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28
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5answers
3k 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?
24
votes
4answers
5k 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, ...
13
votes
8answers
6k views

Can the magnetic lines of force of two or more magnets intersect each other?

Basic property of magnetic lines of force is that, they can never intersect each other. Among the two points given below, which one is correct? Magnetic lines of force of same magnet can't intersect ...
13
votes
3answers
3k 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 ...
13
votes
2answers
2k 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 ...
12
votes
1answer
483 views

How is it possible the speed of light is not constant?

I was reading this article recently, which summarizes a couple of new studies into the speed of light. In one paper, Marcel Urban from the University of Paris-Sud, located in Orsay, France and his ...
11
votes
3answers
410 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 ...
8
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
1k 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 ...
7
votes
3answers
744 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? ...
7
votes
3answers
753 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
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 ...
7
votes
2answers
2k 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 ...
7
votes
4answers
1k views

Hawking Radiation - Why it causes black holes to die? [duplicate]

If a particle is being expelled from the 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
3answers
961 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 ...
6
votes
2answers
456 views

Virtual photon counting

How to calculate number of exchanged virtual photons per unit of time between two electromagnetically interacting objects?
6
votes
2answers
166 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 ...
6
votes
2answers
995 views

How do we distinguish between virtual particle exchange and particle decay?

The difference between virtual particles and unstable particles is discussed at length in this question (namely, virtual particles correspond to internal lines in Feynman diagrams and are not ...
6
votes
1answer
279 views

Quantum Electrodynamics

I was wondering if anyone could give a simple explanation of how light interacts with matter. From what I have read in QED, electrons will repel each other because of their ability to emit and ...
6
votes
2answers
3k 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
219 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
3answers
523 views

Virtual Higgs boson?

Can particles emit a virtual Higgs boson in a similar manner to the way a virtual photon is emitted?
5
votes
4answers
4k 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 ...
5
votes
3answers
3k 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
309 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 ...
5
votes
2answers
12k views

What exists in the Space between atoms

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 ...
5
votes
1answer
686 views

The nature of time, according to quantum field theory

I will try my best to ask the question that best fits something I have been pondering on for a few days. Are virtual particles really constantly popping in and out of existence? Or are they ...
4
votes
1answer
220 views

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 ...
4
votes
2answers
658 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
902 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
74 views

What happens to the planck distribution if the temperature is set to zero?

BE Problem I am currently working on modelling the density of states and optical conductivity of graphene utilizing the GW algorithm. In calculating the exchange self energy of the system, the ...
4
votes
1answer
225 views

If virtual particles have negative mass why do they contribute positive mass to atoms?

According to Lawrence Krauss, atoms containing in our body consists of merely 10% (if I remember correctly) of our total mass. The rest come from virtual particles popping in and out of existence from ...
4
votes
1answer
157 views

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 ...
4
votes
1answer
350 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
63 views

If a particle travelled in a closed timelike curve, would it look like a virtual particle-antiparticle pair?

In Feynman's single-electron hypothesis, he reaches the conclusion that a particle travelling backwards in time will look like its antiparticle. So if we have a particle travelling a closed time-like ...
4
votes
2answers
158 views

Will the increasing rate of expansion of the universe eventually result in Hawking Radiation suddenly occurring everywhere?

The universe is expanding at an ever increasing rate. Virtual particles are being created and then destroyed everywhere at every moment. As space expands even faster, will a time come when these ...
4
votes
1answer
150 views

Electromagnetic Field VS Photons [duplicate]

I am currently studying electrodynamics with all the fields and the like. Now, as I understand it, in a more modern viewpoint there is a duality between electromagnetic fields and photons, with ...
4
votes
2answers
154 views

On-shellness of photons

In principle, we could describe all physics without EM fields (or photons), as they are mainly a useful tool to describe "action at distance" (which does not mean instantaneous) between charged ...
4
votes
1answer
495 views

Gravitational redshift of virtual photons

There is well known gravitational redshift of real photons. What about gravitational redshift of virtual photons of charged neutron star? Is electrostatic force become weaker while mass of ...
3
votes
2answers
565 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 ...
3
votes
3answers
420 views

What is the density of virtual photons around a unit charge?

It seems that virtual photons also exist in vacuum. So the precise question is: What is the additional virtual photon density due to the electric field of a unit charge? Or: How many virtual photons ...
3
votes
3answers
224 views

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 ...
3
votes
2answers
296 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
96 views

Is it possible to create matter from space?

Like could maybe fluctuate the space some how and make the virtual paricles turn into normal matter
3
votes
2answers
899 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
3answers
139 views

How does a photon “know” that it's left one charge and that it's going to another one?

How does it know the same charge it left will be the same charge it will return to? My understanding is photons are neutral and have no charge. i.e. Like charges repel, unlike attract. All charged ...
3
votes
1answer
81 views

Which assumption is less plausible, “action at a distance”, or that “virtual particles” can exist for a short time?

It is understood that virtual particle appear in Feynman diagrams as a tool of calculus. And it is understood that they are problematic about their mass, and cannot be detected (is that sure indeed?). ...
3
votes
1answer
2k 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) ...
3
votes
1answer
270 views

Quantum field theory quote

I have read this in scientific American: According to quantum field theory, all particles spend a little time as combinations of all other particles" Is this right? How long? And how can they be a ...
3
votes
3answers
1k views

what causes virtual particle pair production to not occur in the space occupied by matter?

Are virtual particles only popping in and out of existence where the local energy density is below a certain point? What I wonder is, does any kind of matter prevent the pairs from appearing? Is ...