We
model
a
wire
as
a
potential
barrier
and
calculate
diffraction
from
that
potential
using
quantum
electrodynamics.
We
compare
our
results
with
classical
Fraunhofer
diffraction.
We
find
general
agreement
between
the
quantum
and
the
classical
results;
however,
we
find
that
the
classical
approach
overestimates
the
wire
radius.
We
consider
an
incoming
electron
beam
diffracting
from
the
potential.
We
also
consider
the
case
of
an
incoming
photon
beam.
For
the
photon
case
we
only
indicate
the
amplitudes
that
need
to
be
evaluated
numerically.
We
study
a
case
of
interference
in
quantum
electrodynamics:
two
beams
in
phase
interfere
and
diffract
from
the
wirelike
potential.
I.
INTRODUCTION
Classical
Optics
has
developed
different
tools
to
calculate
diffraction
for
different
setups
[1].
On
the
other
hand,
beyond
path
integral
approaches
for
some
particular
examples
[2],
one
cannot
find
in
the
literature
examples
of
diffraction
calculations
using
the
Feynman
diagram
approach
in
quantum
electrodynamics
(QED).
The
reason
is
that
QED
deals
with
interactions
among
elementary
particles
and
an
obstacle
such
as
a
wire
contains
a
macroscopic
number
of
elementary
particles.
However,
if
the
macroscopic
object
could
be
at
least
partially
modeled
by
a
static
potential
then
the
situation
changes.
In
this
paper
we
consider
diffraction,
or
more
accurately
scattering,
of
electrons
and
photons
from
a
potential
using
Feynman
diagrams
[3,4].
Scattering
of
electrons
from
static
potentials
is
a
simple
interaction
at
the
lowest
order
in
QED.
Scattering
of
photons
from
static
potentials
is
also
possible
but
it
is
complicated
by
the
fact
that
photons
only
interact
indirectly
with
other
photons.
We
model
a
wire
as
a
cylindrical
potential
barrier.
This
model
ignores
important
surface
properties.
Nevertheless,
the
key
aspect
of
this
potential
is
its
geometrical
resemblance
to
the
wire.
It
is
possible
to
interpret
a
diffraction
pattern
as
a
probability
distribution;
this
approach
is
probably
the
easiest
way
to
compare
the
results
from
QED
with
classical
results.
In
QED
the
amplitude
or
transition
matrix
may
be
obtained
from
Feynman
diagrams.
We
multiply
the
absolute
square
of
the
amplitude
by
the
number
of
final
states
and
obtain
the
transition
rate.
From
the
transition
rate
we
directly
obtain
a
probability
distribution.
We
compare
the
normalized
probability
distribution
from
QED
with
a
normalized
classical
diffraction
distribution
using
Fraunhofer
approach
[1].
In
QED
we
are
normally
interested
in
scattering
and
we
pay
less
attention
to
particles
that
go
through
undeflected.
This
is
not
the
case
in
classical
diffraction
where
we
consider
the
full
diffraction
pattern.
However,
using
a
semiclassical
approach
to
diffraction
it
is
possible
to
separate
the
photons
that
are
deflected
from
those
that
go
through
undeflected.
We
show
this
by
first
considering
Babinets
principle
applied
to
wire
diffraction
[1].
The
undisturbed
electric
field
!
of
an
original
beam
equals
the
electric
field
!
produced
by
the
same
beam
in
the
presence
of
the
wire
plus
the
electric
field
that
would
be
produced
by
the
beam
in
the
presence
of
a
hypothetical,
complementary
slit
! :
! = ! + ! .
(1)
Outside
the
beam
the
original
field
is
zero,
! = 0,
thus,
according
to
Eq.
(1)
we
have
that
the
fields
produced
by
the
wire
and
the
slit
are
similar
except
for
sign,
! = ! .
We
conclude
that
outside
the
beam,
wire
diffraction
and
complementary
slit
diffraction
are
identical
as
may
be
seen
in
Fig.
1.
Intensity
2.0
1.5
1.0
0.5
0.06
0.04
0.02
0.02
0.04
0.06
FIG.
1.
Diffraction
pattern
produced
by
a
wire
and
by
its
complementary
slit.
Both
diffraction
patterns
are
calculated
using
the
Fraunhofer
approximation.
The
wire
diameter
is
17
m.
The
wire
diffraction
curve
in
dashed
orange
has
been
calculated
using
a
laser
beam
with
Gaussian
profile
of
radius
0.5
mm
at
a
wavelength
of
63310!!
nm;
it
shows
two
dark
spots
at
the
edge
of
the
central
beam
[5].
The
curve
that
shows
slit
diffraction
is
in
solid
blue.
We
note
that
outside
the
central
beam
both
curves
are
indistinguishable,
as
predicted
by
Babinets
principle.
To
see
how
the
slit
diffraction
pattern
represents
wire
diffraction
within
the
beam
we
consider
the
following
semi
classical
analysis.
Photon
number
conservation
requires
that
! = !" + !" ,
(2)
where
!
is
the
total
number
of
photons,
!"
is
the
number
of
photons
that
go
past
the
wire
and
!"
is
the
number
of
photons
stopped
by
the
dark
wire.
Since
the
wire
and
the
slit
are
complementary
constructs,
the
number
of
photons
that
go
through
the
hypothetical
slit,
!"!" ,
is
the
same
as
the
number
of
photons
that
are
stopped
by
the
wire,
!"#$ = !" .
(3)
From
Eq.
(1)
we
obtain
!
!
= !! 2! ! + !! .
(4)
The
number
of
photons
that
go
pass
the
wire
is
proportional
to
the
integral
of
the
field
intensity
in
Eq.
(4)
evaluated
on
a
far
away
surface,
large
enough
to
catch
all
the
photons,
!" = ! 2
! ! + !"#$ .
(5)
Eq.
(2)
together
with
Eq.
(3)
and
Eq.
(5)
results
in
the
identity
!" =
! ! .
(6)
We
note
that
! ,
the
field
of
the
original
beams,
is
nonzero
in
a
small
region
entirely
contained
within
the
detector
range.
Integrating
Eq.
(4)
over
region
that
covers
just
the
original
beam
region
the
and
using
Eq.
(6)
we
have
an
expression
for
the
number
of
photons
in
the
main
beam
= ! 2!" +
!! .
(7)
We
note
that
the
term
!! , where ! is the field produced by the slit, represents the number of photons diffracted
by
the
wire
that
fall
within
the
beam.
We
conclude
that
!!
accounts
for
wire
diffraction
outside
! = !
and
inside
the
original
beam.
Therefore,
wire
scattering
effects
from
QED
will
be
compared
with
classical
slit
diffraction.
II.
SINGLE
BEAM
CASE
Consider
a
beam
of
electrons
travelling
along
the
zaxis
and
a
long
wire
centered
at
the
origin
along
the
y
axis
as
in
Fig.
2a.
In
QED
the
lowest
order
contribution
to
electron
scattering
in
terms
of
Feynman
diagrams
is
shown
in
Fig.
(2b).
a)
b)
!
!
x
!
z
!
Wire
FIG.
2.
a)
An
electron
moving
along
the
zaxis
is
deflected
by
a
wire
located
at
the
origin
along
the
yaxis.
b)
This
Feynman
diagram
represents
an
electron
scattering
from
an
external
field.
The
amplitude
for
the
process
in
Fig.
2b
is
represented
by
the
second
term
in
the
matrix
element
[3]
!" = !"
! ! ! ! ! ,
(8)
where
!
represents
an
incoming
electron,
!
represents
the
scattered
electron,
!
represents
the
external
field
and
the
delta
function
stands
for
the
particles
that
go
through
undeflected.
The
external
field
is
= 0 .
! =
0 0
(9)
We
model
the
wire
as
a
potential
barrier:
0
=
.
0
>
(10)
The
time
independence
of
potential
in
Eq.
(10)
yields
the
delta
function
2 ! .
Similarly,
independence
of
the
potential
on
the
ycoordinate
yields
the
delta
function
2 !" !" .
Using
standard
techniques
[3]
!
+ ! ! + ! ! cos !
!! ,
+ !
(11)
where
! !
is
a
hypergeometric
regularized
function;
this
function
is
the
Fourier
transform
of
the
potential
in
Eq.
(10).
We
note
that
if
the
initial
spin
is
up
and
the
final
spin
is
down
we
get
zero
amplitude,
thus,
diffraction
from
static
potentials
does
not
flip
the
electron
spin.
Our
interest
is
in
diffraction
at
energies
low
compared
to
the
electron
mass.
In
this
limit
Eq.
(11)
becomes
!
!
= ! ! 2, ! ! sin!
.
2
(12)
To
obtain
C
we
integrate
Eq.
(12)
and
equate
it
to
1.
We
call
! /
in
Eq.
(12)
the
transition
probability
distribution.
We
compare
Eq.
(12)
with
Fraunhofer
diffraction
for
the
slit,
which
is
proportional
to
sinc ! sin .
We
note
that
QED
treats
the
wire
as
a
3D
object
while
in
the
Fraunhofer
approach
the
wire
is
a
2D
object
[6];
this
might
result
in
an
overestimation
of
the
wire
radius
[7]
in
Fraunhofer
diffraction
as
shown
in
Fig.
3.
Intensity
1.2
1.0
0.8
0.6
0.4
0.2
0.10
0.05
0.05
0.10
FIG.
3.
Classical
and
quantum
wire
diffraction.
The
orange
dashed
curve
represents
classical
wire
diffraction.
The
solid
blue
curve
represents
quantum
diffraction.
The
net
area
under
each
graph
is
the
same.
We
note
that
first
dark
point
for
the
quantum
case
is
shifted
outward
from
the
classical
case,
which
indicates
that
the
Fraunhofer
approach
overestimates
the
wire
diameter
compared
to
the
QED
approach.
We
note
that
if
in
the
quantum
approach
we
increase
the
wire
radius
by
a
factor
of
1.21
the
first
dark
spots
in
Fig.
3
line
up.
Experimentally
we
have
verified
this
in
the
lab;
a
direct
measurement
of
the
wire
diameter
gives
a
value
of
14 m
while
a
measurement
obtained
through
Fraunhofer
diffraction
gives
17 m,
which
is
1.21
times
larger
than
the
actual
value.
Thus,
QED
provides
the
more
realistic
value.
Photon
diffraction
from
a
static
potential
is
scattering
of
light
by
light
[8,9].
The
lowest
level
contribution
comes
from
a
set
of
six
Feynman
diagrams
[8,9,10]
as
the
one
in
Fig.
4a.
!
!
a)
b)
x
z
!
!
/2
/2
!
FIG.
4.
a)
There
are
six
Feynman
diagrams
for
photon
scattering
from
a
static
potential
but
they
are
all
related
to
this
diagram.
The
photon
interacts
with
the
potential
through
a
virtual
electron
loop.
b)
Notation:
the
incoming
photon
has
4momentum
!
and
the
scattered
photon
has
4momentum
! .
The
scattering
angle
is
.
The
wire
is
placed
along
the
yaxis.
The
4momenta
!
and
!
are
the
momenta
exchanged
with
the
wire.
In
QED
the
process
in
Fig.
4a
is
closely
related
to
Delbruck
scattering
first
observed
in
1973
[11].
In
Delbruck
scattering,
a
photon
is
scattered
by
the
Coulomb
potential
of
the
nucleus
of
an
atom.
With
some
modifications
in
notation,
shown
in
Fig.
4b,
we
adopt
the
results
for
Delbruck
scattering
in
Ref.
10.
This
is
possible
because
the
authors
of
Ref.
10
approach
to
Delbruck
scattering
is
general.
The
amplitudes
for
scattering
circular
polarized
photons
from
a
static
potential
[9,10]
can
be
written
as
M!! = M!! =
! ! !
! !
+ ! ! ! + ! ! ! ,
(13)
M = M =
! ! ! [ ! ! ! ! ! ,
(14)
where
the
sign
+
()
stands
for
right
(left)
circular
polarized
light,
represents
the
Fourier
transform
of
the
!
potential,
and
,
! ,
and
!
are
functions
of
the
internal
and
external
momenta
in
terms
of
rational,
logarithm
and
dilogarithm
functions
[10].
The
magnitude
square
of
the
momentum
of
the
two
virtual
photons
is
!
and
! .
The
integral
represents
the
virtual
electron
loop.
The
Fourier
transform,
(),
of
the
potential
that
represents
the
wire
is
the
same
as
in
Eq.
(11).
This
function
is
finite
and
positive
for
small
relative
to
the
electron
mass;
at
higher
values
the
function
is
small
and
highly
oscillatory.
This
means
that
only
small
values
of
the
internal
momentum
in
the
integral
in
Eqs.
(13)
and
(14)
are
significant.
For
wire
diffraction
at
energies
small
compared
to
the
electron
mass
we
use
the
!
approximations
given
in
Ref.
10
for
the
functions
,
! ,
and
! ;
however,
these
approximations
contain
negative
powers
of
,
secant
and
cosecant
functions
of
which
are
problematic
when
approaches
0
and
when
is
integrated
from
0
to
2
respectively.
Therefore,
at
any
given
order
of
external
momentum,
one
must
make
sure
those
singular
terms
in
Eqs.
(13)
and
(14)
are
canceled.
III.
TWO
BEAM
CASE
In
this
section
we
explore
wire
diffraction
when
a
wire
is
at
the
beam
intersection
as
in
Fig.
5.
Two
beams
in
phase
cross
each
other
at
an
angle
.
!
!!
x
2
z
2
Wire
!!
FIG.
5.
Two
beams
with
a
constant
phase
difference
intersect
at
a
small
angle
.
A
thin
wire
is
scanned
across
the
beam
intersection.
The
scattering
angle
is
.
Here
we
consider
the
electron
case;
the
photon
case
is
similar.
The
matrix
element
is
the
linear
superposition:
!" =
! ! ! ! !! + !! ,
(15)
where
! ! , ! !!!!! .
The
superposition
of
amplitudes
in
Eq.
(15)
is
interference
in
QED
[12].
Using
standard
techniques
[3]
we
obtain
the
transition
probability
per
particle,
which
is
proportional
to
1
1
+ !
+ ! ! sin sin !
2
2
! !
! !
! !
+
+ cos cos sin sin ! !!
2
2
+ !
+ ! ! cos cos
.
(16)
where
! = ! ! 2, ! sin!
!
!
!
!
! and ! = ! ! 2, ! sin!
!
!
!
!
= ! ! + 2! ! cos + ! ! ,
(17)
where
is
a
normalization
constant.
In
Fig.
6
we
plot
Eq.
(17)
together
with
Fraunhofer
diffraction
for
a
slit
illuminated
by
the
two
intersecting
beams;
the
wire
is
placed
at
the
center
of
a
bright
fringe,
= 0.
Once
again
Fraunhofer
diffraction
overestimates
the
radius
of
the
wire.
FIG.
6.
The
quantum
diffraction
curve
for
the
electron
is
in
solid
blue.
Fraunhofer
diffraction
curve
is
in
dashed
orange.
The
beams
intersect
at
= 0.1.
The
wire
is
at
the
center
of
a
bright
fringe.
We
now
observe
the
effect
of
the
wire
as
we
scan
it
across
the
beam
intersection.
We
note
that
changing
the
phase
is
equivalent
to
scanning
the
wire
across
the
beam
intersection
while
keeping
the
wire
at
the
origin.
In
Fig.
7
we
plot
the
probability
distribution
in
Eq.
(17)
as
a
function
of
scattering
angle
and
phase
difference
.
As
we
scan
the
wire
across
the
beam
intersection
we
observe
the
presence
of
constructive
and
destructive
interference.
When
the
wire
is
at
region
of
destructive
interference
the
distribution
reaches
a
minimum
due
to
a
decrease
of
diffracted
photons.
FIG.
7.
The
wire
is
scanned
across
the
beam
intersection
of
two
beams
that
intersect
at
angle
= 0.1.
The
angle
is
the
scattering
angle.
Looking
along
phase
difference
axis
we
see
a
periodic
increase
and
decrease
of
diffracted
light
as
we
reach
a
bright
and
dark
fringe
respectively.
Wire
diffraction,
at
low
energies,
with
two
interfering
photon
beams
should
result
in
a
probability
distribution
similar
to
the
electron
case
in
Eq.
(17).
An
analysis
of
the
incoming
and
outgoing
photon
momentum
shows
that
results
for
the
single
beam
of
photons
in
Eqs.
(13)
and
(14)
may
be
used
with
one
!
!
!
modification;
the
scattering
angle
changes
from
,
where
the
sign
+
is
for
the
+
beam
and
the
sign

!
!
!
is
for
the

beam
in
Fig.
5.
For
instance,
the
probability
distribution
when
light
changes
circular
polarization
is
! !!
!
= M!! ! + M!! ! !!! ,
where
M!! !
is
the
single
beam
amplitude
in
Eq.
(14)
to
change
a
right
handed
photon
into
a
left
handed
photon
evaluated
at
VI.
REFERENCES
!
!
!
!
and M!!
!
!
is
the
same
amplitude
evaluated
at
!
1.
2.
3.
!
!
Hecht,
E.,
and
A.
Zajac.
Optics.
Reading:
Addison

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