Starting from nonequilibrium quantum field theory on a closed time path, we derive kinetic equations for the strong-field regime of quantum electrodynamics (QED) using a systematic expansion in the gauge coupling e. The strong field regime is characterized by a large photon field of order O(1/e), which is relevant for the description of, e.g., intense laser fields, the initial stages of off-central heavy ion collisions, and condensed matter systems with net fermion number. The strong field enters the dynamical equations via both quantum Vlasov and collision terms, which we derive to order O(e2). The kinetic equations feature generalized scattering amplitudes that have their own equation of motion in terms of the fermion spectral function. The description includes single photon emission, electron-positron pair photoproduction, vacuum (Schwinger) pair production, their inverse processes, medium effects and contributions from the field, which are not restricted to the so-called locally-constant crossed field approximation. This extends known kinetic equations commonly used in strong-field QED of intense laser fields. In particular, we derive an expression for the asymptotic fermion pair number that includes leading-order collisions and remains valid for strongly inhomogeneous fields. For the purpose of analytically highlighting limiting cases, we also consider plane-wave fields for which it is shown how to recover Furry-picture scattering amplitudes by further assuming negligible occupations. Known on-shell descriptions are recovered in the case of simply peaked ultrarelativistic fermion occupations. Collisional strong-field equations are necessary to describe the dynamics to thermal equilibrium starting from strong-field initial conditions.
G. Fauth, J. Berges, A. Di Piazza, “Collisional strong-field QED kinetic equations from first principles”, Phys. Rev. D 104, 036007 (2021).
Related to Project B03, B02