# Quantum Field Theory and antiparticles vs particles

Does a particle and its antiparticle share the same field in QFT? If an electron is an energized spot in the electron field, is a positron a less energized spot or even a spot of negative energy (if there is such a thing) in the electron field? From the basic knowledge I posses, it would make sense that two particles that are identical except for their charge, would come from the same field.

Thanks for helping me out and sorry for how naive this question is. I have been poking around on the internet trying to figure this out and have only become more confused.

• Have a look at this answer to a relevant question physics.stackexchange.com/q/391 – anna v Sep 12 '18 at 9:17
• I was recomended by Cosmas Zachos who follows this site, the introductory field theory book by Peskin and Schroesder . I found a pdf here : fulviofrisone.com/attachments/article/483/… – anna v Sep 12 '18 at 12:11
• – anna v Sep 12 '18 at 16:53
• Particles and antiparticles share the same complex field. – Prahar Mitra Jan 23 '20 at 16:26

## 2 Answers

Yes, particles and antiparticles are excitations of the same field. (A special case: photons are their own antiparticles, so the statement is tautological in this case.)

However, antiparticles are not excitations with less energy or negative energy. An antiparticle with momentum $\vec{p}$ has the same energy as a particle with momentum $\vec{p}$.

• New user @DavidStJean asks:"Is there a source available for the answer above? I would like to learn more" – anna v Sep 12 '18 at 9:11
• A source at what level? This is covered in literally any QFT textbook. At a pop-sci level, maybe Feynman's little book QED? – user1504 Sep 12 '18 at 13:16

Electrons and positrons sort of share the same field, but not really. The complexity is that you cannot just point to a spot in space and say "the electron field here is energized." Electrons and positrons are spin-1/2 fermions, and QFT textbooks normally represent them with 4-component Dirac spinors. If you are not comfortable with the word "spinor" that is fine it is not imortant: the important term in this context is "4-component." The heuristic justification that I normally hear is that you get one component each for left-handed electrons, right-handed electrons, left-handed positrons, and right-handed positrons. Two spin states, direct product with two charge states. But, there is an extra tricky subtlety in that I cannot point to the 2nd component of the spinor and say "this is the size of the excitation of the right-handed electron field." In the Weyl basis that might actually be possible in the non-interacting relativistic limit, I am not sure, but in general each component could be a mixture of all four states.

The main take-away is that positrons are not just negative excitations of the electron field. Positrons have their own degrees of freedom that can fluctuate independently from the electron degrees of freedom. Charge conservation and spin conservation couple the positron and electron degrees of freedom in important ways, but a priori they are independent fields.

Most of this comes from bits of conversation, but Peskin and Schroeder page 45 might be a good place to go for more information.