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The uncertainty principle and electric field strength

  1. Dec 17, 2012 #1
    As my knowledge of an electric field strength becomes more precise, what physical quantity becomes correspondingly less precisely known?
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 17, 2012 #2


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    There's no (direct) analogue of the "uncertainy principle" in quantum field theory.
  4. Dec 17, 2012 #3


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    One can start with the Maxwell Lagrangian and show that there are three pairs of canonical conjugate field operators

    [tex][A_i(x),E_k(y)] = i\,\delta_{ik}\,\delta^{(3)}(x-y)[/tex]

    The problem is that we have a gauge theory, so there are unphysical d.o.f. which we have to eliminate; a first choice is the A°=0 gauge b/c for A° there's no E° due to the antisymmetry of the field strength tensor F and therefore ∂°A° is not present in F. Even then not all three i=1..3 are physical, we have to eliminate a second one to arrive at two physical polarizations.

    Using Fourier decomposition one can introduce creation and annihilation operators for the fields; in terms of these operators it becomes clear that the canonically conjugate pair x,p is replaced by something like the Fourier modes of A and E, therefore one can derive an uncertainty principle for A(k) and E(k) where k is representing momentum space.
  5. Dec 17, 2012 #4
    Thank you both. Good stuff. : )
  6. Dec 18, 2012 #5
    Here A are operators,similarly in quantum field theory these exist these kinds of relation for bosons and also for fermions but that is rather anticommutation.
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