New strong-field QED effects at extreme light infrastructure

Nonperturbative vacuum pair production
Topical issue: Fundamental Physics and Ultra-High Laser Fields

Abstract

Since the work of Sauter, and Heisenberg, Euler and Köckel, it has been understood that vacuum polarization effects in quantum electrodynamics (QED) predict remarkable new phenomena such as light-light scattering and pair production from vacuum. However, these fundamental effects are difficult to probe experimentally because they are very weak, and they are difficult to analyze theoretically because they are highly nonlinear and/or nonperturbative. The extreme light infrastructure (ELI) project offers the possibility of a new window into this largely unexplored world. I review these ideas, along with some new results, explaining why quantum field theorists are so interested in this rapidly developing field of laser science. I concentrate on the theoretical tools that have been developed to analyze nonperturbative vacuum pair production.

PACS

12.20.-m Quantum electrodynamics 11.15.Kc Classical and semiclassical techniques 

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© EDP Sciences, SIF, Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhysicsUniversity of ConnecticutStorrsUSA

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