# QED: basic process which violates energy-momentum conservation

Why is the following process not possible?

My book says it's because it violate energy and momentum conservation. Can someone explain me explicitly why? Why couldn't an energetic electron not radiate an photon and continue to propagate with a smaller momentum?

• Put initial electron in the rest $(m,0,0,0)$. The emission photon is $(E,0,0,E)$. The electron after emitting photon is $(m−E,0,0,−E)$. By $p^2=m^2$, we have $(m−E)^2−E^2=m^2$ thus $−2mE=0$, which is not possible. Nov 17, 2013 at 8:39
• Related: physics.stackexchange.com/q/12488/2451 , physics.stackexchange.com/q/13513/2451 , physics.stackexchange.com/q/22916/2451 , and links therein. Nov 17, 2013 at 9:35
• @user26143: can you make that an answer. Comments are transient things and can disappear, but an answer will remain for future generations of budding physicists :-) Nov 17, 2013 at 10:11
• @John Rennie Surely Nov 17, 2013 at 13:57

Put the initial electron in rest, the four momentum is $(m,0,0,0)$. The emission photon is $(E,0,0,E)$. The electron after emitting photon is $(m−E,0,0,−E)$. By $p^2=m^2$, we have $(m−E)^2−E^2=m^2$ thus $−2mE=0$, which is not possible.