Title: Quantum dynamics in high intensity electromagnetic fields
HEP Oct10 flyer
Abstract: A sufficiently strong electric field spontaneously emits electron-positron pairs, leading to its rapid decay into an electron-positron-photon plasma. Anticipated for 80 years, this phenomenon is coming into reach thanks to newly-developed high-intensity lasers like the Texas Petawatt and Extreme Light Infrastructure in Europe. Electron-positron pair production dynamics are currently described in the mean-field, slow-production approximation for the spontaneously-generated electromagnetic current. This approximation however does not resolve either single-particle quantum processes, such as nonlinear Compton scattering and electron- or photon-induced pair creation, or nonlinear dynamics of the electromagnetic fields, including photon-photon scattering and strong-field corrections to the Lorentz force. Addressing these issues, we have developed an effective theory for highly-relativistic electrons and positrons in strong laser fields. By expanding with respect to the many physical scales in this strong-field-plasma system, we establish a testable quantum theory for single-particle dynamics in strong classical fields as well as a foundation to systematically study and improve the description of plasma dynamics.