Use for computational-device notional particles which are not observable in the lab, such as "off-the-mass-shell" particles, "spurions", renormalons, merons. Do *not* use for unobserved hypothetical particles such as the graviton, or Goldstone bosons which could have been observable, but got ...

learn more… | top users | synonyms (1)

12
votes
4answers
2k views

Do virtual particles actually physically exist?

I have heard virtual particles pop in and out of existence all the time, most notable being the pairs that pop out beside black holes and while one gets pulled away. But wouldn't this actually violate ...
5
votes
2answers
913 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 ...
28
votes
3answers
7k views

Are W & Z bosons virtual or not?

W and Z bosons are observed/discovered. But as force carrying bosons they should be virtual particles, unobservable? And also they require to have mass, but if they are virtual they may be off-shell, ...
11
votes
2answers
1k views

Virtual particles and physical laws

Recently, I was reading about Hawking Radiation in A Brief History of Time. It says that at no point can all the fields be zero and so there's nothing like empty space(quantum fluctuation etc.). Now, ...
8
votes
2answers
4k views

Virtual photons, what makes them virtual?

The wikipedia page "Force Carrier" says: The electromagnetic force can be described by the exchange of virtual photons. The virtual photon thing baffles me a little. I get that virtual particles ...
30
votes
4answers
2k views

Why do many people say that virtual particles do not conserve energy?

I've seen this claim made all over the Internet. It's on Wikipedia. It's in John Baez's FAQ on virtual particles, it's in many popular books. I've even seen it mentioned offhand in academic papers. ...
4
votes
4answers
360 views

Virtual Particles real? Virtual particles create a universe?

I am reading the book of Lawrence Krauss "A universe out of nothing", where he explained that the vacuum is not empty. It is a boiling brew of virtual particles that come out of their existence. And ...
12
votes
3answers
962 views

What really goes on in a vacuum?

I've been told that a vacuum isn't actually empty space, rather that it consists of antiparticle pairs spontaneously materialising then quickly annihilating, which leads me to a few questions. ...
7
votes
3answers
898 views

What makes a Feynman diagram real or virtual?

Simple question: as the title says, what makes a real Feynman diagram real, and what makes a virtual diagram virtual? Or in other words, how do I tell whether any given diagram is real or virtual? I'...
3
votes
3answers
761 views

The virtual particles are only a fictive tool in equations? DO they exist or DON'T? And if they exist, why do we call them VIRTUAL?

There is no "action at a distance" in nature. Attraction of a piece of iron by a magnet, attraction between distant electric charges of opposite sign, have to be mediated by something. The virtual ...
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 ...
5
votes
2answers
18k views

What exists in the Space between quarks

Apologies to all if this has been asked before, I searched but was unable to find one similar. This is a question that has been bugging me for a while that i haven't really been able to find a ...
9
votes
4answers
804 views

Can virtual particles be 'boosted' into becoming real particles by fields other than gravity?

On the wikipedia page for Hawking Radiation it states: Physical insight into the process may be gained by imagining that particle-antiparticle radiation is emitted from just beyond the event ...
-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?
31
votes
5answers
5k views

What physical evidence is there that subatomic particles pop in and out of existence?

What physical evidence shows that subatomic particles pop in and out of existence?
11
votes
3answers
516 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 ...
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 ...
9
votes
5answers
7k views

What are electromagnetic fields made of?

I am trying to understand electromagnetic fields so I have two question related to them. What is a electromagnetic field made of? Is it made of photons / virtual photons? How about a static electric ...
9
votes
2answers
2k views

Is the force carrier of the magnetism in a common household magnet a photon?

As I have understood it, the Standard Model includes particles that carry the different forces, e.g. the electromagnetic (EM) force, the gravitational (G) force. When talking about EM fields such as ...
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

Are there any other mechanisms that can make virtual particles 'real' other than Hawking Radiation and Universe Births?

As I understand it, if virtual particles do not recombine within the plank time they become 'real'. This is proposed to happen in Hawking Radiation, where one virtual particle crosses the black hole'...
3
votes
2answers
1k 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
207 views

Virtual Photon transmission speed of a Static Electric Field?

In the case of a non-accelerating point charge "A" of stable velocity, its static field is treated as though it is instantaneously present at a distance, i.e. a second point charge "B" will react to ...
2
votes
2answers
113 views

How virtual photons give rise to electric and/or magnetic field? [duplicate]

Say a neutron which have magnetic moment despite carrying no charge. Isn't both the electric field and magnetic field consist of virtual photons? So how can the same virtual photons give rise to 2 ...
2
votes
2answers
366 views

Does path integral and loop integral in a Feynman diagram violate special relativity?

Consider a correlation function between two points $A(x_1,t_1)$ and $B(x_2,t_2)$, we need to integrate over paths which could be infinite long. But the time length $(t_1-t_2)$ is finite, so if $A$ and ...
1
vote
1answer
2k views

Is it possible that the Big Bang was caused by virtual particle creation?

As far as I understand, it is understood that throughout the universe there exists, what is known as, a quantum field from which, due to its fluctuations, temporary (pairs of) virtual particles ...
1
vote
2answers
2k views

Is all matter made of virtual particles?

This article in New Scientist says that all matter is actually virtual particles popping in and out of existence and nothing more. is this correct?
1
vote
1answer
1k views

How does negative energy from Hawking Radiation cause a Black Hole to shrink? [duplicate]

Hello this is expanding upon a question that was previously asked on stack exchange that I linked below. From what I understand of Black Holes is that overtime Hawking Radiation results in the Black ...
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
1answer
120 views

Time taken for gravity of a distant object to interact with a newly created particle? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: The speed of gravity Does gravity travel at the speed of light? Imagine there is a large mass $m_1$ (e.g. a star) 1 light-year away from us. It is stable, stationary ...
9
votes
2answers
2k views

What's the relation between virtual photons and electromagnetic potentials?

Given that: 1) virtual photons mediate the electric and magnetic force fields 2) the magnetic field is the curl of the magnetic vector potential 3) the electric field is the negative gradient of ...
6
votes
1answer
5k views

What force particle mediates electric fields and magnetic fields?

The force carrier for magnetic fields and electric fields are supposedly photons. I don't get it: 1) Wouldn't that mean that a charged particle (e.g. an electron or even a polarized H2O molecule) ...
4
votes
2answers
893 views

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 ...
7
votes
4answers
2k views

Why does Hawking radiation cause black holes to die? [duplicate]

If a particle is being expelled from a black hole and an antiparticle is being driven into it, shouldn't the opposite occur as well and in the same frequencies? I mean, black holes should emit ...
6
votes
2answers
5k views

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 particle, ...
2
votes
0answers
98 views

What is the influence of QED vacuum in electron-double-slit experiments?

In a recent question on superpositions of different quarks it was explained, that the superpositions of different electric charged particles cannot exist, in contrast to strangeness quantum number. It ...
7
votes
2answers
4k views

Do permanent magnets emit virtual photons?

Is the magnetic field propagated by photons or by virtual photons? If it is by photons, then doesn't that mean that magnets lose energy and eventually become non magnets?
6
votes
2answers
274 views

Are black holes eternal?

The question might sound very easy - Hawking radiation, however I was pondering that as you get closer and closer to a black hole, time dilates exponentially where the surface of the black hole is "...
6
votes
2answers
471 views

Virtual photon counting

How to calculate number of exchanged virtual photons per unit of time between two electromagnetically interacting objects?
5
votes
1answer
560 views

Energy conservation of Virtual Particles - Quantum Fluctuation?

I (as a middle-school student) was wondering how virtual particles even conserve energy of the entire system? I don't mean just the particle's energy, but conservation with respect to the surroundings?...
3
votes
3answers
430 views

Feynman paths of FTL velocity have imaginary momentum?

In this Phys.SE answer it is discussed that Feynman path integrals sums amplitudes for all possible paths, including those that are not time-like. If you take the momentum-space path integrals, I ...
3
votes
4answers
392 views

Virtual particles/quantum tunneling - conservation of energy?

I'm confused as to how the above phenomena can take place since arent they breaking the law of conservation of energy (even, if temporarily)?
2
votes
2answers
368 views

Hawking Radiation and virtual particles

Why is energy/ mass taken away from a black hole? Doesn't the energy coming from the virtual particle come from the vacuum energy? ...if this is so, why does the black hole have to pay the energy ...
8
votes
2answers
413 views

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 ...
5
votes
5answers
7k views

What is meant by “Nothing” in Physics/Quantum Physics?

I am not a phycisist, so please forgive my ignorance. This is related to my posts and this. I am trying to understand what is meant by the term "Nothing" in physics or Quantum Field Theory (QFT) since ...
4
votes
0answers
124 views

At what expansion rate (H) would virtual particles be ripped apart into real particles, and what might be the density (temperature) of such an event?

Is it even possible for a virtual particle-antiparticle pair to be torn apart by cosmological expansion? Virtual particle-antiparticle pairs are ripped apart near black hole event horizons, creating ...
3
votes
1answer
202 views

Are virtual exchange particles real or just mathematical? [duplicate]

When an electron exchanges a virtual photon with another electron or proton, is the virtual photon a real particle or just a mathematical construct? In string theory, the force carrier particles of ...
3
votes
2answers
954 views

Spacelike and timelike photons

I know the definition of space-like and time-like intervals. How do you show that in some reaction the virtual photon(s) is spacelike/timelike? On page 191 Peskin and Schroeder, it says "since $q^2&...