Could electron scatter off vacuum fluctuations?

  • Thread starter asya
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  • #1
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Main Question or Discussion Point

Electron can scatter off virtual photon of Coulomb field (or even emit real photon). But why it cannot do the same off virtual photons of vacuum fluctuations without external field?
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
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Energy and momentum are conserved. Such a scattering process would change them.
 
  • #3
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Intuitively I understand that.
But formally what is a difference between a virtual photon of Coulomb field and a virtual photon of ground state vacuum fluctuations? Why in the first case conservation lows are OK but in the second one not?
 
  • #4
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The virtual photon from the Coulomb field has a "connection" to something else where it can transfer momentum to.
 
  • #5
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Yes, I see...
Thank you!
 

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