Quantum Physics


The Wave Structure of the Electric Field

Authors: Michael Harney

Maxwell's equations describe the interactions of the electromagnetic field at a macroscopic level. In the 1920s, Louis DeBroglie demonstrated that every moving particle (including an electron) has a wave nature, and we know from Einstein that every wave has a particle nature, which we call the photon. Later in the 1930s, Paul Dirac's development of the famous Dirac equation showed the quantum nature of the electron at relativistic speeds. Then in 1948 Richard Feynman and Julian Schwinger extended these concepts in the development of quantum electrodynamics which gives a full accounting (although a very strange one) of how an electron can borrow energy from the vacuum of space and return it legally as long it does so within limits of the uncertainty principle.

Comments: 5 pages

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Submission history

[v1] 10 Apr 2010

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