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Photon-Photon scattering. Anyone who knows about this?

  1. Apr 18, 2004 #1


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    Time has come for me to do my master thesis project, and Photon-Photon scattering is a hot candidate! Right now I'm just trying to get into the subject, and would be really happy if someone who knows about this could help me. I am familiar with basic quantum mechanics, and am right now studying QED and quantum optics, but any help on any level would be great!
    I would also really appreciate some good links/references about Photon-Photon scattering in general, and the following subjects in particular:

    *The Heisenberg-Euler Lagrangian, and the resulting nonlinear corrections to Maxwell's vacuum equations.

    *Suggested Photon-Photon scattering detectors.

    *High intensity lasers in general.

    *Ultra-short intense lasers (chirped pulse amplification).

    *Free electron laser (FEL).
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 19, 2004 #2
    Why is this interesting today? I thought it was all figured out theoretically ages ago: The leading diagram involves a square of electron lines with four photon lines emerging from the corners. There are apparently no divergences in this order, and the cross-section is very very small.
    Any qed book should discuss this problem. For example, Schweber's old standard work "An introduction to relativistic quantum field theory" is 40 yeqrs old now, but still pretty thorough.
  4. Apr 21, 2004 #3


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    Photon - photon scattering in QED is indeed well established. Perhaps you might like to study the more unestablished QCD description of inclusive photon-photon scattering. Basically, one of the photons emits a quark or gluon at low energy, which interacts with the other photon at high energy. This allows one to determine the quark and gluon content of the photon, as well as the QCD coupling, a fundamental constant.
    This is valuable for future e+e- linear colliders, and is still fairly hot reseach. I can point you to some theoretical and experimental papers on the subject if you're interested.
  5. Apr 21, 2004 #4


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    What is a master thesis project? Is it a six month project, a three months one...? Note the educational system does not agree around all the world :-)

    For the theory: As photon-photon scattering is a old topic, I'd suggest to look first in books from the sixties, ie Landau, Bjorken-Drell and its descendents. For a first approach do not touch modern books. In any case, avoid the "intermediate age" of QFT (the Itzkinson-Zuber age) and go directly to Peskin-Schroeder and similar.
  6. Apr 21, 2004 #5


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    Drachman, Si, Arivero, thanks a lot for your answers and opinions!
    I'm well aware photon-photon scattering is an old topic and well established. My plan is not to just study it in general, but in specific to analyse the effects of the interaction between ultra-short intense laser pulses and x-ray free electron lasers. The aim would be to investigate the possibility of direct detection of photon-photon scattering. (Of what I have heard, it has never been detected yet. Anyone who knows?)

    The project is usually 20 weeks, but I will have time to make it up to 30-35 weeks.

    And Si, yes please, I'm interested in any papers!

    So what do you think about this subject? Is it something to, as we at least say in Sweden, "hang in the Christmas tree"?
    This subject is just a candidate, and I have time to find something else also, so please be honest!
  7. Apr 27, 2004 #6


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    Well, hard photoproduction is my subject, so I'm bound to give a biased opinion! The advantage of colliding photons in order to study QCD, as opposed to protons, is that photons are much "cleaner" (after collision, the smashed protons produce alot more junk, or "background"). Theoretically it's a little more complete too.

    There is a lot of literature on this subject. I would start with

    http://xxx.soton.ac.uk/abs/hep-ph/?0206169 [Broken]

    It's a couple of years out of date, but I think it's still very comprehensive.

    By the way, you do know about


    ? Here you can download most papers in high energy physics, as well as search along citation paths.
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