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Title: On refractive processes in strong laser field quantum electrodynamics

Refractive processes in strong-field QED are pure quantum processes, which involve only external photons and the background electromagnetic field. We show analytically that such processes occurring in a plane-wave field and involving external real photons are all characterized by a surprisingly modest net exchange of energy and momentum with the laser field, corresponding to a few laser photons, even in the limit of ultra-relativistic laser intensities. We obtain this result by a direct calculation of the transition matrix element of an arbitrary refractive QED process and accounting exactly for the background plane-wave field. A simple physical explanation of this modest net exchange of laser photons is provided, based on the fact that the laser field couples with the external photons only indirectly through virtual electron–positron pairs. For stronger and stronger laser fields, the pairs cover a shorter and shorter distance before they annihilate again, such that the laser can transfer to them an energy corresponding to only a few photons. These results can be relevant for the future experiments aiming to test strong-field QED at present and next-generation facilities. -- Highlights: •Investigation of the one-loop amplitude of refractive QED processes in a laser field. •The amplitude is suppressed for amore » large number of net-exchanged laser photons. •Suggestion for first observation of high-nonlinear vacuum effects in a laser field.« less
Authors:
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
22224240
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Annals of Physics (New York); Journal Volume: 338; Other Information: Copyright (c) 2013 Elsevier Science B.V., Amsterdam, The Netherlands, All rights reserved.; Country of input: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
71 CLASSICAL AND QUANTUM MECHANICS, GENERAL PHYSICS; AMPLITUDES; ELECTROMAGNETIC FIELDS; LASER RADIATION; LASERS; MATRIX ELEMENTS; NONLINEAR PROBLEMS; PHOTONS; QUANTUM ELECTRODYNAMICS; RELATIVISTIC RANGE; VACUUM POLARIZATION; WAVE PROPAGATION