Rotation of Feynman Diagrams around an Electron-Photon Vertex

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Feynman diagrams are symbolic representations for interactions among elementary particles. An interaction occurs when particle trajectories intersect at a vertex. The fundamental vertex in quantum electrodynamics involves a photon γ, represented by a wavy line, and two electrons e, entering and exiting the vertex, represented by solid lines. Arrows oriented in the positive-time direction identify the particles as negatively charged electrons . Arrows oriented in the negative-time directions represent antiparticles, positrons propagating forward in time. Each Feynman diagram can be interpreted as an integral which contributes to the quantum-mechanical amplitude of a process, via a set of Feynman rules. Remarkably, different orientations of a Feynman diagram can represent alternative sequences of spacetime events. You can rotate an vertex into eight different orientations, each describing a completely different physical process. Included are electron-positron creations and annihilations, which contain the essence of Einstein's mass-energy relation .

Contributed by: S. M. Blinder (March 2011)
Open content licensed under CC BY-NC-SA


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