Laser photon merging in an electromagnetic field inhomogeneity

Holger Gies, Felix Karbstein, Rashid Shaisultanov

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)


We study the effect of laser photon merging, or equivalently high harmonic generation, in the quantum vacuum subject to inhomogeneous electromagnetic fields. Such a process is facilitated by the effective nonlinear couplings arising from charged particle-antiparticle fluctuations in the quantum vacuum subject to strong electromagnetic fields. We derive explicit results for general kinematic and polarization configurations involving optical photons. Concentrating on merged photons in reflected channels which are preferable in experiments for reasons of noise suppression, we demonstrate that photon merging is typically dominated by the competing nonlinear process of quantum reflection, though appropriate polarization and signal filtering could specifically search for the merging process. As a byproduct, we devise a novel systematic expansion of the photon polarization tensor in plane wave fields.

Original languageEnglish
Article number033007
JournalPhysical Review D - Particles, Fields, Gravitation and Cosmology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Aug 12 2014
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nuclear and High Energy Physics

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