We all know that an electron will induce vacuum polarization. But what if I have a current in a wire? Will this current induce another current in vacuum? Or something like a virtual current?

In other words, will the velocity of the electron influence the vacuum polarization?


1 Answer 1


Retardation causes the repelled negative virtual charged particles to be further repelled from a more previous position of the conduction electron than the attracted positive virtual particles are attracted to, so there is a net virtual electric current. The positive charges in the wire have retarded and current position the same and do not affect virtual currents in the vacuum. Magnetism can be seen as retarded electric Coulomb forces.

The second question is if the speed of the conduction electrons affect the vacuum polarization. It will increase retardation with increased speed, but also have a weaker field due to fewer conduction electrons, for the same electrical current. So in effect only the electrical current in the wire affects vacuum polarization and vacuum displacement currents.


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge that you have read and understand our privacy policy and code of conduct.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.