Abstract:
We describe atoms by a pseudo-relativistic model that has its origin in the work of Chandrasekhar. We prove that the leading energy correction for heavy atoms, the Scott correction, exists. It turns out to be lower than in the non-relativistic description of atoms. Our proof is valid up to and including the critical coupling constant. It is based on a renormalization of the energy whose zero level we adjust to be the ground-state energy of the corresponding non-relativistic problem. This allows us to roll the proof back -- by relatively simple technical means -- to results for the Schr\"odinger operator.

Abstract:
We prove within the Hartree-Fock theory of pseudo-relativistic atoms that the maximal negative ionization charge and the ionization energy of an atom remain bounded independently of the nuclear charge Z and the fine structure constant \alpha as long as Z\alpha is bounded.

Abstract:
Starting from a realistic One-Boson-Exchange model of the nucleon nucleon interaction the relativistic mean field for nucleons is determined within the Dirac Brueckner Hartree Fock approach for finite nuclei. The matrix elements of the axial charge operator evaluated for the solutions of the Dirac equation with this selfenergy are investigated. These matrix elements are enhanced with respect to the equivalent non relativistic ones obtained from the solutions of the Schr\"odinger equation with the non relativistic equivalent potential. The present results confirm at a qualitative level the results for the axial charge renormalization obtained with perturbative approaches. However, the results obtained differ in size from those of the perturbative approach and are nucleus and state dependent.

Abstract:
Starting from a formal Hamiltonian as found in the physics literature -- omitting photons -- we define a renormalized Hamiltonian through charge and mass renormalization. We show that the restriction to the one-electron subspace is well-defined. Our construction is non-perturbative and does not use a cut-off. The Hamiltonian is relevant for the description of the Lamb shift in muonic atoms.

Abstract:
It is shown that the ground state energy of heavy atoms is, to leading order, given by the non-relativistic Thomas-Fermi energy. The proof is based on the relativistic Hamiltonian of Brown and Ravenhall which is derived from quantum electrodynamics yielding energy levels correctly up to order $\alpha^2$Ry.

Abstract:
We consider a hydrogen-like atom in a quantized electromagnetic field which is modeled by means of the semi-relativistic Pauli-Fierz operator and prove that the infimum of the spectrum of the latter operator is an eigenvalue. In particular, we verify that the bottom of its spectrum is strictly less than its ionization threshold. These results hold true for arbitrary values of the fine-structure constant and the ultra-violet cut-off as long as the Coulomb coupling constant (i.e. the product of the fine-structure constant and the nuclear charge) is less than 2/\pi.

Abstract:
We review recent results on a mean-field model for relativistic electrons in atoms and molecules, which allows to describe at the same time the self-consistent behavior of the polarized Dirac sea. We quickly derive this model from Quantum Electrodynamics and state the existence of solutions, imposing an ultraviolet cut-off $\Lambda$. We then discuss the limit $\Lambda\to\infty$ in detail, by resorting to charge renormalization.

Abstract:
We perform a systematic study of the ground-state properties of all the nuclei from the proton drip line to the neutron drip line throughout the periodic table employing the relativistic mean field model. The TMA parameter set is used for the mean-field Lagrangian density, and a state-dependent BCS method is adopted to describe the pairing correlation. The ground-state properties of a total of 6969 nuclei with $Z,N\ge 8$ and $Z\le 100$ from the proton drip line to the neutron drip line, including the binding energies, the separation energies, the deformations, and the rms charge radii, are calculated and compared with existing experimental data and those of the FRDM and HFB-2 mass formulae. This study provides the first complete picture of the current status of the descriptions of nuclear ground-state properties in the relativistic mean field model. The deviations from existing experimental data indicate either that new degrees of freedom are needed, such as triaxial deformations, or that serious effort is needed to improve the current formulation of the relativistic mean field model.

Abstract:
We consider a hydrogen-like atom in a quantized electromagnetic field which is modeled by means of a no-pair operator acting in the positive spectral subspace of the free Dirac operator minimally coupled to the quantized vector potential. We prove that the infimum of the spectrum of the no-pair operator is an evenly degenerate eigenvalue. In particular, we show that the bottom of its spectrum is strictly less than its ionization threshold. These results hold true, for arbitrary values of the fine-structure constant and the ultra-violet cut-off and for all Coulomb coupling constants less than the critical one of the Brown-Ravenhall model. For Coulomb coupling constants larger than the critical one, we show that the quadratic form of the no-pair operator is unbounded below. Along the way we discuss the domains and operator cores of the semi-relativistic Pauli-Fierz and no-pair operators, for Coulomb coupling constants less than or equal to the critical ones.

Abstract:
The Hartree-Fock approximation of Quantum Electrodynamics provides a rigorous framework for the description of relativistic electrons in external fields. This nonlinear model takes into account the infinitely many virtual electrons of Dirac's vacuum as well as the Coulomb interactions between all the particles. The state of the system is an infinite-rank projection satisfying a nonlinear equation. In this paper, we construct solutions to this equation, in the regime of weak interactions (that is, small coupling constant $\alpha$), and strong external fields (that is, large atomic charge $Z$ such that $\alpha Z:=\kappa$ stays fixed). In this regime, we are able to remove the ultraviolet cut-off $\Lambda$ as soon as $\alpha\log\Lambda$ stays fixed. As an application of this result, we compare the critical strength $\kappa_c(\alpha)$ of the external potential needed to produce an additional particle in the vacuum, when $\alpha=0$ or $\alpha>0$. We prove that $\lim_{\alpha\to0}\kappa_c(\alpha)/\kappa_c(0)> 1$, and we identify the limit exactly. Because of the dielectric behavior of Dirac's vacuum, static electron/positron pair production occurs in the interacting case for a stronger field that in the non-interacting case, which is a mere consequence of charge renormalization.