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The Photon: A Virtual Reality

机译:光子:虚拟现实

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摘要

It has been observed that every photon is, in a sense, virtual - being emitted and then sooner or later absorbed. As the motif of a quantum radiation state, the photon shares these characteristics of any virtual state: that it is not directly observable; and that it can signify only one of a number of indeterminable intermediates, between matter states that are directly measurable. Nonetheless, other traits of real and virtual behavior are usually quite clearly differentiable. How 'real', then, is the photon? To address this and related questions it is helpful to look in detail at the quantum description of light emission and absorption. A straightforward analysis of the dynamic electric field, based on quantum electrodynamics, reveals not only the entanglement of energy transfer mechanisms usually regarded as 'radiative' and 'radiationless'; it also gives significant physical insights into several other electromagnetic topics. These include: the propagating and non-propagating character in electromagnetic fields; near-zone and wave-zone effects; transverse and longitudinal character; the effects of retardation, manifestations of quantum uncertainty and issues of photon spin. As a result it is possible to gain a clearer perspective on when, or whether, the terms 'real' and 'virtual' are helpful descriptors of the photon.
机译:已经观察到,从某种意义上讲,每个光子都是虚拟的-被发射然后迟早被吸收。作为量子辐射态的母题,光子具有任何虚拟态的这些特征:它不能直接观察到;它不能直接观察到。并且它只能表示直接可测量的物质状态之间许多不确定的中间物之一。尽管如此,真实和虚拟行为的其他特征通常还是很明显可区分的。那么,光子有多“真实”?为了解决这个问题和相关问题,详细研究光发射和吸收的量子描述将很有帮助。基于量子电动力学对动电场的简单分析,不仅揭示了通常被视为“辐射”和“无辐射”的能量转移机制的纠缠;还揭示了能量转移机制的纠缠。它还为其他几个电磁主题提供了重要的物理见解。这些特征包括:电磁场中的传播特性和非传播特性;近区和波区效应;横向和纵向特征;延迟的影响,量子不确定性的表现以及光子自旋的问题。结果,可以更清楚地了解术语“真实”和“虚拟”何时或是否是光子的有用描述。

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