I mentioned previously that the attraction between two opposite charged particles appears to present a conservation of momentum problem if electrostatic forces are mediated by photon exchanges. Related to this issue is the question of what makes a photon a carrier of a magnetic field versus an electrostatic field. QFT specifies that this happens because the field (sea of electron-positron pairs/virtual particle terms) absorbs the conservation loss, but as far as I can find, does not try to answer the second question.
Part of the difficulty here is that attempting to apply classical thinking to a QFT problem doesn’t work very often. Virtual photons in QFT do not meet the same momentum conservation rules we get in classical physics, either in direction or quantity.
But, since I hypothesize an underlying vector field structure, it is interesting to pursue how the Unitary Twist Field theory would deal with these issues.
I ruled out any scheme involving local bending of the background field vector. This would be an appealing solution, easy to compute, and easy to see how different frames of reference might alter the electrostatic or magnetic nature. But this doesn’t work because you must assume any possible orientation of the electron ring, and it is easy to show that a local bend would be different for two receiving particles at equal distance but different angles from a source particle. I worked with this for a while and found there is no way that the attraction due to a delta bend would be consistently the same for all particle orientations.
The only alternative is to assume that the field consists of twists, either full or partial returning back to the background state (photons and virtual photons respectively). Why does an unmoving electron not move in a magnetic field but is attracted/repelled in an electrostatic field? QFT answers this simply by assuming that the electrostatic and magnetic components of the field are quantized and meet gauge invariance. My understanding of QFT is that asking if a single photon is magnetic or electrostatic is not a valid question–the field is quantized in both magnetic and electrostatic components, composed of virtual photon terms that don’t have a classical physical analog.
I suppose the unitary twist field theory is yet another classical attempt. Nevertheless, it’s an interesting pursuit for me, mostly because of the geometrical E=hv quantization and special relativity built in to the theory. It seems to me that QFT doesn’t have that connection, and thus is not going to help derive what makes the particle zoo.
This underlying vector field does not have two field components real and imaginary, just one real. Even if this unitary twist field thing is bogus, it points to an interesting thought. If our desired theory (QFT or unitary twist field) wants to distinguish between a magnetic field or an electrostatic field using photons, we only have one degree of freedom available to do the distinction–circular polarization. What if polarization of photons was what made the field electrostatic or magnetic?
An objection immediately comes to mind that a light polarizer would then be able to create electrostatic or magnetic fields, which we know doesn’t happen. But I think that’s because fields are made of much lower energy photons. Fourier decomposition of a field would show the vast majority of frequency components would be far lower even when the field energy is very high–in the radio frequency range. Polarizing sheets consist of photon absorbing/retransmitting atoms and would be constrained to available band jumps–I’m fairly certain that there is no practical way to construct a polarizer at the very low frequencies required–even the highest orbitals of heavy atoms are still going to be way too fast.
If polarization is the distinguishing factor, then it poses some interesting constructions for the unitary twist field approach. If it is not, then the magnetic versus electrostatic can only be an aggregate photon array behavior, which seems would have to be wrong–a thought experiment can be constructed that should disprove that idea. Quantization of a very distant charged particle effect, where the quantized field particle probability rate is slow enough to be measurable, could not show the distinction in any given time interval.
Supposing polarization is the intrinsic distinction in single photons. Unitary twist fields have two types of linear twist vectors, those lying in the plane common to the background vector and normal to the direction of travel, and those lying in the plane common to the background vector and parallel to the direction of travel. (There is a degenerate case where the direction of travel is the same as the direction of the background state, but this case still has circular polarization because there are now two twist vectors in the planes with a common background vector and a pair of orthogonal normal vectors).
Since static particles are affected by one twist type (inline or normal) and not the other, and moving particles are affected by the other twist type, one proposal would be that the particle experiences only the effect of one of the twist types relative to the path of motion and the background vector. For example, if the particle is not moving, only twists normal to the direction of travel will alter the internal field of the receiving particle such that it moves closer or further away (attraction or repulsion). A problem with this approach is the degenerate case, which must have both and eletrostatic and magnetic response, but both twist vectors will be inline twists, there is no twist normal to the background state that will include the background state vector.
More thinking to come…