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Do Electrons need Energy to Excite the EM field?

  1. Dec 3, 2015 #1
    Electrons have both mass and electromagnetic charge, so why is it that an electron's rest energy is equal to its mass energy with E=mc^2? Shouldn't it have some energy left over to excite the electromagnetic field? The mass energy excites the Higgs field, so why is there no energy for the EM field?
     
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  3. Dec 6, 2015 #2

    Simon Bridge

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    The particle property associated with EM is charge, no "charge energy" is used up to make an excitation of the EM field producing a virtual photon.
    The particle property associated with higgs is mass... you will notice that the particle does not lose mass energy to excite the higgs field producing the higgs boson.
    Note: you cannot do physics by analogy.
     
  4. Dec 7, 2015 #3
    The field E around an electron (or any charged particle) has energy proportional to E^2. It's thought this energy actually contributes to the rest mass of the electron. But it will never lose any of that energy to excite some other field.
     
  5. Dec 8, 2015 #4

    Simon Bridge

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    ... the self-energy of the electron, handled through renormalization.
    It's kinda tricky to figure how best to answer this question since it seems to combine pop science descriptions.
     
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