I'm not interested in more speculative ideas, like the one of [Bjorken et. al.][1] that photons are Goldstones of broken Lorentz symmetry.

**Instead, I want to understand if photons are simply the Goldstones of the spontaneously broken large gauge symmetry?** (Large gauge symmetry here simply means those gauge transformations that do not become trivial at infinity.)

I recently read Stromingers "[Lectures on the Infrared Structure of Gravity and Gauge Theory"][2], where he argues that

large gauge symmetry is spontaneously broken, resulting in an

infinite vacuum degeneracy with soft photons as the Goldstone bosons.

Moreover I discovered that already in the 70s there were quite a few papers that argued that photons are simply the Goldstones of the broken asymptotic gauge symmetry.

For example:

- [Gauge invariance and mass][3] by Richard A. Brandt and Ng Wing-Chiu Phys. Rev. D 10, 4198; who argued that "
*the physical photon can be interpreted as a Goldstone boson arising from the spontaneous breakdown of the R -transformation invariance*." (R-transformations is simply another name for gauge transformations that are non-trivial at infinity)
- [Spontaneous breakdown in quantum electrodynamics][4] by R.Ferrari L.E.Picasso Nuclear Physics B Volume 31, Issue 2, 1 September 1971, Pages 316-330: "
*In the context of quantum electrodynamics we discuss the spontaneous breakdown of the symmetry associated to gauge transformations of the second kind, with gauge functions linear in the coordinates. ***We show that the photons (both physical and unphysical) can be considered as the Goldstone particles of this symmetry,** and that the Ward identity and, in general, all self-photon theorems, are dynamical consequences of the spontaneous breakdown of the symmetry considered."

This seems like a well established fact. For example, in a [recent paper][5] by Yuta Hamada, Sotaro Sugishita they noted in passing:

The statement that photons and gravitons are NG bosons is not new and it is discussed in [20, 21, 22, 23].

I really like this perspective. However, I am a bit confused, because no textbook and almost no paper mentions this although the papers quoted above are 40+ years old.

[1]: https://arxiv.org/abs/hep-th/0111196

[2]: https://arxiv.org/abs/1703.05448

[3]: https://journals.aps.org/prd/abstract/10.1103/PhysRevD.10.4198

[4]: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/0550321371902355?via%3Dihub

[5]: https://arxiv.org/abs/1709.05018