional transmutation in QED?

I am familiar with the QCD dimensional transmutation (QCD is dimensionless theory but via renormalisation we get dimensional parameter; we have to choose some referent scale...), but I'm not sure if ...
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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 ...