New strong-field QED effects at extreme light infrastructure
Nonperturbative vacuum pair production
Department of Physics, University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT, 06269-3046, USA
Corresponding author: a email@example.com
Published online: 6 February 2009
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
© EDP Sciences, Società Italiana di Fisica, Springer-Verlag, 2009