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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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100
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3answers
4k views

Does the $\frac{4}{3}$ problem of classical electromagnetism remain in quantum mechanics?

In Volume II Chapter $28$ of the Feymann Lectures on Physics, Feynman discusses the infamous $\frac43$ problem of classical electromagnetism. Suppose you have a charged particle of radius $a$ and ...
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7answers
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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 ...
73
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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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How wrong are the classical Maxwell's equations (as compared to QED)?

Now, I don't really mean to say that Maxwell's equations are wrong. I know Maxwell's equations are very accurate when it comes to predicting physical phenomena, but going through high school and now ...
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Why don't electron-positron collisions release infinite energy?

Questions of the form: An electron and a positron collide with E MeV of energy, what is the frequency of the photons released. quite often come up in my A Level course (for often fairly arbitrary ...
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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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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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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-...
34
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4answers
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Why have our eyes not evolved to see “gluons”? [closed]

The photons are the propagators for QED, and we rely on photons to see the world around us. The gluon is the propagator in QCD. Why have our eyes not evolved to see gluons (either on top of being ...
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7answers
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Do Maxwell's equation describe a single photon or an infinite number of photons?

The paper Gloge, Marcuse 1969: Formal Quantum Theory of Light Rays starts with the sentence Maxwell's theory can be considered as the quantum theory of a single photon and geometrical optics as ...
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Do electrons really perform instantaneous quantum leaps?

This is not a duplicate, non of the answers gives a clear answer and most of the answers contradict. There are so many questions about this and so many answers, but none of them says clearly if the ...
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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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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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The path integral and Feynman diagrams

This question is somewhat of a historical one, but it also contains some physics. I am curious to find how exactly the concept of Feynman diagrams arose (I assume from Feynman's path integral)? The ...
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1answer
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How can my window not scramble the image of my yard?

How can an image pass through a window if the atoms in the glass randomly emit photons in any direction? I've read that glass is transparent because the atoms don't readily adsorb visible light, so it ...
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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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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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1answer
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The divergence in QCD Series— How many are they, and what do they mean?

I am referring to this question, and especially this answer. In addition, QCD has - like all field theories - only an asymptotic perturbation series, which means that the series itself will also ...
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7answers
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Why don't photons split up into multiple lower energy versions of themselves?

A photon could spontaneously split up into two or more versions of itself and all the conservation laws I'm aware of would not be violated by this process. (I think.) I've given this some thought, and ...
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5answers
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Why do we use potential for quantizing the electromagnetic field?

For quantizing the electromagnetic field authors go to its potential and then find themselves facing to the problems of degree of freedom from gauge transformation. Why we can't simply quantize ...
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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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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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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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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 ...
18
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1answer
887 views

Stimulated Emission in QED

The explanations of stimulated emission which I have found all describe the phenomenon in terms of non-relativistic quantum mechanics. How might you describe it in a field theory such as QED? In ...
18
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1answer
899 views

Faddeev-Popov Gauge-Fixing in Electromagnetism

Reading section 9.4 in Peskin, I am wondering about the following: The functional integral on $A_{\mu}$ diverges for pure-gauge configurations, because for those configurations, the action is zero. ...
18
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0answers
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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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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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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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1answer
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Spontaneous breaking of Lorentz invariance in gauge theories

I was browsing through the hep-th arXiv and came across this article: Spontaneous Lorentz Violation in Gauge Theories. A. P. Balachandran, S. Vaidya. arXiv:1302.3406 [hep-th]. (Submitted on 14 Feb ...
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Simple (but wrong) argument for the generality of positive beta-functions

In the introduction (page 5) of Supersymmetry and String Theory: Beyond the Standard Model by Michael Dine (Amazon, Google), he says (Traditionally it was known that) the interactions of particles ...
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Why isn't light scattered through transparency?

I'm asking a question that has bothered me for years and years. First of all, let me give some context. I'm a layman in physics (college educated, math major). I've read Feynman's QED cover to cover, ...
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How are bound states handled in QFT?

QFT seems very well suited to handle scattering amplitudes between particles represented by the fields in the Lagrangian. But what if you want to know something about a bound state without including ...
16
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3answers
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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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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 ...
16
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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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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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Why don't very high order Feynman diagrams contribute significantly?

In a particle physics lecture I had today it was stated that the magnetic moment, $g$, is not quite equal to 2, and the difference is accounted for by QED. Later it was stated that we can see this ...
15
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2answers
871 views

QCD and QED with unlimited computational power - how precise are they going to be?

My question is about quantum algorithms for QED (quantum electrodynamics) computations related to the fine structure constants. Such computations (as explained to me) amounts to computing Taylor-like ...
15
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2answers
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What tree-level Feynman diagrams are added to QED if magnetic monopoles exist?

Are the added diagrams the same as for the $e-\gamma$ interaction, but with "$e$" replaced by "monopole"? If so, is the force between two magnetic monopoles described by the same virtual $\gamma$-...
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Interpretation of Dirac Spinor components in Chiral Representation?

I failed to find any book or pdf that explains clearly how we can interpret the different components of a Dirac spinor in the chiral representation and I'm starting to get somewhat desperate. This is ...
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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
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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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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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1answer
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How does the Ward-Takahashi Identity imply that non-transverse photons are unphysical in QED?

Peskin and Schroeder say that the Ward Identity of QED proves that non-transverse photon polarizations can be consistently ignored, but I'm confused about the details. Setup One starts by ...
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1answer
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QED and anomaly

I've just started to learn anomalies in quantum field theories. I have a question. How to show that QED is free from vector current anomaly and what would happen if it were not? In other words, how ...
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The Schwinger model

The Schwinger model is the 2d QED with massless fermions. An important result about it (which I would like to understand) is that this is a gauge invariant theory which contains a free massive vector ...
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1answer
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how is shown that photon speed is constant using QED?

In Feynman's simple QED book he talks about the probability amplitude P(A to B) ,where A and B are events in spacetime, and he says that it depends of the spacetime interval but he didn't put the ...
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How to describe time evolution in relativistic QFT?

I must confess that I'm still confused about the question of time evolution in relativistic quantum field theory (RQFT). From symmetry arguments, from the representation of the Poincare group through ...
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1answer
468 views

Electric dipole moment of electron: about what point is the moment taken?

There is a lot of experimental research activity into whether the electron has an electric dipole moment. The electron, however, has a net charge, and so its dipole moment $$ {\bf \mu}= \int ({\...