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The Quantum Vacuum: An Introduction to Quantum Electrodynamics

The Quantum Vacuum: An Introduction to Quantum Electrodynamics is a physics textbook authored by Peter W. Milonni in 1993. The book provides a careful and thorough treatment of zero-point energy, spontaneous emission, the Casimir, van der Waals forces, Lamb shift and anomalous magnetic moment of the electron at a level of detail not found in other introductory texts to quantum electrodynamics.

The Quantum Vacuum : An Introduction to Quantum Electrodynamics
The Quantum Vacuum An Introduction to Quantum Electrodynamics.jpeg
Front cover
Author Peter W. Milonni
Country United States
Language English
Subject Modern physics
Genre Non-fiction
Publication date
November 1993
Media type Print, e-book
Pages 539 pp.
ISBN 0-12-498080-5
OCLC 28709624
Preceded by Lasers
Followed by Fast Light, Slow Light, and Left-Handed Light

The first chapter, Zero‐Point Energy in Early Quantum Theory, was originally published in 1991 in the American Journal of Physics.

In 2008 Milonni received the Max Born Award "For exceptional contributions to the fields of theoretical optics, laser physics and quantum mechanics, and for dissemination of scientific knowledge through authorship of a series of outstanding books".


  1. Zero-Point Energy in Early Quantum Theory
  2. The Electromagnetic Vacuum
  3. Some QED Vacuum Effects
  4. Nonrelativistic Theory of Atoms in a Vacuum
  5. Interlude: Radiation Reaction
  6. The Vacuum in Quantum Optics
  7. Casimir and van der Waals Forces: Prelude
  8. Casimir and van der Waals Forces: Elaborations
  9. The Dirac Equation
  10. Introduction to Quantum Field Theory
  11. Self-Energies and Renormalization
  12. Feynman Diagrams
  13. App. A. Oscillator Equation and Absorption Rate
  14. App. B. Force on an Atom in a Thermal Field
  15. App. C. Derivation of Equation (2.28)
  16. App. D. Electric Field of Radiation Reaction
  17. App. E. Photodetection and Normal Ordering
  18. App. F. Transverse and Longitudinal Delta Functions
  19. App. G. Lorentz-Invariant Measure
  20. Index.