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Electron oscillating in vacuum

  1. Nov 8, 2009 #1
    My question is a relatively short one. Simply put it is:

    "Will an electron oscillating in a vacuum lose energy?"

    My thought comes from does the presence of the moving charge create electromagnetic fields. I have no idea how you could get the charge to oscillate but perhaps in the neutral point between two other stationary charges could create it but I am not sure.

  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 8, 2009 #2


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    Yes, as you stated the oscillating charge creates electromagnetic radiation which propagate power from the charge out to space. In addition, the charge couples to the vacuum state of electromagnetic fields. This coupling also gives rise to dampening if I recall correctly. So just assuming an oscillating charge and quantum electrodynamics, you end up having a damped harmonic oscillator that requires energy input to keep going.
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