I'm taking QFT course in this term. I'm quite curious that in QFT by which part of the mathematical expression can we tell a quantity or a theory is local or unlocal.
A quantity is local if it is a finite linear combination $\sum_k g_k P_k(x)~~$ of products $P_k(x)$ (or other pointwise functions, such as $\sin \Phi(x)~$ for sine-Gordon theory) of field operators or their derivatives at the same point $x$.
A quantum field theory is local if its classical Lagrangian density is local. (By abuse of terminology, an action or a Lagrangian may also be called local if the corresponding Lagrangian density is local.)
Since in QFT fields are only operator-valued distributions, a local quantum field product is not well-defined without a renormalization prescription, which involves an appropriate limit of nonlocal approximations. In 1+1D, normal ordering is sufficient to renormalize the field products, while in 3D and 4D more complicated (mass and wave function) renormalizations are needed to make sense of these products.
|show 2 more comments|