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I Do photons carry the electric field?

  1. May 8, 2018 #1
    In basic electrostatics any charged particle will produce an electric field at every point in space, and will have electric filed lines spreading out radially.

    E = kQ/r^2

    The Standard model of particle physics says that the Photon is the force carrier for the Electromagnetic force, just like the Gluon is the force carrier for the Strong force, and the W/Z bosons for the Weak force etc. Does this mean that charged particles are emitting photons to attract or repel other charges? How does electrostatic attraction work at the quantum level?
  2. jcsd
  3. May 8, 2018 #2
    Hi Robert Leslie,
    No, actually not.
    It is often said that charges exchange virtual photons (please note the word "virtual"), but this is only a crude description of the actual mathematics, which is described by the quantum field theory called Quantum Electrodynamics. I think it is better to view it as that the charges create disturbances in the field which result in attraction/repulsion.
    Last edited: May 8, 2018
  4. May 8, 2018 #3


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