Are Virtual Exchange Particles a Valid Concept in Understanding Remote Forces?

In summary, the concept of virtual particles and vacuum fluctuations is often used in quantum field theory, but it is better to think in terms of fields to describe interactions. The Feynman diagrams are a mathematical notation for calculating S-matrix elements. The idea of virtual exchange particles is not necessary and can be better explained through fields. Further insights and explanations can be found in the Insights Blogs on this topic.
  • #1
planet-75
10
1
TL;DR Summary
What is the concept or idea of this term?
Such particles are virtual, but it should be possible to associate a basic idea with them, as this is the foundation of calculation methods.

I think the concept of vacuum fluctuations in the form of virtual, fluctuating pairs of particles is something else. Is the idea of virtual exchange particles, which allegedly fly back and forth between real particles in order to be able to justify remote forces by impulses, a serious and useful idea, or are there better descriptions for it? That would work, if at all, only for repulsive forces. How, for example, a virtual photon could be used to create an attraction is beyond me.
 
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  • #2
The concept is perturbation theory and it's just slang of quantum field theorists. It's better to think in terms of fields to describe interactions than to picture the interaction as the "exchange of virtual particles". The Feynman diagrams are just an ingenious mathematical notation for the formulae that enable you to calculate S-matrix elements via perturbation theory for a given quantum field theory (like the standard model of elementary particles). You find very valuable Insights articles about the use and abuse of "virtual particles" and "vacuum fluctuations" in the Insights Blogs of this forum

https://www.physicsforums.com/insights/what-are-virtual-particles-intro/
https://www.physicsforums.com/insights/vacuum-fluctuation-myth/
 
  • #4
Another simple answer is that you don't need virtual photons at all. The field picture is much more intuitive and even formally more appropriate.
 

1. What is the concept of exchange particles?

The concept of exchange particles is a fundamental principle in quantum field theory, which explains the interactions between subatomic particles. It states that particles interact with each other by exchanging other particles, known as exchange particles, which carry the forces between them.

2. What are some examples of exchange particles?

Some examples of exchange particles include photons, which mediate the electromagnetic force, and gluons, which mediate the strong nuclear force. W and Z bosons are exchange particles that mediate the weak nuclear force, and gravitons are believed to mediate the gravitational force.

3. How do exchange particles mediate interactions between particles?

Exchange particles mediate interactions between particles by carrying the forces between them. For example, when two electrons repel each other, they exchange photons, which carry the electromagnetic force between them. This exchange of particles is what allows the particles to interact with each other.

4. What is the significance of the concept of exchange particles?

The concept of exchange particles is significant because it provides a theoretical framework for understanding the fundamental forces of nature. It also helps explain the behavior of subatomic particles and their interactions with each other. This concept has been crucial in the development of modern physics and has led to many important discoveries.

5. How does the concept of exchange particles relate to the Standard Model of particle physics?

The concept of exchange particles is a key component of the Standard Model of particle physics, which is the most accepted theory that describes the fundamental particles and forces in the universe. In the Standard Model, exchange particles are represented by specific particles, such as photons and gluons, and their interactions are described by mathematical equations. Without the concept of exchange particles, the Standard Model would not be able to accurately describe the behavior of particles and their interactions.

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