Regular Article - Theoretical Physics
Magnetic dominance of axion electrodynamics: photon capture effect and anisotropy of Coulomb potential
Institut für Theoretische Physik I, Heinrich-Heine-Universität Düsseldorf, Universitätsstraße 1, 40225, Düsseldorf, Germany
2 Tomsk State University, Lenin Prospekt 36, 634050, Tomsk, Russia
3 P.N. Lebedev Phys. Inst. Russian Academy of Sciences, Leninsky prospect 53, 119991, Moscow, Russia
Accepted: 11 March 2021
Published online: 19 April 2021
For magnetic fields larger than the characteristic scale linked to axion-electrodynamics, quantum vacuum fluctuations due to axion-like fields can dominate over those associated with the electron-positron fields. This conjecture is explored by investigating both the axion-modified photon capture by a strong magnetic field and the Coulomb potential of a static pointlike charge. We show that in magnetic fields characteristic of neutron stars –, the capture of gamma photons prior to the production of a pair can prevent the existence of an electron-positron plasma, essential for explaining the pulsar radiation mechanism. This incompatibility is used to limit the axion parameter space. Our bounds improve existing outcomes in the region of mass –. The effect of capture, known in QED as relating to gamma-quanta, is extended in axion electrodynamics to include X-ray photons with the result that a specially polarized part of the heat radiation from the surface is canalized along the magnetic field. Besides, we find that in the regime in which the dominance takes place, the running QED coupling depends on the field strength and the modified Coulomb potential is of Yukawa-type in the direction perpendicular to the magnetic field at distances much smaller than the axion Compton wavelength, while along the field it follows approximately the Coulomb law at any length scale. Despite the Coulomb singularity manifested in the latter case, we argue that the ground-state energy of a non-relativistic hydrogen atom placed in a strong magnetic field turns out to be bounded due to the nonrenormalizable feature of axion-electrodynamics.
© The Author(s) 2021. corrected publication 2021
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