Path integral formulation (Due to Feynman) is a major formulation of Quantum Mechanics along with Matrix mechanics (Due to Heisenberg and Pauli), Wave Mechanics (Due to Schrodinger), and Variational Mechanics (Due to Dirac). DO NOT USE THIS TAG for line/contour integrals.

learn more… | top users | synonyms

1
vote
2answers
369 views

Path Integral Quantization

I was reading through my notes on the path integral quantization of bosonic string theory when a general question about path integral quantization arised to me. The widely used intuitive explanation ...
6
votes
1answer
258 views

Differential equation (Greens function) satisfied by the kernel using path integrals

I'm reading Feynman and Hibbs, Quantum Mechanics and Path Integrals. How do I show that the kernel $$\tag{2-25} K(x_2 t_2;x_1 t_1)=\int e^{\frac{i}{\hbar}S[2,1]}\mathcal{D}x$$ satisfies the ...
5
votes
2answers
276 views

Calculating the the kernel using path integrals for quadratic lagrangians

I am reading Feynman and Hibbs on Path Integrals. In section 3.5, they show that the kernel for a lagrangian of the form $L=a(t)\dot{x}^2+b(t)\dot{x}x+c(t)x^2+d(t)\dot{x}+e(t)x+f(t)$ is ...
17
votes
4answers
449 views

Is every quantum measurement reducible to measurements of position and time?

I am currently studying Path Integrals and was unable to resolve the following problem. In the famous book Quantum Mechanics and Path Integrals, written by Feynman and Hibbs, it says (at the beginning ...
1
vote
2answers
147 views

$\langle B|A \rangle$ expressed in terms of the Partition Function

Say you have an electron departing from point A and reaching poing B after a time t. According to some helping friend, the Partition Function for that electron going from point A to B can be written ...
2
votes
1answer
280 views

Which is this formula Feynman talks about in the QED book?

I am reading the fantastic QED Feynman book. He talks in chapter 3 about a formula he considers too complicated to be written in the book. I would like to know which formula he talks about, although I ...
1
vote
1answer
196 views

Discretization of action in path integral

I am reading Peskin and Schroeder (path integrals) and it states that discretising the classical action gives: $$S~=~\int \left(\frac{m}{2}\dot{x}^{2}-V(x)\right) dt ~\rightarrow~ \sum ...
1
vote
1answer
180 views

Path Integrals Page Peskin

Hi this problem relates directly to path integrals but I imagine it is a maths trick that I am missing. One has an expression such as $$\int dx \exp\left[i\frac{(p)^{2}}{2}-iV(\frac{f}{4})\right] $$ ...
5
votes
4answers
556 views

Physical Interpretation of the Integrand of the Feynman Path Integral

In quantum mechanics, we think of the Feynman Path Integral $\int{D[x] e^{\frac{i}{\hbar}S}}$ (where $S$ is the classical action) as a probability amplitude (propagator) for getting from $x_1$ to ...
1
vote
1answer
73 views

Path integral with boundary and bulk terms

I was wondering if their is a general strategy for computing path integrals with a mix of boundary and bulk integral actions. Do people use divergence theorem to convert the action into bulk ...
7
votes
5answers
556 views

What is the path integral exactly?

I asked a question here about path integrals and QFT. I just want to confirm something. Is the path integral in quantum field theory a mathematical tool only? I thought the path integral meant that ...
4
votes
3answers
517 views

Quantum field theory, particle interpretations and path integrals?

I am trying to find some names or models of a particle interpretation of quantum field theory which isn't a literal path integral approach? Are there any particle interpretations of quantum field ...
8
votes
3answers
517 views

When does $\hbar \rightarrow 0$ provide a valid transition from quantum to classcial mechanics? When and why does it fail?

Lets look at the transition amplitude $U(x_{b},x_{a})$ for a free particle between two points $x_{a}$ and $x_{b}$ in the Feynman path integral formulation $U(x_{b},x_{a}) = \int_{x_{a}}^{x_{b}} ...
1
vote
1answer
625 views

Why path integral approach may suffer from operator ordering problem?

In Assa Auerbach's book (Ref. 1), he gave an argument saying that in the normal process of path integral, we lose information about ordering of operators by ignoring the discontinuous path. What did ...
2
votes
3answers
632 views

How would a Lagrangian be used to recover the Schrodinger equation?

I heard that the Lagrangian is defined in the path integral formulation of quantum mechanics. How would the Lagrangian in this formulation be used to recover the Schrodinger equation that we normally ...
2
votes
1answer
223 views

Is the following a simpler viable alternative to Feynman's interpretation of the double slit experiment

Feynman suggested that there is an infinity of trajectories for a single electron travelling from the source to the phosphorescent screen. He said that one electron goes through both holes (Fig 4.10, ...
0
votes
0answers
80 views

path integrals: how/why can the phase be identified with the action?

In Peskin & Schroeder, chapter 9 introduces the functional methods. The idea, to recall, is simply to sum over all the possible paths: $U(x_a,x_b;T) = \sum_{\text{all paths}} e^{i . ...
5
votes
4answers
578 views

What's the role of classically forbidden paths in path integral?

I'm interested in how and how much classically-forbidden paths contribute to a path integral? Is there any good reference on the issue? Any discussion in QM or QFT context would be appreciated. ...
13
votes
1answer
383 views

Can path integrals be used to understand entanglement?

I like path integrals. I prefer to try to understand quantum phenomena in terms of path integrals rather than Hamiltonian mechanics. However, most of the standard texts on quantum mechanics start from ...
7
votes
1answer
534 views

Change of variables in path integrals

I need to evaluate a path integral which involves a set of fields $X=\left\{ \psi_i \right\}$: $$ I = \int \prod_i \mathcal{D} \psi_i e^{-S \left[ \left\{ \psi_i \right\} \right] } $$ In order to ...
3
votes
2answers
465 views

Intuition for Path Integrals and How to Evaluate Them

I'm just starting to come across path integrals in quantum field theory, and want to get the right intuition for the them from the start. The amplitude for propagation from $x_a$ to $x_b$ is typically ...
3
votes
1answer
160 views

Inclusion of information about external particles to calculate scattering amplitudes

In this (schematic) equation to calculate the scattering amplitude A by integrating over all possible world sheets and lifetimes of the bound states $$ A = \int\limits_{\rm{life time}} d\tau ...
7
votes
1answer
401 views

What is the value of a quantum field?

As far as I'm aware (please correct me if I'm wrong) quantum fields are simply operators, constructed from a linear combination of creation and annihilation operators, which are defined at every point ...
5
votes
1answer
332 views

Path integral with zero energy modes

Consider the field integral for the partition function of a free non-relativistic electron in a condensed matter setting, i.e. $$ Z = ∫D\bar\psi D\psi \exp\left(-\sum_{k,ω} \bar\psi_{k,ω} (-iω + ...
12
votes
4answers
7k views

The meaning of imaginary time

What is imaginary (or complex) time? I was reading about Hawking's wave function of the universe and this topic came up. If imaginary mass and similar imaginary quantities do not make sense in ...
5
votes
0answers
353 views

Gaussian Integrals : Functional determinant expressed as a trace

Be $A_{ij}$ a symmetric matrix. Then I can easily write $$ \int \exp\left(-\frac{1}{2}\sum_{i,j}x_i A_{ij} x_j+\sum_{i} B_i x_i\right)\; d^nx= \sqrt{(2\pi)^n}\exp\left\{-\frac{1}{2}\mathrm{Tr}\log ...
6
votes
4answers
490 views

Quantum mechanics textbooks that use path integrals

I'm looking for a textbook in quantum mechanics that relies heavily on Green functions and the path integral formalism to supplement my QM books. I want to do some calculations using alternative ...
3
votes
1answer
225 views

What is the relationship between consistent histories and path integrals?

As can for example be learned from chapter I.2 of Anthony Zee's Quantum field theory in a nutshell, path integrals can be used to to calculate the amplitude for a system to transition from one state ...
5
votes
2answers
472 views

Path integral and geometric quantization

I was wondering how one obtains geometric quantization from a path integral. It's often assumed that something like this is possible, for example, when working with Chern-Simons theory, but rarely ...
12
votes
3answers
326 views

Chemical reaction as state transition?

When considering diffusion of chemicals, the reaction part is business of chemical kinetics, where the relevant characteristics of different substances come from collision theory together with some ...
1
vote
1answer
227 views

Importance of phase in probability amplitude in QFT

I have started teaching myself QFT from the textbook by A. Zee. From reading that book, my idea of a path integral in field theory is the probability amplitude to go from a given field configuration ...
1
vote
1answer
202 views

classical dynamics on group manifold SU(2)

I am trying to understand how to formulate classical dynamics on group manifold SU(2). This will be an exercise for me to the more advanced subject of path integral on group manifold. Does someone ...
4
votes
1answer
147 views

Calculating equation of motion using path integral

Suppose my action integral is $S=\int d^4x(\nabla \times A)^2$ and $\delta S$ gives $\delta S =\int d^4x [2(\nabla \times A).(\nabla \times \delta A)]$ I would like to calculate the coefficient of ...
4
votes
2answers
597 views

Free Particle Propagator Using Path Integrals

I'm trying to recreate some work that a professor explained to me in his office, specifically deriving the free particle propagator going from $(y,0)$ to $(x,T)$ using the Feynman Path Integral. I'm ...
6
votes
2answers
326 views

Surface terms for field path integrals?

My question relates to something that I´ve seen in many books and appears in all its glory here: Ryder, pg 198 My question is about eq. 6.74. Which I repeat below: $$i \int {\cal D}\phi \frac{\delta ...
2
votes
1answer
404 views

Classical limit of the path integral formulation of quantum mechanics

It is well-known that if $S \gg \hbar$, then the classical path dominates the Feynman path integral. But is there some to show that if $S\gg\hbar$, then the particle's trajectory will approach the ...
2
votes
1answer
331 views

Why can't the functional integral be derived in a mathematically rigorous way?

Why can't the functional integral be derived in a mathematically rigorous way? What are the obstacles that we have to overcome in order to achieve that goal?
8
votes
1answer
383 views

Relation between Dirac's generalized Hamiltonian dynamics method and path integral method to deal with constraints

What is the relation between path integral methods for dealing with constraints (constrained Hamiltonian dynamics involving non-singular Lagrangian) and Dirac's method of dealing with such systems ...
4
votes
1answer
397 views

Does the vacuum energy problem of quantum field theory only occur in the Hamiltonian approach, or also in the path integral approach and in AQFT?

In a standard QFT class, you're being indoctrinated that there is the "infinite vacuum energy density problem". (This is sometimes paraphrased as the "cosmological constant problem", which is in my ...
7
votes
4answers
443 views

How can there be a quantum field theory that predicts all particle masses?

Say I have a theory with only one (energy) scale, e.g. one given by the fundamental constants $$\epsilon=\sqrt{\dfrac{\hbar c^5}{G}}.$$ In this case, where I can't compare to something else, is ...
4
votes
2answers
484 views

Discrete version of Feynman path integrals

I've decided to put a very limited amount of my time into understanding the path integral formulation of quantum mechanics. I'm interested in the mathematical formalism more than the physics, so I'd ...
5
votes
1answer
277 views

Integrating over a gauge field in the field integral formalism

I'm currently trying to study a chapter in Altland & Simons, "Condensed Matter Field Theory" (2nd edition) and I'm stuck at the end of section 9.5.2, page 579. Given the euclidean Chern-Simons ...
0
votes
1answer
468 views

Feynman's sum over histories?

The concept requires all possible path's to be mapped out, and any remaining paths not cancelled out represent the most probable path of the object. Considering this: i) If "infinite" paths are ...
3
votes
1answer
349 views

More on the Feynman Path Integral Formula in Brian Cox' Lecture and its Consequences

This is a continuation of this question about Brian Cox' lecture Night with the Stars. I know the main steps to get from $K(q",q',T)=\sum_{paths}Ae^{iS(q",q',T)/h}$ to $\Delta t ...
1
vote
1answer
2k views

Feynman Path Integral Formula in Brian Cox' “A Night with the Stars” Lecture

The Youtube link keeps breaking, so here is a search on Youtube for Brian Cox' A Night with the Stars lecture. Pause the video on 40.32minutes. What you see he said is called Feynman's Path Integral. ...
19
votes
5answers
3k views

Why not using Lagrangian, instead of Hamiltonian, in non relativistic QM?

When we studied classical mechanics on the undergraduate level, on the level of Taylor, we covered Hamiltonian as well as Lagrangian mechanics. Now when we studied QM, on the level of Griffiths, we ...
0
votes
1answer
250 views

Does path integral and loop integral in a Feynman diagram violate special relativity?

Consider a correlation function between two points $A(x_1,t_1)$ and $B(x_2,t_2)$, we need to integrate over paths which could be infinite long. But the time length $(t_1-t_2)$ is finite, so if $A$ ...
5
votes
1answer
677 views

Which limit for matsubara frequency sum?

in the context of a simple toy problem for Feynman path integrals, I consider a two-site Hubbard model for spinless fermions. I expand the path integral to first order in the interaction $V$, which ...
1
vote
3answers
169 views

Results for the path integral formalism for a system with known start and end configuration?

The path integral provides a method for computing a time evolution by a weighted summing up all possible deviations. Is there such a method for a system, where one not only knows the initial ...
6
votes
1answer
680 views

Vacuum Wavefunctional

I am having this problem in understanding the vacuum wavefunctional in QFT. Hence this naive question. I mean, if someone say vacuum wavefunctional, I can think of an element like wavefunction as in ...