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

learn more… | top users | synonyms (1)

17
votes
4answers
9k views

What is the relation between electromagnetic wave and photon?

At the end of this nice video, she says that electromagnetic wave is a chain reaction of electric and magnetic fields creating each other so the chain of wave moves forward. I wonder where the photon ...
26
votes
2answers
5k views

How are classical optics phenomena explained in QED (Snell's law)?

How is the following classical optics phenomenon explained in quantum electrodynamics? Reflection and Refraction Are they simply due to photons being absorbed and re-emitted? How do we get to ...
11
votes
6answers
9k views

Why can't photons have a mass?

Why can't photons have a mass? Could you explain this to me in a short and mathematical way?
5
votes
2answers
923 views

Deriving the Coulomb force equation from the idea of photon exchange?

Since Newton's law of gravitation can be gotten out of Einstein's field equatons as an approximation, I was wondering whether the same applies for the electromagnetic force being the exchange of ...
21
votes
3answers
5k views

The exchange of photons gives rise to the electromagnetic force

Pardon me for my stubborn classical/semiclassical brain. But I bet I am not the only one finding such description confusing. If EM force is caused by the exchange of photons, does that mean only when ...
18
votes
2answers
3k views

Virtual photon description of B and E fields

I continue to find it amazing that something as “bulky” and macroscopic as a static magnetic or electric field is actually a manifestation of virtual photons. So putting on your QFT spectacles, look ...
13
votes
4answers
10k views

What would the collision of two photons look like?

Could someone explain to me what the collision of two photons would look like? Will they behave like, Electromagnetic waves: they will interfere with each other and keep their wave nature Particles: ...
9
votes
5answers
7k views

Spontaneous pair production?

So I've been looking into particle-antiparticle pair production from a gamma ray and don't understand one thing. Let's say I have a 1,1 MeV photon and it hits a nucleus - electron-positron pair with ...
13
votes
2answers
2k views

Bound states in QED

I am a beginner in QED and QFT. What is known (or expected to be) about bound states in QED? As far as I understand, in non-relativistic QM electron and positron can form a bound state. Should it be ...
1
vote
4answers
2k views

If electromagnetic fields give charge to particles, do photons carry charge?

As I understand these two statements: An electromagnetic field gives particles charge A photon is a quantum of electromagnetic field It must mean that a photon carries charge. But I guess it isn't ...
11
votes
2answers
2k views

EM wave function & photon wavefunction

According to this review Photon wave function. Iwo Bialynicki-Birula. Progress in Optics 36 V (1996), pp. 245-294. arXiv:quant-ph/0508202, a classical EM plane wavefunction is a wavefunction (in ...
6
votes
2answers
628 views

Why and how, in QED, can excited atoms emit photons?

The quantum mechanics of the structure of atoms as determined by the electromagnetic forces inside them correctly describes the location and coupling of the different energy levels in essentially all ...
12
votes
0answers
412 views

Magnetic monopole and electromagnetic field quantization procedure

From the Maxwell's equations point of view, existence of magnetic monopole leads to unsuitability of the introduction of vector potential as $\vec B = \operatorname{rot}\vec A$. As a result, it was ...
10
votes
1answer
384 views

Effect of introducing magnetic charge on use of vector potential

It is well known that Maxwell equations can be made symmetric w.r.t. $E$ and $B$ by introducing non-zero magnetic charge density/flux. In this case we have $div B = \rho_m$, where $\rho_m$ is a ...
6
votes
4answers
1k views

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 ...
3
votes
3answers
10k views

Can a light be bent by a magnetic field?

I'm struck with two competing ideas on the question in the title. Listing #1: http://van.physics.illinois.edu/qa/listing.php?id=2009 How far can a magnetic field bend light? A: Unfortunately, the ...
55
votes
2answers
6k views

Why did Feynman's thesis almost work?

A bit of background helps frame this question. The question itself is in the last sentence. For his PhD thesis, Richard Feynman and his thesis adviser John Archibald Wheeler devised an astonishingly ...
6
votes
3answers
1k views

Why aren't all photons virtual particles even in the “vacuum” of empty space? [duplicate]

I'm thoroughly confused about the nature of electromagnetic radiation. Light is supposed to exhibit both wave and particle characteristics. But does that mean that it is both a wave and a particle or ...
15
votes
2answers
3k views

Using photons to explain electrostatic force

I am trying to understand the idea of a force carrier with the following example. Let's say there are two charges $A$ and $B$ that are a fixed distance from each other. What is causing the force on $...
4
votes
1answer
250 views

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. ...
10
votes
2answers
685 views

What is the origin of the factor of $-1/4$ in the Maxwell Lagrangian?

I have seen numerous 'derivations' of the Maxwell Lagrangian, $$\mathcal{L} ~=~ -\frac{1}{4}F_{\mu \nu}F^{\mu \nu},$$ but every one has sneakily inserted a factor of $-1/4$ without explaining why. ...
5
votes
1answer
2k views

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 ...
1
vote
3answers
3k views

Why electrons can't radiate in their atoms' orbits?

It's an old-new question (I found only one similar question with unsatisfactory (for me) answer: Where did Schrödinger solve the radiating problem of Bohr's model?) It's strange for me how all books ...
5
votes
2answers
858 views

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?
2
votes
5answers
1k views

Why does accelerating electron emits photons? [duplicate]

I have read that accelerating or oscillating electron emits photons. But why and how does it so? And why only photons? There are other bosons like gluons, W and Z bosons, so why does electron emit ...
-2
votes
3answers
606 views

Why do electrons and positrons exhibit opposite helical motion in a magnetic field?

When you throw an electron through a solenoid, it moves helically around the field lines, as per this schoolphysics illustration: © Keith Gibbs 2013 Then if we were to throw a positron through the ...
5
votes
1answer
4k views

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 ...
4
votes
3answers
2k views

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 ...
-1
votes
1answer
79 views

Why are there e.m. vacuüm fluctuations?

According to the rules of qft there are virtual photons in the vacuüm. But how can this be if for the production of photons you need an electric charge?
13
votes
2answers
934 views

Is there a strong force analog to magnetic fields?

In special relativity, magnetism can be re-interpreted as an aspect of how electric charges interact when viewed from different inertial frames. Color charge is more complex than electric charge, but ...
4
votes
1answer
663 views

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?
13
votes
3answers
2k views

Why isn't light scattered through transparency?

I'm asking a question that has bothered me for years and years. First of all, let me give some context. I'm a layman in physics (college educated, math major). I've read Feynman's QED cover to cover, ...
8
votes
2answers
1k views

How does one show using QED that same/opposite electric charges repel/attract each other, respectively?

Why do same charges repel each other and opposite charges attract each other (please explain the phenomenon using real laws of nature (QED) not with the approximation model)?
6
votes
3answers
672 views

What is the massless limit of massive electromagnetism?

Consider electromagnetism, an abelian gauge theory, with a massive photon. Is the massless limit equal to electromagnetism? What does it happen at the quantum level with the extra degree of freedom? ...
5
votes
2answers
612 views

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 ...
11
votes
3answers
517 views

Does radio use virtual photons?

In radio communication each accelerated electron in the transmitter antenna interacts with an electron in the receiver antenna by exchanging a photon. Is that photon always a virtual photon as ...
10
votes
1answer
554 views

how does dynamic casimir effect generate correlated photons

There is a recent paper on arxiv receiving lot of acclaim http://arxiv.org/abs/1105.4714 The authors experimentally show that moving a mirror of a cavity at high speeds produces light from high ...
10
votes
2answers
903 views

Deriving Planck's radiation law from microscopic considerations?

In the usual derivation of Planck's radiation law, the energies or frequencies $\omega$ of the oscillators depend on the measurements $L$ of the black body. The model is such that the only ...
9
votes
2answers
3k views

Is there a “difference” between photons that act as virtual particles and photons that act as the quanta of EM radiation?

I) I know that virtual-photons are known to be the force-carriers for the Electromagnetic force, and that they are called "virtual" because the Energy-Time-inequality version of the Heisenberg ...
5
votes
1answer
612 views

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 ...
5
votes
4answers
944 views

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 $\exp(iKL)$...
4
votes
2answers
1k views

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 (...
3
votes
2answers
2k views

Photon as the carrier of the electromagnetic force

My physics background goes as "far" as reading popsci books on QM, Particle Physics, and Cosmology so pardon my ignorance in the below questions. I've read that the photon is the particle (quanta in ...
3
votes
1answer
1k views

What is the value of the fine structure constant at Planck energy?

At low energy, 511 keV, the value of the fine structure constant is 1/137.03599... At Planck energy $\sqrt{\frac{\hbar c^5}{G}}$, or 1.956 $\times$ 109 Joule, or 1.22 $\times$ 1028 eV, it has a ...
2
votes
1answer
86 views

Does this vertex equal 0?

If I have an interaction term in my Lagrangian that looks like: $\mathcal{L}_{int} = (\partial_\mu B_\nu)(A^\mu B^\nu - A^\nu B^\mu)$ where B is a massive spin-1 field. Am I correct in thinking that ...
5
votes
1answer
383 views

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 = \frac{1}{4}F_{\mu\nu}F^{\...
3
votes
3answers
828 views

Snell's law starting from QED? [duplicate]

Can one "interpret" Snell's law in terms of QED and the photon picture? How would one justifiy this interpretation with some degree of mathematical rigour? At the end I would like to have a direct ...
4
votes
1answer
3k views

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 ...
4
votes
1answer
442 views

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 ...
2
votes
0answers
75 views

Expectation value for the time of a photon reflection

A photon is reflected by matter (by an electron in empty space). How long does the reflection take? (i.e. is there any infinitesimal time elapsing during the reflection process?), or more precisely, ...