Questions tagged [quantum-electrodynamics]

Quantum electrodynamics (QED) is the quantum field theory believed to describe electromagnetic interaction. It is the simplest example of a quantum gauge theory, where the gauge group is abelian, U(1).

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76
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7answers
38k views

What is the relation between electromagnetic wave and photon?

At the end of this nice video (https://youtu.be/XiHVe8U5PhU?t=10m27s), she says that electromagnetic wave is a chain reaction of electric and magnetic fields creating each other so the chain of wave ...
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2answers
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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 ...
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4answers
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Explain reflection laws at the atomic level

The "equal angles" law of refection on a flat mirror is a macroscopic phenomenon. To put it in anthropomorphic terms, how do individual photons know the orientation of the mirror so as to bounce off ...
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3answers
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How are classical optics phenomena explained in QED (Snell's law)?

How is the following classical optics phenomenon explained in quantum electrodynamics? Reflection and Refraction Are they simply due to photons being absorbed and re-emitted? How do we get to Snell'...
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6answers
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Why can't photons have a mass?

Why can't photons have a mass? Could you explain this to me in a short and mathematical way?
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3answers
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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 ...
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2answers
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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 ...
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4answers
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What would the collision of two photons look like?

Could someone explain to me what the collision of two photons would look like? Will they behave like, Electromagnetic waves: they will interfere with each other and keep their wave nature Particles: ...
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5answers
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Spontaneous pair production?

So I've been looking into particle-antiparticle pair production from a gamma ray and don't understand one thing. Let's say I have a 1,1 MeV photon and it hits a nucleus - electron-positron pair with ...
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4answers
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What exactly is a quantum of light?

I am currently trying to learn some basic quantum mechanics and I am a bit confused. Wikipedia defines a photon as a quantum of light, which it further explains as some kind of a wave-packet. What ...
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2answers
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EM wave function & photon wavefunction

According to this review Photon wave function. Iwo Bialynicki-Birula. Progress in Optics 36 V (1996), pp. 245-294. arXiv:quant-ph/0508202, a classical EM plane wavefunction is a wavefunction (in ...
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1answer
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Why are there e.m. vacuüm fluctuations?

According to the rules of qft there are virtual photons in the vacuüm. But how can this be if for the production of photons you need an electric charge?
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Why electrons can't radiate in their atoms' orbits?

It's an old-new question (I found only one similar question with unsatisfactory (for me) answer: Where did Schrödinger solve the radiating problem of Bohr's model?) It's strange for me how all books ...
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1answer
165 views

Relation between radio waves and photons generated by a classical current

Several questions have been posted on Physics SE regarding the relationship between photons and electromagnetic waves, and several good answers have been given. Some of those questions are listed ...
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1answer
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Do composite particles that are electrically neutral but have charged constituents radiate?

For example an electron radiates when accelerated. So does a positron. But is the radiation emitted by accelerated positronium the sum of the radiation emitted by each separately? If not, why not? If ...
16
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What is the origin of the factor of $-1/4$ in the Maxwell Lagrangian?

I have seen numerous 'derivations' of the Maxwell Lagrangian, $$\mathcal{L} ~=~ -\frac{1}{4}F_{\mu \nu}F^{\mu \nu},$$ but every one has sneakily inserted a factor of $-1/4$ without explaining why. ...
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5answers
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How many photons are needed to make a light wave?

What is the smallest number of photons needed to make a "light wave"? In other words, how many (coherent?) photons start to exhibit classical behavior? For example, how many photons are needed to get ...
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3answers
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How does light know which path is fastest?

We know from Fermat's principle of least time that light follows the fastest path. But how does light know which path is the fastest?
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2answers
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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 ...
6
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4answers
767 views

What will happen if the photon has non-zero mass?

I want to know the theoretical implication if photons have a non-zero mass. What happens to the Maxwell equations? What happens to QFT? If the photon have mass it can decade?
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1answer
320 views

Virtual Photon in Electron Scattering Feynman diagram [duplicate]

If we know that the virtual photon emitted in an electron scattering Feynman diagram violates the energy and momentum conservation laws (though temporarily), why do we accept it as a feasible diagram ...
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6answers
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How do we know photons have spin 1?

Electrons have spin 1/2, and as they are charged, they also have an associated magnetic moment, which can be measured by an electron beam splitting up in an inhomogeneous magnetic field or through the ...
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2answers
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Chiral anomaly and decay of the pion

I am told that if all classical symmetries were reflected as quantum symmetries, the decay of the neutral pion $$\pi^0 ~\longrightarrow~ \gamma\gamma$$ would not happen. Why would the conservation of ...
18
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2answers
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Bound states in QED

I am a beginner in QED and QFT. What is known (or expected to be) about bound states in QED? As far as I understand, in non-relativistic QM electron and positron can form a bound state. Should it be ...
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3answers
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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 ...
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6answers
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Can a light be bent by a magnetic field?

I'm struck with two competing ideas on the question in the title. Listing #1: How far can a magnetic field bend light? A: Unfortunately, the path light takes is not affected by the presence of a ...
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1answer
640 views

What is the constraint on the Gauge Potential in the Covariant Gauges?

One of the most common gauges in QED computations are the $R_{\xi}$ gauges obtained by adding a term \begin{equation} -\frac{(\partial_\mu A^{\mu})^2}{2\xi} \end{equation} to the Lagrangian. ...
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1answer
601 views

Effect of introducing magnetic charge on use of vector potential [duplicate]

It is well known that Maxwell equations can be made symmetric w.r.t. $E$ and $B$ by introducing non-zero magnetic charge density/flux. In this case we have $div B = \rho_m$, where $\rho_m$ is a ...
5
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2answers
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Principle of Reflection on atomic level

This well-observed phenomenon has, besides several others, always been a fascination to me. We are well aware of several theories, experiments, and practical applications of this well-known phenomenon,...
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Can electromagnetic fields be used to deconstruct and reconstruct atoms?

I was thinking one day and came up with a theory after reading about how scientists were studying anti-matter by using electro magnetic fields to separate matter from the anti-matter they made. It ...
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5answers
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Can a photon get emitted without a receiver?

It is generally agreed upon that electromagnetic waves from an emitter do not have to connect to a receiver, but how can we be sure this is a fact? The problem is that we can never observe non-...
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2answers
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How electromagnetic waves are created?

Macroscopically, electromagnetic waves are produced by a changing dipole or an oscillating charged particle as shown below: In this case, the frequency of the electromagnetic radiation is equal to ...
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2answers
4k views

Can an electron jump to a higher energy level if the energy is insufficient or exceeds the $\Delta E$?

Lets say we have an atom of hydrogen. It has one electron on $E_1 = -13.6~\mathrm{ eV} ~~(E_2 = -3.4~\mathrm{eV})$ energy level. I know that if we fire a photon with 10.2 eV energy the hydrogen atom ...
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2answers
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Why and how, in QED, can excited atoms emit photons?

The quantum mechanics of the structure of atoms as determined by the electromagnetic forces inside them correctly describes the location and coupling of the different energy levels in essentially all ...
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4answers
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If the electron is point like, then what is the significance of the classical radius of the electron?

What is the physical meaning/significance of the classical radius of the electron if we know from experiments that the electron is point like? Is there similarly a classical radius of the photon? The ...
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0answers
753 views

Magnetic monopole and electromagnetic field quantization procedure [duplicate]

From the Maxwell's equations point of view, existence of magnetic monopole leads to unsuitability of the introduction of vector potential as $\vec B = \operatorname{rot}\vec A$. As a result, it was ...
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2answers
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Why can't a real scalar couple to the electromagnetic field?

If we have a complex scalar $\phi$ we know that the gauge-invariant interaction with $A$ is given by $A^\mu J_\mu$, where $J$ is the Noether current of the $U(1)$ symmetry of the Lagrangian $$ J_\mu\...
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1answer
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Conservation of BRST current in QED

I am trying to understand the conservation of the BRST current in QED but am having some trouble. This is what I have so far, QED lagrangian density in Lorenz gauge is, $$L = \frac{1}{4}F_{\mu\nu}F^{\...
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3answers
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Amplitude of light waves

We know from intuition that a wave has a property called Amplitude. I am also convinced that the Amplitude of a water wave decreases slowly when it is far from its source/ I.e.when the wave is spread. ...
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4answers
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If electromagnetic fields give charge to particles, do photons carry charge?

As I understand these two statements: An electromagnetic field gives particles charge A photon is a quantum of electromagnetic field It must mean that a photon carries charge. But I guess it isn't ...
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2answers
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Why did Feynman's thesis almost work?

A bit of background helps frame this question. The question itself is in the last sentence. For his PhD thesis, Richard Feynman and his thesis adviser John Archibald Wheeler devised an astonishingly ...
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2answers
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Is there a strong force analog to magnetic fields?

In special relativity, magnetism can be re-interpreted as an aspect of how electric charges interact when viewed from different inertial frames. Color charge is more complex than electric charge, but ...
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2answers
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Using photons to explain electrostatic force

I am trying to understand the idea of a force carrier with the following example. Let's say there are two charges $A$ and $B$ that are a fixed distance from each other. What is causing the force on $...
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3answers
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Properties of the photon: Electric and Magnetic field components

Consider an electromagnetic wave of frequency $\nu$ interacting with a stationary charge placed at point $x$. My question concerns the consistency of two equally valid quantum-mechanical descriptions ...
9
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1answer
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Are atoms unstable in $d\geq 4$ spatial dimensions when quantum mechanics is taken into account?

I understand that in 3+1 dimensions according to classical physics atoms should be unstable however atoms are stable in 3+1 dimensions because the behavior of atoms is governed by quantum physics ...
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2answers
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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 ...
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2answers
923 views

Is there any idea why the electric charges of electron and muon are equal?

Is there any idea explaining why the electric charges of electron and muon are equal? Edit: The total charge of a particle is proportional to the integral of its own electric field flow through the ...
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3answers
788 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 ...
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6answers
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How is the double slit experiment modeled in contemporary physical theories?

Suppose I have the following double split experiment set up: a monochromatic electron source of low intensity, which we can model as emitting a single electron at a time with energy $T$. a ...
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2answers
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How does one show using QED that same/opposite electric charges repel/attract each other, respectively?

Why do same charges repel each other and opposite charges attract each other (please explain the phenomenon using real laws of nature (QED) not with the approximation model)?