

Signal velocity in quantum electrodynamicsThe fulfillment in quantum electrodynamics of the principle of relativistic causalitythe signal velocity does not exceed the velocity of lightis discussed. In Sec. 1 it is argued that this principle is not guaranteed automatically merely by the local commutativity of the theory. Section 2 is a critical review of the signal transmission problems which have been formulated and solved in the literature. In Sec. 3, this problem is considered in the framework of a simple but fairly realistic model of quantum electrodynamics. The signal source is an external current localized in some region $S$. The arrival of a signal in a region $D$ at a distance $R$ is established by a change in the coordinate, momentum, or energy of a charged particle. It is shown that proof of relativistic causality of the theory requires one to take into account appropriately quantummechanical and, in particular, quantumelectrodynamical features of the problem. In the final fourth section, a general formulation and exact solution of the signal transmission problem are given. The treatment is of sufficient generality for one to be able to assert that in the framework of quantum electrodynamics none of the possible methods of signal transmission violate relativistic causality.


