Quantum electrodynamics, or QED, is a
quantum field theory of
electromagnetism. QED describes all phenomena exhibited by
charged point particles, such as
electrons and
positrons, and the particles of
light (
photons), interacting by electromagnetism. This theory includes
classical electrodynamics in the limit of large fields, but also explains purely quantum phenomena such as the structure of
atoms and
molecules, the creation of particles by an
electromagnetic field, and the anomalous magnetic moment of the electron. (The latter prediction has been experimentally confirmed to 11 decimal digits.)
QED was the first quantum field theory in which the difficulties of building a consistent, fully quantum description of fields and creation and annihilation of quantum particles were satisfactorily resolved. Sin-Itiro Tomonaga, Julian Schwinger[?], and Richard Feynman received the 1965 Nobel Prize in Physics for its development.
Literature: R. P. Feynman. QED: A strange theory of light and matter.
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