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Duality Symmetry of Quantum Electrodynamics and Magnetic Charges

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posted on 2023-01-11, 22:09 authored by Li-Ping Yang, Dazhi Xu
The duality symmetry between electricity and magnetism hidden in classical Maxwell equations suggests the existence of dual charges, which have usually been interpreted as magnetic charges and have not been observed in experiments. In quantum electrodynamics (QED), both the electric and magnetic fields have been unified into one gauge field, which makes this symmetry inconspicuous. Here, we recheck the duality symmetry of QED by introducing a dual gauge field and a dual symmetric Lagrangian. Within the framework of gauge-field theory, we show that the electric-magnetic duality symmetry cannot give any new conservation law. By checking the charge-charge interaction and the quantum Lorentz-force equation, we find that the introduced dual charges are electric charges, not magnetic charges. More importantly, we show that true magnetic charges are not compatible with the gauge-field theory of QED, because the interaction between a magnetic charge and an electric charge cannot be mediated via the exchange of gauge photons.



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