Perturbation theory refers to methods for understanding physical systems by treating them as small modifications to exactly solvable systems.

learn more… | top users | synonyms

16
votes
2answers
2k views

Why is the second order perturbative correction to the ground state energy always down?

What is the physical/deeper reason for the second order shift of the ground state energy in time independent perturbation theory to be always down? I know that it follows from the formula quite ...
19
votes
1answer
322 views

Asymptoticity of Pertubative Expansion of QFT

It seems to be lore that the perturbative expansion of quantum field theories is generally asymptotic. I have seen two arguments. i)There is the Dyson instability argument as in QED, that is showing ...
5
votes
3answers
558 views

References for ADM formalism and cosmological perturbation theory [closed]

What would you consider the best online resources for learning the 3+1 ADM formalism and gauge invariant perturbation theory in cosmology? (Assuming intermediate level GR and QFT familiarity)
8
votes
1answer
893 views

Divergent Series

Why is it that divergent series make sense? Specifically, by basic calculus a sum such as $1 - 1 + 1 ...$ describes a divergent series (where divergent := non-convergent sequence of partial sums) ...
4
votes
1answer
751 views

Scattering Processes in Scalar Yukawa Theory

I'm trying to compute nucleon-nucleon scattering in scalar Yukawa theory. Here we view a nucleon as a complex scalar field $\psi$ and a meson as a real scalar field $\phi$. They interact through ...
5
votes
2answers
877 views

What does a non-perturbative theory mean?

I'm a science writer and I'm having difficulty understanding what a non-perturbative approach means. I thought I understood what perturbative meant, but in looking for explanations of ...
0
votes
1answer
125 views

Sakurai QM section 5.8

If anyone is familiar with Sakurai's book, specifically section 5.8 on energy shift and decay width, I am stuck and could use some help. I can't see how he derives 5.8.9 (in the revised edition). He ...
6
votes
2answers
260 views

Is WKB really applicable for the ground state?

It seems that WKB is applicable for a given $E$ if and only if $\hbar$ is sufficiently small. Or in other words, WKB is applicable if and only if the quantum number is large enough. Is this ...
5
votes
1answer
261 views

How can an asymptotic expansion give an extremely accurate predication, as in QED?

What is the meaning of "twenty digits accuracy" of certain QED calculations? If I take too little loops, or too many of them, the result won't be as accurate, so do people stop adding loops when the ...
7
votes
2answers
462 views

Scattering states of Hydrogen atom in non-relativistic perturbation theory

In doing second order time-independent perturbation theory in non-relativistic quantum mechanics one has to calculate the overlap between states $$E^{(2)}_n ~=~ \sum_{m \neq n}\frac{|\langle m | H' ...
5
votes
2answers
248 views

Why are the zeroth order terms in degenerate perturbation theory the eigenstates of the perturbing Hamiltonian?

I have for quite some time now tried to find a satisfactory answer to this, but I haven't yet. In perturbation theory, with small parameter $\lambda$, we expand the eigenstate as $$| E \rangle=| ...
7
votes
2answers
804 views

Where can a good treatment of the 'sudden' perturbation approximation be found?

Where can a good treatment of the 'sudden' perturbation approximation be found? A lot of quantum mechanics books have very brief discussions of it but I want to see it in some detail and preferably ...
2
votes
3answers
2k views

Fermi's Golden Rule and Density of States

I know Fermi's Golden Rule in the form $$\Gamma_{fi} ~=~ \sum_{f}\frac{2\pi}{\hbar}\delta (E_f - E_i)|M_{fi}|^2$$ where $\Gamma_{fi}$ is the probability transition rate, $M_{fi}$ are the transition ...
18
votes
4answers
868 views

Staying in orbit - but doesn't any perturbation start a positive feedback?

I am not a physicist; I am a software engineer. While trying to fall asleep recently, I started thinking about the following. There are many explanations online of how any object stays in orbit. The ...
5
votes
4answers
441 views

Perturbative Quantum Mechanics

I am, in full generality, confused about perturbation theory in quantum mechanics. My textbook and Wikipedia have the same general approach to explaining it: given some Hamiltonian $H=H^{(0)} + ...
2
votes
4answers
280 views

What does it mean by complex frequencies? (Quasinormal Modes)

Something I've taken for granted and not yet thought about physically, is how the frequency of quasinormal modes related to a black hole are $\textit{complex}$. I know that it's something to do with ...
1
vote
0answers
61 views

How do the renormalization enter the actual amplitude calculation in QFT?

I have studied QFT from Peskin and Schroeder and from a few other books and lectures and I think I understand the procedure of renormalizing various parameters in the Lagrangian like mass, coupling ...
0
votes
2answers
225 views

How explain this perturbing equation about the 43 arcseconds?

The planetary orbits have been studied as ellipses but the solar system is in motion in relation to the distant stars. Their path is along the tip of an helix and the ecliptic plane is a convenient ...
7
votes
3answers
419 views

Do gravitational waves cause time dilatation?

The effect of gravitational waves in transverse traceless gauge on matter is represented by the expansion and contraction of a ring of test particles in the direction of polarization of the wave. ...
3
votes
2answers
516 views

Second order degenerate perturbation theory

What is a good resource to learn about higher degree degenerate perturbation theory - one that involves mathematics that isn't much more advanced than first order perturbation theory? I've looked ...
3
votes
0answers
284 views

Question about the perturbative renormalization group

I'm currently learning about the renormalization group (RG) in condensed matter physics and just want to clarify a couple of things: When doing the RG transformation, there's a flow to a fixed point. ...
2
votes
0answers
58 views

What is the physical meaning of the “decay rate” in Fermis golden rule? [duplicate]

As far as I understood, Fermi's golden rule gives a prediction of the transition rate in a perturbed quantum system $H_0+V$ between two eigenstates of the unperturbed system $H_0$, say from $\left| ...
1
vote
2answers
204 views

How to tell the order of a Feynman diagram?

How can we know the order of a Feynman diagram just from the pictorial representation? Is it the number of vertices divided by 2? For example, I know that electnro-positron annihilaiton is first ...
1
vote
1answer
75 views

$\mathrm{d} \Omega_{CM}$ for a $1\rightarrow 2$ particle decay?

The differential solid angle is described in e.g. Srednicki's QFT text but only for the case of scattering. Because in the case of scattering it's defined with respect to the incoming three-momentum ...
0
votes
1answer
58 views

What is the sum over the transition rates?

I was looking at the solution to an exercise, and I came over this expression: $$P_{i\to f} = \sum \limits_{f} {2 \pi \over \hbar }\; |\langle f |\hat V | i \rangle |^2 \delta(E_{fi}-E),$$ where ...