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Volume 12: Pages 174-181, 1999
Zero-Point Radiation Field Revisited
Centre d'Etudes Nucléaires de Saclay, C.E.A. — DPE/SPCP — Bât.125, 91191 Gif-sur-Yvette, France
The zero‐point radiation field that issues from the quantization of the electromagnetic field in quantum electrodynamics is discussed. It is put forward that the term ɷ/2 of the quantized field Hamiltonian attributed to a vacuum is not a natural consequence but is rather artificially introduced by the difference between the classical canonical variables of position and momentum and the corresponding quantum-mechanical Hermitian operators. Establishing a quantized radiation Hamiltonian respecting Heisenberg's commutation relations, it is demonstrated that the quantum electrodynamics (QED) singularities can be lifted. The difficulties of QED in treating the spontaneous emission effect are also analyzed. A photon/vacuum representation, issued from the normalization of the classical electromagnetic wave energy to Planck's quantized single photon energy ħω is put forward, permitting a remedy to QED drawbacks.
Keywords: quantum electrodynamics, radiation Hamiltonian, singularities, zero‐point energy, vacuum, photons, spontaneous emission
Received: December 1, 1998; Published online: December 15, 2008