Department of Mathematics
Harvey Mudd College
| The Kapitza-Dirac
Effect: An Approach from QED
The Kapitza-Dirac effect
is similar to the canonical experiment on diffraction of electrons through
slits in an opaque screen, except that the diffraction grating has been replaced
by a standing wave of light. Remarkably, incident electrons are diffracted
by the standing light wave almost as if by a standard diffraction grating.
Only recently has this effect been confirmed experimentally in this form,
although it was originally predicted by Kapitza and Dirac almost 70 years
ago. This paper examines the relativistic effects involved in this phenomena
using the formalism of quantum field theory.