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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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 ...
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How exact is the analogy between statistical mechanics and quantum field theory?

Famously, the path integral of quantum field theory is related to the partition function of statistical mechanics via a Wick rotation and there is therefore a formal analogy between the two. I have a ...
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Rigor in quantum field theory

Quantum field theory is a broad subject and has the reputation of using methods which are mathematically desiring. For example working with and subtracting infinities or the use of path integrals, ...
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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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The path integral and Feynman diagrams

This question is somewhat of a historical one, but it also contains some physics. I am curious to find how exactly the concept of Feynman diagrams arose (I assume from Feynman's path integral)? The ...
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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 physics,...
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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 ...
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The Concepts of Path Integral in Quantitative Finance [closed]

I realize that path integral techniques can be applied to quantitative finance such as option value calculation. But I don't quite understand how this is done. Is it possible to explain this to me ...
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Equivalence of canonical quantization and path integral quantization

Consider the real scalar field $\phi(x,t)$ on 1+1 dimensional space-time with some action, for instance $$ S[\phi] = \frac{1}{4\pi\nu} \int dx\,dt\, (v(\partial_x \phi)^2 - \partial_x\phi\partial_t \...
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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 ...
17
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367 views

Quantum symmetries that are not classical symmetries

An anomaly is a symmetry of the classical action that fails to be a symmetry of the path integral, due to non-invariance of the path integral measure. Does it ever occur that the opposite thing ...
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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 $\langle\mathcal{T}\phi(x_1)\phi(x_2)\rangle_{op}=\theta(x_1-x_2)\phi(x_1)\phi(x_2)+\theta(x_2-x_1)\phi(x_2)\...
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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) = \|K(b,...
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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 e^{i(\...
14
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2answers
670 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 non-...
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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 ...
13
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The Origins of Instantons from Path Integrals

I know that you can come across non-perturbative effects in QFT, particular when the coupling constant lies outside the radius of convergence of the asympototic perturbation series. From the ...
13
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1answer
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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 ...
12
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Equivalence Theorem of the S-Matrix

as far as I know the equivalence theorem states, that the S-matrix is invariant under reparametrization of the field, so to say if I have an action $S(\phi)$ the canonical change of variable $\phi \to ...
12
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Subtlety of analytic continuation - Euclidean / Minkowski path integral

I subconsciously feel not fully comfortable about Wick rotating or analytic continuation from Euclidean to Minkowski space. I simply wonder whether there is any subtlety here, and when we need to be ...
11
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Why is the functional integral of a functional derivative zero?

I'm reading Quantum Field Theory and Critical Phenomena, 4th ed., by Zinn-Justin and on page 154 I came across the statement that the functional integral of a functional derivative is zero, i.e. $$\...
11
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In what sense is the path integral an independent formulation of Quantum Mechanics/Field Theory?

We are all familiar with the version of Quantum Mechanics based on state space, operators, Schrodinger equation etc. This allows us to successfully compute relevant physical quantities such as ...
11
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Propagators, Green’s functions, path integrals and transition amplitudes in quantum mechanics and quantum field theory

I’m trying to make a simple conceptual map regarding the things in the title, and I'm finding that I’m a little perplexed about a couple of items. Let me summarize a few things I regard as being true, ...
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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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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) = \frac{1}{(p^0)^2-\left(\left(n\pi/...
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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; ...
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limit as $x_1 \to x_0$, propagator for the harmonic oscillator

Consider a non-relativistic particle of mass $m$, moving along the $x$-axis in a potential $V(x) = m\omega^2x^2/2$. use path-integral methods to find the probability to find the particle between $x_1$ ...
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Green's function in path integral approach (QFT)

After having studied canonical quantization and feeling (relatively) comfortable with it, I have now been studying the path integral approach. But I don't feel entirely comfortable with. I have the ...
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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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Can nowadays spin be described using path integrals?

In Feynmans book, "Quantum mechanics and Path Integrals" he writes in the conclusions (chapter 12-10) With regards to quantum mechanics, path integrals suffer most grievously from a serious defect....
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How to deal with boundary conditions for path integrals?

For non-relativistic quantum mechanics, the boundary conditions are rather simple to deal with, they are just \begin{equation} \langle x_1, t_1 \vert x_2, t_2\rangle = \int_{x_1(t_1)}^{x_2(t_2)} \...
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Wick rotation in field theory - rigorous justification?

What is the rigorous justification of Wick rotation in QFT? I'm aware that it is very useful when calculating loop integrals and one can very easily justify it there. However, I haven't seen a ...
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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}} \...
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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 ...
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Why isn't the path integral rigorous?

I've recently been reading Path Integrals and Quantum Processes by Mark Swanson; it's an excellent and pedagogical introduction to the Path Integral formulation. He derives the path integral and shows ...
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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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Why isn't the path integral defined for non homotopic paths?

Context In the Aharonov Bohm effect, there is a solenoid which creates a magnetic field. Since the electron cannot be inside the solenoid, the configuration space is not simply connected. Question ...
9
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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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1answer
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Sign in the photon propagator

The Klein Gordon propagator is given (I use Peskin and Schroeder's conventions, if it matters...), \begin{equation} \frac{ i }{ p ^2 - m ^2 + i \epsilon } \end{equation} The photon propagator (...
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Feynman diagrams with classical apparatus on the perturbative region

In QFT, one usually simplifies the interaction between fields and classical apparatus (sources, detectors, etc.) by assuming the classical devices only interact with the asymptotic on-shell states I'...
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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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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, ...
8
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Itô or Stratonovich calculus: which one is more relevant from the point of view of physics?

Langevin equation provides an example of a physical model which involves a differential equation with a stochastic term. Now, I wonder, how should one treat this? When I studied stochastic processes, ...
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In Path Integrals, lagrangian or hamiltonian are fundamental?

When studying path-integrals one question arose to my mind... Which presentation is more fundamental to calculate the propagator? The one based on the Hamiltonian (phase space)? $$K(B|A) = \int \...
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1answer
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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 ...
8
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Several stationary points of the action functional

In QFT the principle of stationary action states that we choose fields that will make the action stationary but what if the action has many stationary points (for a fixed choice of boundary conditions)...
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Why are the Nambu-Goto action and Polyakov action equivalent at quantum level?

It's a well known elementary fact that the Nambu-Goto action $$S_{NG} = T \int d \tau d \sigma \sqrt{ (\partial_{\tau} X^{\mu})^2 (\partial_{\sigma} X^{\mu})^2 - (\partial_{\sigma} X^{\mu} \partial_{\...
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Normalizing Propagators (Path Integrals)

In the context of quantum mechanics via path integrals the normalization of the propagator as $$\left | \int d x K(x,t;x_0,t_0) \right |^2 ~=~ 1$$ is incorrect. But why? It gives the correct pre-...
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Semiclassical limit of Quantum Mechanics

I find myself often puzzled with the different definitions one gives to "semiclassical limits" in the context of quantum mechanics, in other words limits that eventually turn quantum mechanics into ...
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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 ...