Even before quantization, charged bosonic fields exhibit a certain "self-interaction". The body of this post demonstrates this fact, and the last paragraph asks the question.

**Notation/ Lagrangians**

Let me first provide the respective Lagrangians and elucidate the notation.

I am talking about complex scalar QED with the Lagrangian $$\mathcal{L} = \frac{1}{2} D_\mu \phi^* D^\mu \phi - \frac{1}{2} m^2 \phi^* \phi - \frac{1}{4} F^{\mu \nu} F_{\mu \nu}$$ Where $D_\mu \phi = (\partial_\mu + ie A_\mu) \phi$, $D_\mu \phi^* = (\partial_\mu - ie A_\mu) \phi^*$ and $F^{\mu \nu} = \partial^\mu A^\nu - \partial^\nu A^\mu$. I am also mentioning usual QED with the Lagrangian $$\mathcal{L} = \bar{\psi}(iD_\mu \gamma^\mu-m) \psi - \frac{1}{4} F^{\mu \nu} F_{\mu \nu}$$ and "vector QED" (U(1) coupling to the Proca field) $$\mathcal{L} = - \frac{1}{4} (D^\mu B^{* \nu} - D^\nu B^{* \mu})(D_\mu B_\nu-D_\nu B_\mu) + \frac{1}{2} m^2 B^{* \nu}B_\nu - \frac{1}{4} F^{\mu \nu} F_{\mu \nu}$$

The four-currents are obtained from Noether's theorem. Natural units $c=\hbar=1$ are used. $\Im$ means imaginary part.

**Noether currents of particles**

Consider the Noether current of the complex scalar $\phi$ $$j^\mu = \frac{e}{m} \Im(\phi^* \partial^\mu\phi)$$ Introducing local $U(1)$ gauge we have $\partial_\mu \to D_\mu=\partial_\mu + ie A_\mu$ (with $-ieA_\mu$ for the complex conjugate). The new Noether current is $$\mathcal{J}^\mu = \frac{e}{m} \Im(\phi^* D^\mu\phi) = \frac{e}{m} \Im(\phi^* \partial^\mu\phi) + \frac{e^2}{m} |\phi|^2 A^\mu$$ Similarly for a Proca field $B^\mu$ (massive spin 1 boson) we have $$j^\mu = \frac{e}{m} \Im(B^*_\mu(\partial^\mu B^\nu-\partial^\nu B^\mu))$$ Which by the same procedure leads to $$\mathcal{J}^\mu = \frac{e}{m} \Im(B^*_\mu(\partial^\mu B^\nu-\partial^\nu B^\mu))+ \frac{e^2}{m} |B|^2 A^\mu$$

Similar $e^2$ terms also appear in the Lagrangian itself as $e^2 A^2 |\phi|^2$. On the other hand, for a bispinor $\psi$ (spin 1/2 massive fermion) we have the current $$j^\mu = \mathcal{J}^\mu = e \bar{\psi} \gamma^\mu \psi$$ Since it does not have any $\partial_\mu$ included.

**"Self-charge"**

Now consider very slowly moving or even static particles, we have $\partial_0 \phi, \partial_0 B \to \pm im\phi, \pm im B$ and the current is essentially $(\rho,0,0,0)$. For $\phi$ we have thus approximately $$\rho = e (|\phi^+|^2-|\phi^-|^2) + \frac{e^2}{m} (|\phi^+|^2 + |\phi^-|^2) \Phi$$ Where $A^0 = \Phi$ is the electrostatic potential and $\phi^\pm$ are the "positive and negative frequency parts" of $\phi$ defined by $\partial_0 \phi^\pm = \pm im \phi^\pm$. A similar term appears for the Proca field.

For the interpretation let us pass back to SI units, in this case we only get a $1/c^2$ factor. The "extra density" is $$\Delta \rho = e\cdot \frac{e \Phi}{mc^2}\cdot |\phi|^2$$ That is, there is an extra density proportional to the ratio of the energy of the electrostatic field $e \Phi$ and the rest mass of the particle $mc^2$. The sign of this extra density is dependent only on the sign of the electrostatic potential and both frequency parts contribute with the same sign (which is superweird). This would mean that *classicaly, the "bare" charge of bosons in strong electromagnetic fields is not conserved, only this generalized charge is*.

After all, it seems a bad convention to call $\mathcal{J}^\mu$ the electric charge current. By multiplying it by $m(c^2)/e$ it becomes a matter density current with the extra term corresponding to mass gained by electrostatic energy. However, that does not change the fact that the "bare charge density" $j^0$ seems not to be conserved for bosons.

Now to the questions:

- On a theoretical level, is charge conservation at least temporarily or virtually violated for bosons in strong electromagnetic fields? (Charge conservation will quite obviously not be violated in the final S-matrix, and as an $\mathcal{O}(e^2)$ effect it will probably not be reflected in first order processes.) Is there an intuitive physical reason why such a violation is not true for fermions even on a classical level?
- Charged bosons do not have a high abundance in fundamental theories, but they do often appear in effective field theories. Is this "bare charge" non-conservation anyhow reflected in them and does it have associated experimental phenomena?
**Extra clarifying question:** Say we have $10^{23}$ bosons with charge $e$ so that their charge is $e 10^{23}$. Now let us bring these bosons from very far away to very close to each other. As a consequence, they will be in a much stronger field $\Phi$. Does their measured charge change from $e 10^{23}$? If not, how do the bosons compensate in terms of $\phi, B, e, m$? If this is different for bosons rather than fermions, is there an intuitive argument why?

This post imported from StackExchange Physics at 2015-06-09 14:50 (UTC), posted by SE-user Void