- In the realm of quantum field theory, particles are not fundamental entities, but rather excitations in their corresponding quantum fields.
- A quantum field can be envisioned as composed of virtual or real particles, which are manifestations of the field’s excitations.
- Virtual particles exist for a very short period (the exact length of time is not known) and do not have well-defined properties like location or momentum.
- Real particles can exist for an indefinite period and have a definite location and momentum.
- When energy is introduced to the field it becomes excited and the resulting fluctuations can cause a particle to materialize.
- An energy infusion into a quantum field can come from various sources including another particle, the effect of an observation, or from energy fluctuations within a field.
- Virtual and real particles are seen as fluctuations stemming from the field itself. This notion envisions a quantum field as an expansive sea teeming with potential particles. When energy infusions occur, a particle can materialize either as a virtual or real particle, in line with the principles of quantum dynamics.
- An example of a quantum field is the electromagnetic field. If the electromagnetic field receives sufficient energy, it can generate an excitation that appears as a virtual or real photon, a single particle of electromagnetic radiation (light).
- This principle extends to all other particles – W and Z bosons, protons, neutrons, and Higgs bosons. They all emerge as excitations of their respective quantum field.