Abstract:
We consider QED - processes in the presence of an infinitely thin and infinitely long straight string with a magnetic flux inside it. The bremsstrahlung from an electron passing by the magnetic string and the electron-positron pair production by a single photon are reviewed. Based on the exact electron and positron solutions of the Dirac equation in the external Aharonov-Bohm potential we present matrix elements for these processes. The dependence of the resulting cross sections on energies, directions and polarizations of the involved particles is discussed for low energies.

Abstract:
We consider the Dirac equation in cylindrically symmetric magnetic fields and find its normal modes as eigenfunctions of a complete set of commuting operators. This set consists of the Dirac operator itself, the $z$-components of the linear and the total angular momenta, and of one of the possible spin polarization operators. The spin structure of the solution is completely fixed independently of the radial distribution of the magnetic field which influences only the radial modes. We solve explicitly the radial equations for the uniform magnetic field inside a solenoid of a finite radius and consider in detail the scattering of scalar and Dirac particles in this field. For particles with low energy the scattering cross section coincides with the Aharonov-Bohm scattering cross section. We work out the first order corrections to this result caused by the fact that the solenoid radius is finite. At high energies we obtain the classical result for the scattering cross section.

Abstract:
A continuous measurement of energy which is sharp (perfect) leads to the quantum Zeno effect (freezing of the state). Only if the quantum measurement is fuzzy, continuous monitoring gives a readout E(t) from which information about the dynamical development of the state vector of the system may be obtained in certain cases. This is studied in detail. Fuzziness is thereby introduced with the help of restricted path integrals equivalent to non-Hermitian Hamiltonians. For an otherwise undisturbed multilevel system it is shown that this measurement represents a model of decoherence. If it lasts long enough, the measurement readout discriminates between the energy levels and the von Neumann state reduction is obtained. For a two-level system under resonance influence (which undergoes in absence of measurement Rabi oscillations between the levels) different regimes of measurement are specified depending on its duration and fuzziness: 1) the Zeno regime where the measurement results in a freezing of the transitions between the levels and 2) the Rabi regime when the transitions maintain. It is shown that in the Rabi regime at the border to the Zeno regime a correlation exists between the time dependent measurement readout and the modified Rabi oscillations of the state of the measured system. Possible realizations of continuous fuzzy measurements of energy are sketched.

Abstract:
The continuous fuzzy measurement of energy of a single two-level system driven by a resonant external field is studied. An analysis is given in the framework of the phenomenological restricted path integral approach (RPI) (which reduces effectively to a Schrodinger equation with a complex Hamiltonian) as well as with reference to the microphysical details of a class of concrete physical realizations. Within the RPI approach it is demonstrated that for appropriately adjusted fuzziness, information about the evolution of the state of the system can be read off from the measurement readout E(t). It is shown furthermore how a measurement of this type may be realized by a series of weak and short interactions of the two-level system with a quantum mechanical meter system. After each interaction a macroscopic measuring apparatus causes the meter to transit into one of two states. The result is used to generate the energy readout E(t). In this way a complete agreement with the RPI approach is demonstrated which thus obtains an operational interpretation.

Abstract:
We investigate the scattering of an electron by an infinitely thin and infinitely long straight magnetic flux tube in the framework of QED. We discuss the solutions of the Dirac and Maxwell fields in the related external pure AB potential and evaluate matrix elements and differential probabilities for the bremsstrahlung process. The dependence of the resulting cross section on the energy, direction and polarization of the involved particles is analyzed. In the low energy regime a surprising angular asymmetry is found which results from the interaction of the electron's magnetic moment with the magnetic field.

Abstract:
In the framework of QED we evaluate the cross section for electron-positron pair production by a single photon in the presence of the external Aharonov-Bohm potential in first order of perturbation theory. We analyse energy, angular and polarization distributions at different energy regimes: near the threshold and at high photon energies.

Abstract:
We consider perturbative solutions to the classical field equations coming from a quadratic gravitational lagrangian in four dimensions. We study the charged, spherically symmetric black hole and explicitly give corrections up to third order (in the coupling constant $\beta$ multiplying the $R_{\mu\nu}R^{\mu\nu}$ term) to the Reissner--Nordstr\"om hole metric. We consider the thermodynamics of such black holes, in particular, we compute explicitly its temperature and entropy--area relation which deviates from the usual $S=A/4$ expression.

Abstract:
In the framework of QED we investigate the bremsstrahlung process for an electron passing by a straight static cosmic string. This process is precluded in empty Minkowski space-time by energy and momentum conservation laws. It happens in the presence of the cosmic string as a consequence of the conical structure of space, in spite of the flatness of the metric. The cross section and emitted electromagnetic energy are computed and analytic expressions are found for different energies of the incoming electron. The energy interval is divided in three parts depending on whether the energy is just above electron rest mass $M$, much larger than $M$, or exceeds $M/\delta$, with $\delta$ the string mass per unit length in Planck units. We compare our results with those of scalar QED and classical electrodynamics and also with conic pair production process computed earlier.

Abstract:
The gravitational field of monopoles, cosmic strings and domain walls is studied in the quadratic gravitational theory $R+\alpha R^2$ with $\alpha |R|\ll 1$, and is compared with the result in Einstein's theory. The metric aquires modifications which correspond to a short range `Newtonian' potential for gauge cosmic strings, gauge monopoles and domain walls and to a long range one for global monopoles and global cosmic strings. In this theory the corrections turn out to be attractive for all the defects. We explain, however, that the sign of these corrections in general depends on the particular higher order derivative theory and topological defect under consideration. The possible relevance of our results to the study of the evolution of topological defects in the early universe is pointed out.

Abstract:
The influence od space-time curvature on quantum matter which can be theoretically described by covariant wave equations has not been experimentally established yet. In this paper we analyse in detail the suitability of the Ramsey atom beam interferometer for the measurement of the phase shift caused by the Riemannian curvature of the earth. It appears that the detection should be possible with minor modifications of existing devices within the near future. The paper is divided into two parts. The first one is concerned with the derivation of general relativistic correction terms to the Pauli equation starting from the fully covariant Dirac equation and their physical interpretation. The inertial effects of acceleration and rotation are included. In the second part we calculate the phase shift as seen in a laboratory resting on the rotating earth and examine various possibilities to enlarge the sensitivity of the apparatus to space-time curvature. Some remarks on the Lense-Thirring effect and on gravitational waves are made. Since the two parts may be more or less interesting for physicists with different research fields they are written in such a way that each one may be read without much reference to the other one.