What happens to virtual photons when an EMF is extinguished?

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Let's say I feed the same electrical signal into the opposed windings of a contrawound toroidal coil, and that this results in their individual electromagnetic fields cancelling to "zero". Can someone explain what in turn happens to the virtual photons associated with those cancelled fields? For example, do they emit virtual particle pairs, self-annihilate .. or?

Are there any disturbances intrinsic to either outcome that could be said to possess characteristics of the original electric current? For example, a frequency or waveshape?
 

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I am aware there are differing opinions regarding the "reality" of virtual particles. This has been discused eleswhere, as has the Casimir Efect. My question related primarily to virtual photons.
 
  • #4
Vanadium 50
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Virtual photons are not real. The answer is the answer. You may not accept this, but it doesn't change it.
 
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  • #5
Nugatory
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I am aware there are differing opinions regarding the "reality" of virtual particles.
There are different opinions, but not different informed opinions (in this context, "informed" means "has been through a graduate-level quantum electrodynamics course" or equivalent).

Nothing happens to the virtual photons because there weren't any there in the first place.
 
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I understand virtual particles are by definition unmeasurable. But can anyone answer my original question in the context of virtual photons transmitting EMF?

[Mentor's note: This post has been edited to remove speculation not allowed under the Physics Forums rules ]
 
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Vanadium 50
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But can anyone answer my original question
No, because virtual photons are not real. Nothing "happens to them" because they are not real things.
 
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strangerep
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[...] Nothing "happens to them" because they are not real things.
Hmm. In view of the OP's response to earlier answers, I suspect the virtual photons start huddling together, whispering amongst themselves about how those silly humans are not real.

o0)
 
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  • #9
Demystifier
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I think the question asked by OP is not so meaningless. Even though the virtual photons are not real, they are a useful computation tool. So one can rephrase his question into something like - how the mathematics of virtual photons would look like in such-and-such physical situation? In his case, I would say that there would be two sets of virtual photons, the contributions (to the total force) of which would cancel each other.
 

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