We analyze how maximal entanglement is generated at the fundamental level in QED by studying correlations between helicity states in tree-level scattering processes at high energy. We demonstrate that two mechanisms for the generation of maximal entanglement are at work: i) $s$-channel processes where the virtual photon carries equal overlaps of the helicities of the final state particles, and ii) the indistinguishable superposition between $t$- and $u$-channels. We then study whether requiring maximal entanglement constrains the coupling structure of QED and the weak interactions. In the case of photon-electron interactions unconstrained by gauge symmetry, we show how this requirement allows reproducing QED. For $Z$-mediated weak scattering, the maximal entanglement principle leads to non-trivial predictions for the value of the weak mixing angle $\theta_W$. Our results illustrate the deep connections between maximal entanglement and the fundamental symmetries of high-energy physics.
Bibliographical notefive pages, one figure