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
1answer
76 views

Conceptual questions on the path integral formulation of QFT

I'm currently trying to teach myself the path integral formulation of QFT (having studied the canonical approach previously), but I'm having some conceptual difficulties that I hope I can clear up ...
7
votes
3answers
1k views

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 ...
3
votes
1answer
312 views

Least Action Principle (Classical and Quantum Theory)

I) My first question would be "why should classical systems obey the principle of least action ?" When we find out the propagator in quantum physics, we find the amplitude to be equal to the sum over ...
13
votes
2answers
2k views

Time ordering and time derivative in path integral formalism and operator formalism

In operator formalism, for example a 2-point time-ordered Green's function is defined as ...
6
votes
1answer
245 views

Casimir Forces and its associated Feynman Propagator

This is a continuation to my previous question, in which I began an attempt solve the Casimir Force problem using path integrals. As one of the answers there suggest I solve the Feynman propagator ...
1
vote
1answer
53 views

Completeness relations of eigenstates in the Heisenberg picture

I've been reading Srednicki's introduction to path integrals and I'm slightly unsure of the notation that he uses for the completeness relation of position eigenstates in the Heisenberg picture. In ...
14
votes
6answers
998 views

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) = ...
7
votes
5answers
760 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 ...
0
votes
0answers
15 views

constructing string path integral through Markov chain procedure

We all know the textbook way of constructing the path integral for a point particle. It goes approximately like this (if relativistic). Say we want the propagator $\Delta(x_\text{in},x_\text{out}) = ...
0
votes
0answers
52 views

Superposition and Feynman path integral [closed]

Chapter 1-7 of Richard Feynman: The Feynman lectures on Physics. Quantum Mechanics. summarizes “When an event can occur in several alternative ways, the probability amplitude for the event is the ...
3
votes
3answers
114 views

Lagrangian from Path Integral

Suppose I somehow know propagator for a given quantum mechanical system but I don't happen to know either the Lagrangian or Hamiltonian. (For simplicity, assume that this is non-relativistic.) Is ...
0
votes
1answer
102 views

Path Integral Evaluation

I've seen the path integral formulation now in a couple contexts (propagator in quantum mechanics, and coherent state functional integral in many body physics). I'm now struggling with how to actually ...
0
votes
0answers
26 views

Path integral for boson vs fermion (soft derivation + use )

I have been looking around for a soft derivation with a bit of detail for boson and fermion path integrals that I could understand. I have a passing knowledge generally of what a path integral is in ...
6
votes
1answer
384 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 ...
1
vote
0answers
35 views

How to arrive on the diffraction pattern for the double slit experiment using path integrals for the Gaussian slit case?

I wish to take the path integral route to derive the diffraction pattern for the double slit experiment using the Gaussian slits as the nature of the slits. The kernel looks like: \begin{equation} ...
17
votes
5answers
11k 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
51 views

In path integrals, why is phase defined the way it is? [duplicate]

In reading from the book, there's a peculiar definition of the phase, stating: \begin{align} K[a,b] &= \sum_{\text{All paths from $a$ to $b$}} \phi [x(t)]\\ \phi [x(t)] &= \text{const} ...
0
votes
0answers
27 views

What is the kernel for a double slit experiment? [duplicate]

In the book path integrals by Feynman and Hibbs, the author has established the kernel for a single slit in the Gaussian form. How can I find the kernel for a double slit in a similar fashion as ...
9
votes
5answers
865 views

Plants and quantum mechanics!

I have been working on quantum biology and found something interesting that I would like to write an equation for. Scientists have wondered how plants have such a high efficiency in photosynthesis; ...
4
votes
1answer
272 views

Time-dependent Schrodinger equation from variational principle

In the paper, "Density-functional theory for time-dependent systems" Physical Review Letters 52 (12): 997 the authors mentioned that the action $$ A= \int_{t_0}^{t_1} dt \langle \Phi(t) | i ...
6
votes
1answer
312 views

Calculating $\mathrm{Tr}[\log \Delta_F]$

I am stuck with this problem for quite sometime. I have a propagator in the momentum representation (from this question), which looks like $$ \widetilde\Delta_F(p) = ...
1
vote
1answer
47 views

Fixing time in Feynman phase space path integral

The phase space version of Feynman's path integral expression for the free particle propagator involves a (formal) sum over paths in phase space with fixed $q$ endpoints and (as far as I'm aware) ...
4
votes
0answers
133 views

Relationship between the Black-Scholes model and path integrals

This question was inspired by some interesting comments by Rod Vance on this answer. Could you (Rod), or someone else, expand on these comments and give a brief summary of the connection between the ...
1
vote
0answers
52 views

Vacuum to vacuum transition amplitude confusion

I keep seeing this for the vacuum to vacuum transition amplitude: $\langle 0,\infty|0,-\infty\rangle_J\,.$ What is $|0,-\infty\rangle_J?$ Am I to take the Hamiltonian with the source present, ie. ...
0
votes
0answers
32 views

Decoupling of Weyl factor in critical dimension

In his paper called "Quantum geometry of bosonic strings", A.M.Polyakov quantizes a bosonic string using path integrals over the space of all metrics on the worldsheet. A critical dimension renders $D ...
1
vote
1answer
61 views

The definition of the vacuum state of quantum field by path-integral

In the review Entanglement entropy of black holes by Sergey Solodukhin (arXiv:1104.3712, equation 13), I see a definition of vacuum state of quantum field by path integral over half of the total ...
1
vote
1answer
131 views

How to calculate the functional derivative of the functional integral?

I study by myself with the QFT, in the page 197 of book of Lewis H. Ryder (2nd edition), The author wrote that he take the functional derivative of equation 6.69: $$\frac ...
2
votes
0answers
40 views

Help me calculate the Euclidean action of a gravitating system!

I recently read Gibbons and Hawking's paper Action integrals and partition functions in quantum gravity, Phys. Rev. D 15 (1977) 2752. I am interested in repeating their calculations. It is fairly ...
2
votes
1answer
147 views

Can photons travel faster than $c$? (Feynman Lectures)

I apologise for the very non-technical nature of this question. I am new to QED and perhaps am interpreting things in the wrong way, but I'll ask anyway, and hopefully someone can provide a ...
1
vote
1answer
73 views

Discontinuity of paths in phase space path integrals

Berezin's famous paper "Feynman path integrals in a phase space" discusses the space of paths on which the phase space path integral is concentrated. In particular, these paths are known to be ...
1
vote
1answer
94 views

Textbook on QFT in curved space-time via path integrals

I am looking for an introductory textbook on QFT in curved space-time via the path integral method. I want to understand the following: How to build a generic perturbative QFT in curved space-time ...
5
votes
2answers
338 views

Gaussian integral of a function with nonzero mean (generalizing Wick theorem)

From the wikipedia article, for a Gaussian integral of an analytic function we have that This is equivalent to the Wick theorem when f(x) is a polynomial. Now I'm trying to obtain a similar ...
0
votes
0answers
51 views

How to evaluate this odd path integral?

Is there any analytical solution on this path integral? \begin{align} &P(\theta_{N} t_{N}| \theta_{0} ...
4
votes
1answer
145 views

Why can't quantum field theory be quaternion instead of complex?

So, the definition of QFT in terms of path integrals is that the partition function is: $$Z[J] \propto \int e^{iS[\phi]+J.\phi} D[\phi]$$ But does it have any meaning if instead of this $U(1)$ ...
3
votes
1answer
121 views

All of Physics! [duplicate]

In several of Neil Turok's talks, he talks about this equation that encompasses all of physics. Here it is: How much of it is true? If it isn't, then is it possible to put all of our knowledge of ...
36
votes
7answers
3k views

Path integral vs. measure on infinite dimensional space

Coming from a mathematical background, I'm trying to get a handle on the path integral formulation of quantum mechanics. According to Feynman, if you want to figure out the probability amplitude for ...
2
votes
1answer
70 views

Loopwise expansion of effective action $\Gamma[\phi]$

My question is about the loopwise expansion of the effective action $\Gamma(\varphi)$ up to 1-loop contributions. I've understood well the results for both $Z[J]$ and $W[J]$ functionals loopwise ...
2
votes
1answer
83 views

Obtaining quantum Hamiltonian for charged particle from path integral formulation

I was working on Shankar 8.6.4, which is about obtaining in one dimension the Hamiltonian operator of a charged particle from the path integral formulation. First, I get the propagator over a time ...
7
votes
2answers
516 views

Quantum to classical mapping: quantum criticality and path integral Monte Carlo

I'm trying to understand the connections between quantum models in d dimensions and classical models in (d+1) dimensions within two, possibly related, contexts: (i) in path integral monte carlo, the ...
6
votes
2answers
186 views

What type of non-differentiable continuous paths contribute for the path integral in quantum mechanics

Consider the path integral for a 1D particle subjected to a potential $V(x)$ in imaginary time $$ \int_{x(0)=x_0}^{x(T)=x_T} [dx] \, e^{- \int_0^T d\tau \left[\frac{1}{2}\dot{x}^2 + ...
5
votes
4answers
798 views

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 ...
3
votes
3answers
398 views

Feynman paths of FTL velocity have imaginary momentum?

In this Phys.SE answer it is discussed that Feynman path integrals sums amplitudes for all possible paths, including those that are not time-like. If you take the momentum-space path integrals, I ...
3
votes
0answers
81 views

Fermionic path integral on the disk - Recovering the vacuum state

I'm trying to get a better feel for the operator to state map in quantum field theory. There is a general claim for 2d theories that doing the path integral on a disk with no operator insertions gives ...
5
votes
2answers
443 views

How does light know which path is fastest?

We know from Fermat's principle of least time that light follows the fastest path. But how does light know which path is the fastest?
0
votes
0answers
208 views

Epstein-Glaser causal perturbation theory

Why does causal perturbation theory in the sense of Epstein Glaser fall under algebraic QFT rather than heuristic QFT in renormalization?
3
votes
0answers
54 views

Fastest path of light [duplicate]

Fermat's principle of least time says that light always takes the fastest path to any point. So how can light know which is the fastest path without taking all the paths first?
1
vote
1answer
62 views

Kraus operators + path integrals = Lindblad equation?

The other day our professor was talking about Kraus representation of density operator and the derivation of Lindblad equation. He told that this was related to the Feynman path integrals and that we ...
2
votes
1answer
87 views

Can I Weyl-order the following Hamiltonian?

I am trying to perform a path integral but I am having trouble with the Weyl ordering of my Hamiltonian. The Lagrangian of the system in question is $$L~=~\frac{1}{2}f(q)\dot{q}^2,$$ where $f(q)$ ...
2
votes
1answer
76 views

Why can we not choose the stress tensor in a CFT to be identically symmetric?

The stress tensor for a conformal field theory (or any quantum field theory) can be derived from the action $S$ by the functional derivative $$T^{\mu \nu} ~=~ -\frac{2}{\sqrt{|g|}}\frac{\delta ...
1
vote
0answers
74 views

If you are only interested in deriving Feynman diagrams can you skip path integrals and just compute greens functions?

I've been reading about the path integral approach to quantum field theory and I noticed that at the end you are just computing greens functions that you could have started computing in the beginning. ...