# What is the difference which leads to attraction in e+e- scattering and repulsion in e-e- scattering in QFT

What is the theoretical difference between the physical elementary interaction that causes an e+ to attract an e− when they exchange a virtual photon? Why is this exchange different from an e-e- scattering (which produces repulsion)?
This question is related to but more specific than the recently posted The exchange of photons gives rise to the electromagnetic force. It has not been answered there. It would be good to see the answer somewhere.

• Isn't this basically the same thing as physics.stackexchange.com/questions/2244/…? If not, it'd help to edit the question to specify exactly how this one differs from #2244 and why the answers to that question don't cut it for you. (And in that case I will certainly reopen the question) Commented Dec 25, 2010 at 0:08
• @David: It looks like this one might be contained within the question you linked, but latter is so vague that it's hard to say (and I don't think this one will be answered on the linked one). Anyway, this one should be at least edited to make the text longer than the title. =P Commented Dec 25, 2010 at 0:12
• I think this is a great question that shows appreciations for QED going a little beyond qualitative hand-waving. In particular, one has to understand the difference between $e^- e^-$ scattering and $e^- e^+$ scattering which are great elementary processes in their own right. So I'd like it to be opened. At the same time though, I suggest OP to formulate the body of the question clearer and remove the speculative statements that just decrease the value of this great question, in my opinion. Commented Dec 25, 2010 at 0:57
• @sigoldberg1: Edit your question to mention the one linked by David. Explain that that question is not likely to yield the specific answer you are looking for. Then specify a little better what you are looking for: "Is there an understanding of the physical interaction the causes an $e^+$ to attract an $e^-$ when they exchange a virtual photon? Why is this exchange different from an $e^-"$e^-\$ scattering (which produces repulsion)? Commented Dec 25, 2010 at 4:08
• @David this is a great question and a very specific one, contrary to the one you are comparing it to. And it has a very specific answer, which has to do with Fermi statistics and Wick contraction. You can find the details on pages 121 and 122 of Peskin and Schroeder. I realize how this question is thematically similar to the one you cite. However, the similarity ends there!
– user346
Commented Dec 25, 2010 at 8:59