Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

A Wave of an outgoing anti-particle in quantum field theory?

  1. Nov 6, 2016 #1

    I'm studying a course of the Quantum Field Theory and I got a question in a canonical quantization of a scalar field.

    I don't write a full expression of the field quantization here but the textbook said terms with ei(p⋅x - Ept) are associated with an incoming particle and terms with ei(-p⋅x + Ept) are for an outgoing anti-particle (p is positive). Here, natural units are used so 3-dimensional momentum vector p is equal to the wavenumber.

    Since my undergraduate student years, I have always agreed that ei(p⋅x - Ept) is a complex expression of an incoming (going right) wave since Re[ei(p⋅x - Ept)] = cos(p⋅x-Ept), which is obviously right-going wave. I thought If the wave of the particle (ex: an eigenfunction of the particle in the Quantum mechanics) propagates to the right, the particle itself really goes to the right.

    However, If I take real part of ei(-p⋅x + Ept) (it is a phase factor of terms for the outgoing anti-particle) to see how a wave of the outgoing anti-particle propagates, Re[ei(-p⋅x + Ept)] = cos(-p⋅x+Ept)=cos(p⋅x-Ept), which is same to that of the incoming particle!

    I think I have some misunderstood concepts in my mind but I don't know what it is.
    Could you please tell me what was I wrong?
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 11, 2016 #2
    Thanks for the thread! This is an automated courtesy bump. Sorry you aren't generating responses at the moment. Do you have any further information, come to any new conclusions or is it possible to reword the post? The more details the better.
  4. Nov 12, 2016 #3

    A. Neumaier

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

    The textbook is sloppy and alludes to Dirac's sea interpretation of the negative energy solution in his (or the corresponding scalar) equation. In quantum field theory proper, however, there is no Dirac sea and the antiparticles have their own associated wave functions that behave as intuition (including yours) require.
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Have something to add?
Draft saved Draft deleted