Polarization, Vacuum

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Polarization, Vacuum

 

in the quantum theory of fields, the change in the distribution of charged virtual particle-antipar-ticle pairs under the influence of an electromagnetic field. The vacuum polarization predicted by quantum electrodynamics produces effects that can be detected experimentally. These include shifts in the potential energy of the electrons in an atom, corrections to the cross section for elastic scattering at large angles, and the scattering of light by light—as yet unobserved in a Coulomb field.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
Mentioned in ?
Full browser ?