Clarify interaction between real and virtual particles...

  • I
  • Thread starter asimov42
  • Start date
  • #1
371
3
Hi all,

I've read a number of posts on virtual particles (including one of my own), but I'm still confused about one aspect - the interaction between real and virtual particles.

Say we have an electron moving from position A to position B. As the electron moves, there should be virtual electron-positron pairs popping into existence along the trajectory due to vacuum fluctuations (i.e., the vacuum energy). When computing the actual path of the electron, I should sum over all possible ways to get from A to B ... this would include interactions with the virtual particles (in which, e.g., the real electron annihilates with one of the virtual positrons), etc., etc., AND the case of no interactions at all - is this correct?

Also as asked by a poster in another thread (and for my own curiosity): "And what's to prevent real particles from hitting a virtual particle (as it is in the process of popping into and out of existence) and then flying off in a different direction?"

Thanks!
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
Orodruin
Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
Homework Helper
Insights Author
Gold Member
16,829
6,652
When computing the actual path of the electron, I should sum over all possible ways to get from A to B ... this would include interactions with the virtual particles (in which, e.g., the real electron annihilates with one of the virtual positrons), etc., etc., AND the case of no interactions at all - is this correct?
Essentially. This is taken into account in the renormalisation of the electron propagator.

Also as asked by a poster in another thread (and for my own curiosity): "And what's to prevent real particles from hitting a virtual particle (as it is in the process of popping into and out of existence) and then flying off in a different direction?"
Conservation of 4-momentum.
 

Related Threads on Clarify interaction between real and virtual particles...

Replies
7
Views
3K
Replies
11
Views
2K
Replies
19
Views
1K
  • Last Post
Replies
10
Views
1K
  • Last Post
Replies
7
Views
2K
  • Last Post
Replies
12
Views
4K
Replies
6
Views
4K
  • Last Post
3
Replies
71
Views
15K
Replies
24
Views
4K
Replies
30
Views
3K
Top