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Could electron scatter off vacuum fluctuations?

  1. Dec 24, 2014 #1
    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?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 24, 2014 #2

    mfb

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    Energy and momentum are conserved. Such a scattering process would change them.
     
  4. Dec 24, 2014 #3
    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?
     
  5. Dec 24, 2014 #4

    mfb

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    The virtual photon from the Coulomb field has a "connection" to something else where it can transfer momentum to.
     
  6. Dec 24, 2014 #5
    Yes, I see...
    Thank you!
     
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