Methodological notes

Signal velocity in quantum electrodynamics

The fulfillment in quantum electrodynamics of the principle of relativistic causality--the signal velocity does not exceed the velocity of light--is 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 quantum-mechanical and, in particular, quantum-electrodynamical 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.

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Fulltext is also available at DOI: 10.1070/PU1978v021n04ABEH005541
PACS: 11.10.−z
DOI: 10.1070/PU1978v021n04ABEH005541
Citation: Shirokov M I "Signal velocity in quantum electrodynamics" Sov. Phys. Usp. 21 345–358 (1978)
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ќригинал: Ўироков ћ » «—корость сигнала в квантовой электродинамике» ”‘Ќ 124 697–715 (1978); DOI: 10.3367/UFNr.0124.197804f.0697

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