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.

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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. ...
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498 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 ...
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796 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 ...
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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 ...
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163 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 ...
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471 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 ...
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401 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 + ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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263 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 ...
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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 ...
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383 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 ...
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275 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 ...
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1answer
228 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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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427 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 ...
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480 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 ...
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365 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?
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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 ...
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492 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 ...
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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 ...
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626 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 ...
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316 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 ...
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601 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 ...
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404 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 ...
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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. ...
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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 ...
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332 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 $A$ ...
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894 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 ...
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175 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 ...
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923 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 ...
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On-shell symmetry from a path integral point of view

Normally supersymmetric quantum field theories have Lagrangians which are supersymmetric only on-shell, i.e. with the field equations imposed. In many cases this can be solved by introducing auxilary ...
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Are there rigorous constructions of the path integral for lattice QFT on an infinite lattice?

Lattice QFT on a finite lattice* is a completely well defined mathematical object. This is because the path integral is an ordinary finite-dimensional integral. However, if the lattice is infinite, ...
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When can I use Wick's theorem?

Wick's theorem means that for fermions, a four point correlation function (for example) can be written in terms of two point correlation functions: \begin{equation} \langle b_l^\dagger b_l ...
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Calculating correlation functions of exponentials of fields

In their book Condensed Matter Field Theory, Altland and Simons often use the following formula for calculating thermal expectation values of exponentials of a real field $\theta$: $$ \langle ...
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471 views

Applications of the Feynman-Vernon Influence Functional

I am looking for a reference where the Feynman-Vernon influence functional was defined and used in the context of relativistic quantum field theory. This functional is one method to describe ...
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184 views

Instantons and Non Perturbative Amplitudes in Gravity

In perturbative QFT in flat spacetime the perturbation expansion typically does not converge, and estimates of the large order behaviour of perturbative amplitudes reveals ambiguity of the ...
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428 views

When is many-body perturbation theory valid?

I'm calculating expectation values (thermal, time-independent) using many-body perturbation theory, but I'm unsure how to work out what values the parameter I'm expanding the perturbation series in ...
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425 views

How does the quantum path integral relate to the quantization of energy?

So, the quantum path integral is a generalization of the classical principle of least action- but here we know that all paths contribute something finite to the probability density. What confuses me ...
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312 views

Two paths having the same phase in the path integral approach

In the path integral approach to Quantum Mechanics, can two distinctly different paths of the possible infinite paths have the same phase, i.e can there be a bimodal distribution of the phases ...
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398 views

Lagrangians combining terms with 1 and 2 derivatives

How are field theory Langrangians treated when some terms have 2 derivatives but others have only 1? Because the number of derivatives in a Lagrangian term is more easily even than odd, the ...
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892 views

What is the meaning of the Fourier transform of Feynman propagator?

I know $K(a,b,t)$ is the probability amplitude that a particle that starts at point $a$ is found at point $b$ at a time $t$ later. There is also an expression that sometimes is called green function: ...
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How is the path integral for light explained, or how does it arise?

In a Phys.SE question titled How are classical optics phenomena explained in QED (Snell's law)? Marek talked about the probability amplitude for photons of a given path. He said that it was ...
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963 views

Questions about the Dyson equation

I'm studying finite temperature many-body perturbation theory, and am trying to understand The Dyson equation. In particular, I'm using Mattuck - A guide to Feynman diagrams in the many body problem. ...
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When can the source term of a partition function be put in?

More specifically, in quantum field theory books, we usually have this: \begin{equation} Z = \int D(\bar{\psi}, \psi) e^{-S + \int_0^\beta d\tau \sum_l [\bar{\eta}_l (\tau) \psi_l (\tau) + ...
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Have the correlation functions of the XY spin chain model been calculated using a functional partition function with source terms?

Have the correlation functions of the XY spin chain model, \begin{equation} H=-\sum_l (J_x \sigma_l^x \sigma_{l+1}^x+J_x \sigma_l^y \sigma_{l+1}^y)-B\sum_l \sigma_l^z \end{equation} been calculated ...
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Once a quantum partition function is in path integral form, does it contain any operators?

Once a quantum partition function is in path integral form, does it contain any operators? I.e. The quantum partition function is $Z=tr(e^{-\beta H})$ where H is an operator, the Hamiltonian of the ...
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Why is the contribution of a path in Feynmans path integral formalism $\sim e^{(i/\hbar)S[x(t)]}$

In Feynman's book "Quantum Mechanics and Path Integrals" Feynman states that the probability $P(b,a)$ to go from point $x_a$ at time $t_a$ to the point $x_b$ at the time $t_b$ is $P(b,a) = ...