Quantum electrodynamics (QED) is one of the cornerstones of modern physics. It is considered as the most accurately tested physical theory, thanks to high-precision measurements of quantities such as the anomalous magnetic dipole moment of the electron[1,2]. This theory predicts that for large amplitudes of the electromagnetic field, the coupling of photons to the fermionic quantum vacuum plays a major role. This regime of so-called strong-field (SF) QED[3–5] is characterized by effects such as the polarization of vacuum affecting light propagation, or the light-induced creation of particle–antiparticle pairs from pure vacuum, a process that can be viewed as the ‘optical breakdown of vacuum’[7–9].
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