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

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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 ...
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780 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 ...
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1k 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 ...
15
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2answers
2k views

Self energy, 1PI, and tadpoles

I'm having a hard time reconciling the following discrepancy: Recall that in passing to the effective action via a Legendre transformation, we interpret the effective action $\Gamma[\phi_c]$ to be ...
13
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4answers
1k views

Tree level QFT and classical fields/particles

It is well known that scattering cross-sections computed at tree level correspond to cross-sections in the classical theory. For example the tree level cross-section for electron-electron scaterring ...
11
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1answer
132 views

Limitations in using FLEX as a DMFT solver

When using the fluctuating exchange approximation (FLEX) as a dynamical mean field theory (DMFT) solver, Kotliar, et al. (p. 898) suggest that it is only reliable for when the interaction strength, ...
10
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222 views

Nuclear physics from perturbative QFT

Is there a renormalizable QFT that can produce a reasonably accurate description of nuclear physics in perturbation theory? Obviously the Standard Model cannot since QCD is strongly coupled at nuclear ...
10
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1answer
365 views

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 ...
9
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103 views

LSZ reduction vs adiabatic hypothesis in perburbative calculation of interacting fields

As far as I know, there are two ways of constructing the computational rules in perturbative field theory. The first one (in Mandl and Shaw's QFT book) is to pretend in and out states as free ...
9
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446 views

Small oscillations of heavy string

I'm solving problem in classical field theory and I have some difficulties. I'm trying to study small oscilations of heavy string with fixed points. First of all I wrote down this Lagrangian: ...
8
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282 views

In what sense are loop diagrams quantum corrections?

What's so not-quantum about tree-level diagrams?
8
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1answer
606 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) ...
8
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1answer
692 views

Kramer's-Kronig relations for the electron Self-Energy Σ

I'm currently studying an article by Maslov, in particular the first section about higher corrections to Fermi-liquid behavior of interacting electron systems. Unfortunately, I've hit a snag when ...
8
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1answer
160 views

What is the Principle of Maximum Conformality?

I'm trying to understand this article about an advance in the theoretical understanding of QCD which centers on the Principal of Maximum Conformality. What is this Principle? In other words, what is ...
7
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2answers
610 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 ...
7
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3answers
325 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. ...
6
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2answers
451 views

Linearizing Gravity to ${\cal O}(h^3)$

I've seen the action of linearized gravity in many places. We basically have $${\cal L} ~\sim~ \frac{1}{G_N}\left( - \frac{1}{2}h^{\alpha\beta} \Box h_{\alpha\beta} + \frac{1}{4} h \Box h + {\cal ...
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63 views

Ambiguity in Asymptotic Perturbative Series and Instantons

I know there are a number of questions about the asymptoticity of perturbative series and about instantons on StackExchange (e.g. Instantons and Non Perturbative Amplitudes in Gravity from user566, ...
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2answers
99 views

What makes laminar cascade break?

Near my house there is a mall that have a cascade, which has a pratically constant flow, and doesn't seem to have perturbations (at least near the edge where water falls), between its two levels. ...
6
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2answers
542 views

Does perturbation theory break down for quantum gravity?

Perturbation theory presumes we have a valid family of models over some continuous (infinitely differentiable, in fact) range for some parameters, i.e. coupling constants. We have some special values ...
5
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538 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 ...
5
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2answers
766 views

Expectation value of time-dependent Hamiltonian

I'm trying to solve a problem in QM with a forced quantum oscillator. In this problem I have a quantum oscillator, which is in the ground state initially. At $t=0$, the force $F(t)=F_0 \sin(\Omega t)$ ...
5
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4answers
413 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)} + ...
5
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3answers
245 views

Time Varying Potential, series solution

Suppose we have a time varying potential $$\left( -\frac{1}{2m}\nabla^2+ V(\vec{r},t)\right)\psi = i\partial_t \psi$$ then I want to know why is the general solution written as $\psi = ...
5
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1answer
123 views

Are third derivatives of metric perturbations zero?

I'm working on a problem related to fluid perturbations of stars. I'm following this paper. They start with the Einstein equation: $$G_{\alpha \beta} = 8 \pi G T_{\alpha \beta}$$ and then perturb the ...
5
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1answer
93 views

Does the LSZ reduction method prove gauge-independence in massless gauge theories?

I've been working my way through L. Baulieu's excellent paper [Perturbative gauge theories, Physics Reports, Volume 129, Issue 1, December 1985, Pages 1-74]. Towards the end, he goes on to prove that ...
5
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160 views

Separation of perturbative and non-perturbative contributions in partition function computation

The following is defined, where $\epsilon \to 0^+$ is a cutoff: $$ \mathcal{F}(Z)=\int_{\epsilon}^\infty \frac{\mathrm{d}s}{s} \frac{1}{\sinh^2 s/2} e^{-sx}. $$ Question: how do we see that ...
5
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188 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 ...
5
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1answer
236 views

Degenerate perturbation theory applied to topological degeneracy?

Consider a quantum system described by a gapped Hamiltonian $H_0$ with degenerate ground states (GS), adding a perturbation term $V$ to $H_0$, then the low-energy physics can be described by an ...
5
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72 views

No mixing in light cone perturbation theory

In hep-ph/0609090, Triumvirate of Running Couplings in Small-x Evolution, Kovchegov et. al. calculated the running coupling correction to the Jalilian-Marian, Iancu, McLerran, Weigert, Leonidov and ...
5
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178 views

Is string theory over a time varying background a conformal field theory to all orders in perturbation theory?

When computing the first order perturbative corrections to string theory over a curved background, we find the background has to be Ricci-flat if the dilaton is constant and we have no fluxes. Such is ...
4
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3answers
492 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)
4
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1answer
317 views

Naive question about time-dependent perturbation theory

In time-dependent perturbation theory where $H=H_0+V$ and $V$ is considered small and has no explicit time dependence, the standard text-book treatment of the leading order probability amplitude for ...
4
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1answer
331 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' ...
4
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264 views

Calculating the period of a quasi-circular orbit

In solving an exercise I had to find the equation of the quasi-circular orbits of an object with the potential $V(r)=-\alpha r^{-1-\eta}$ and I expressed it as: $$r(\phi)=\frac{r_c}{1+\epsilon ...
4
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1answer
178 views

Convergence of quantum effective action to finite loop order

Consider the quantum effective action of a fixed QFT. If we compute it perturbatively to finite loop order $\ell$, we get a sum over an infinite number of Feynman diagrams. For example, the 1-loop ...
4
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1answer
83 views

Does first quantization perturbation theory imply a large scale web of electron entanglement?

My question may seem quite esoteric given the title, but I think it's relatively straightforward when explained properly. Imagine a relatively simple situation of 2 hydrogen atoms (numbered 1 and 2), ...
4
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1answer
338 views

center of mass Hamiltonian of a Hydrogen atom

I'm working through Mattuck's "A Guide to Feynman Diagrams in the Many-Body Problem", but I'm stuck on a bit which I feel should be trivial. In section 3.2 (p 43 in the Dover edition) he gives a ...
4
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1answer
50 views

Perturbation of an operator - Meaning of matrix element [closed]

Let be $B$ an operator and $\left|\Psi\right>$, $\left|\Phi\right>$ two states (not necessarily equals). What is the meaning of a matrix element $\left<\Psi\right| B ...
4
votes
1answer
531 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 ...
4
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1answer
105 views

Is WKB really applicable for the ground state?

It is a long time question for me. For me, 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 ...
4
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0answers
911 views

How does one actually compute the amplituhedron?

I was watching Nima's very popular talk (download if you're using chrome) (also mirrored at youtube here) about the "Amplituhedron", which has suddenly become very popular recently. He talks all ...
3
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4answers
174 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
169 views

Interpreting perturbation theory in general relativity

In quantum mechanics we start with a Hamiltonian $H_0$ for which we know the exact eigenstates and energy eigenvalues. We perturb it by a known term $H$, and then attempt to compute (approximately) ...
3
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2answers
131 views

Field Strength Renorm in Peskin&Schroeder

On page 237 in PS we have (the unnumbered equation after eq. 7.58) $$\mathcal{P} \sim \frac{iZ}{p^2-m^2-iZ\,\mathrm{Im}M^2(p^2)}$$ but after deriving it myself I obtained $$\mathcal{P} \sim ...
3
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1answer
738 views

Time-Dependent Potentials in Quantum Mechanics

A potential that depends on time is usually solved using the time dependent perturbation theory in standard undergraduate textbooks in quantum mechanics. The reason usually mentioned is that time ...
3
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1answer
101 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=| ...
3
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1answer
199 views

Lagrangian density of an interacting real scalar field theory

Srednicki writes the Lagrangian density of an interacting scalar field theory as $$ \mathcal{L} = -\frac{1}{2} Z_\phi \partial^\mu \phi \partial_\mu \phi -\frac{1}{2} Z_m m^2 \phi^2 + \frac{1}{6} Z_g ...
3
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2answers
269 views

Diagram-like perturbation theory in quantum mechanics

There seems to be a formalism of quantum mechanics perturbation that involve something like Feynman diagrams. The advantage is that contrary to the complicated formulas in standard texts, this ...
3
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1answer
191 views

Where does this equation for a perturbed metric come from?

I'm reading an article which includes the following equation involving a perturbed metric: $$G_{AB} = \eta_{AB} + \overset{1}{\gamma}_{AB} + 2\overset{1}{\chi}_{(A,B)}\tag{4.1}$$ I don't understand ...