In physics, a virtual particle is a particle that exists for a limited time and space, introducing uncertainty in their energy and momentum due to the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle. (Indeed, because energy and momentum in quantum mechanics are time and space derivative operators, then due to Fourier transforms their spans are inversely proportional to time duration and position spans, respectively).
Virtual particles exhibit some of the phenomena that real particles do, such as obedience to the conservation laws. If a single particle is detected, then the consequences of its existence are prolonged to such a degree that it cannot be virtual. Virtual particles are viewed as the quanta that describe fields of the basic force interactions, which cannot be described in terms of real particles. Examples of these are static force fields, such as a simple electric or magnetic fields, or any field that exists without excitations that result in its carrying information from place to place.