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Electron mass increased by electromagnetic coupling like it is by Higgs coupling?

  1. Dec 13, 2011 #1
    Would electromagnetic coupling between an electron with charge e and an electromagnetic field with scalar potential V_em add to its mass in the same way as its coupling to the scalar Higgs field?


    mass_electron = g V_Higgs + e V_em

    Somewhere I got the picture that a left-handed massless electron state is flipped to a right-handed one and vice-versa each time it interacts with the Higgs field. The electron mass/energy is then given by hbar times the frequency of this flipping. I don't know if this is right. If it is then perhaps the same flipping behaviour (excuse my language!) can occur due to interactions with photons in an electromagnetic field.
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2011
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 13, 2011 #2

    Hans de Vries

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    There's a crucial difference.

    The electromagnetic field [itex]A^\mu[/itex] is a vector field and V_em is the time component
    of this vector. The value of V_em is different in different reference frames.

    The Higgs field however is (must be) a true Lorentz scalar and its value is the
    same in all reference frames.

  4. Dec 13, 2011 #3


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    johne1618, Regarding the flipping.. in the massless case, right-handed and left-handed fermions are completely independent of each other. But if a mass term is present in the Lagrangian it couples them together: L = m (eLeR + eReL). This is true regardless of whether the mass comes from the Higgs field or is put in by hand. You shouldn't think of this as a repeated "flipping".. there is no time dependence involved.
  5. Dec 13, 2011 #4
    Yes QED increases the electron mass. Infinitely in fact, the bare mass of the electron is infinite, and QED screening gives an infinite subtraction to it, given an electron mass of ∞-∞ = anything finite. QED isn't very predictive for masses. But QED doesn't work for a massless electron, and doesn't work for energies above a certain point. I think this is saying that deep down a (3d space + 1 time) universal with QM and a phase at every point in space is not in fact a possible complete theory of a universe, somewhere some else has to be
    added to make a fully viable theory.
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