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Quantum Fluctuations

  1. Mar 18, 2013 #1
    Contrary to a classical vacuum, particles tend to pop into and out of existence in a quantum vacuum. When analyzing a Feynman diagram (such as Moller scattering), is the virtual photon that mediates the electromagnetic interaction considered to be a quantum fluctuation? (Any feedback will be helpful).
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 18, 2013 #2
    Loosely speaking, it's the loops in Feynman diagrams that represent "quantum fluctuations." For example, a photon line can be interrupted by an electron loop:

    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/9/99/Vacuum_polarization.svg

    This diagram can be interpreted as a propagating photon interacting with an electron-positron pair that briefly pops out of the vacuum and then disappears again.
     
  4. Mar 18, 2013 #3
    okay thanks that clarifies it.
     
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