Are vacuum EM modes circularly polarized according to QED?

  • #1
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I'm talking of the virtual EM modes of vacuum...
 

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  • #2
Vanadium 50
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In what direction would you expect them to be polarized?
 
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How can I expect a direction when I don't even know if it is possible for Virtual photons to have circularly polarized modes? In other words; are the fundamental vacuum EM virtual modes circular polarized (like real photons) ? IOWs, in vacuum does QED take into account a virtual photon's circularly polarized state?
 
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PeterDonis
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How can I expect a direction when I don't even know if it is possible for Virtual photons to have circularly polarized modes?
You've missed the point @Vanadium 50 was making. For any EM mode to be polarized, it must be polarized in a particular direction. That means that particular direction is different from other directions. But in the vacuum, all directions are the same; they have to be, because it's vacuum, so there is nothing there to pick out a particular direction. So virtual photons in the vacuum can't be polarized, because if they were, it would violate the property of the vacuum that all directions are the same.
 

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