Friday, April 03, 2009

Exploring the Quantum Vacuum with Lasers

Quantum Vacuum Experiments Using High Intensity Lasers
The quantum vacuum constitutes a fascinating medium of study, in particular since near-future laser facilities will be able to probe the nonlinear nature of this vacuum. There has been a large number of proposed tests of the low-energy, high intensity regime of quantum electrodynamics (QED) where the nonlinear aspects of the electromagnetic vacuum comes into play, and we will here give a short description of some of these. Such studies can shed light, not only on the validity of QED, but also on certain aspects of nonperturbative effects, and thus also give insights for quantum field theories in general.

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