28 September 2011 Virtual and real photons
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Abstract
Maxwell did not believe in photons. However, his equations lead to electro-magnetic field structures that are considered to be photonic by Quantum ElectroDynamics (QED). They are complete, relativistically correct, and unchallenged after nearly 150 years. However, even though his far-field solution has been considered as the basis for photons, as they stand and are interpreted, they are better fitted to the concept of virtual rather than to real photons. Comparison between staticcharge fields, near-field coupling, and photonic radiation will be made and the distinctions identified. The question of similarities in, and differences between, the two will be addressed. Implied assumptions in Feynman's "Lectures" could lead one to believe that he had provided a general classical electrodynamics proof that an orbital electron must radiate. While his derivation is correct, two of the conditions defined do not always apply in this case. As a result, the potential for misinterpretation of his proof (as he himself did earlier) for this particular case has some interesting implications. He did not make the distinction between radiation from a bound electron driven by an external alternating field and one falling in a nuclear potential. Similar failures lead to misinterpreting the differences between virtual and real photons.
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Andrew Meulenberg, Andrew Meulenberg, } "Virtual and real photons", Proc. SPIE 8121, The Nature of Light: What are Photons? IV, 812114 (28 September 2011); doi: 10.1117/12.892956; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.892956
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