Quantum Field Theory (QFT) is the theoretical framework describing the quantisation of classical fields which allows a Lorentz-invariant formulation of quantum mechanics. QFT is used both in high energy physics as well as condensed matter physics and closely related to statistical field theory. Use ...

learn more… | top users | synonyms (1)

50
votes
11answers
9k views

Quantum Field Theory from a mathematical point of view

I'm a student of mathematics with not much background in physics. I'm interested in learning Quantum field theory from a mathematical point of view. Are there any good books or other reference ...
17
votes
3answers
1k views

Why does dilation invariance often imply proper conformal invariance?

Why does a quantum field theory invariant under dilations almost always also have to be invariant under proper conformal transformations? To show your favorite dilatation invariant theory is also ...
11
votes
2answers
1k views

Is Zitterbewegung an artefact of single-particle theory?

I have seen a number of articles on Zitterbewegung claiming searches for it such as this one: http://arxiv.org/abs/0810.2186. Others such as the so-called ZBW interpretation by Hestenes seemingly ...
12
votes
4answers
6k views

Why don’t photons interact with the Higgs field?

Why don’t photons interact with the Higgs field and hence remain massless?
8
votes
1answer
217 views

geometric quantization of the moduli space of abelian Chern-Simons theory

I wish to understand the statement in this paper more precisely: (1). Any 3d Topological quantum field theories(TQFT) associates an inner-product vector space $H_{\Sigma}$ to a Riemann surface ...
16
votes
3answers
2k views

Decay of massless particles

We don't normally consider the possibility that massless particles could undergo radioactive decay. There are elementary arguments that make it sound implausible. (A bunch of the following is ...
7
votes
2answers
2k views

Virtual photons, what makes them virtual?

The wikipedia page "Force Carrier" says: The electromagnetic force can be described by the exchange of virtual photons. The virtual photon thing baffles me a little. I get that virtual particles ...
13
votes
3answers
2k views

Hypercharge for $U(1)$ in $SU(2)\times U(1)$ model

I understand that the fundamental representation of $U(1)$ amounts to a multiplication by a phase factor, e.g. EM. I thought that when it is extended to higher dimensional representations, it would ...
11
votes
2answers
3k views

Charge conjugation in Dirac equation

According to Dirac equation we can write, \begin{equation} \left(i\gamma^\mu( \partial_\mu +ie A_\mu)- m \right)\psi(x,t) = 0 \end{equation} We seek an equation where $e\rightarrow -e $ and which ...
15
votes
1answer
683 views

What is the conclusion from Aharonov-Bohm Effect?

What is the conclusion that we can draw from the Aharonov-Bohm effect? Does it simply suggest that the vector potential has measurable effects? Does it mean that it is a real observable in quantum ...
6
votes
1answer
463 views

Quantum Zeno effect and unstable particles

Is it possible to increase indefinitely the lifetime of unstable particles by applying the quantum Zeno effect? Is there a bound from theoretical principles about the maximum extension one can get in ...
6
votes
1answer
313 views

How do instantons cause vacuum decay?

From what I read about on instantons (Zee, QFT in a Nutshell, pg 309-310), an instanton is a vacuum solution that maps $S^3 \rightarrow S^3$ (the boundary of Euclideanized spacetime), which comes from ...
6
votes
2answers
2k views

Why do neutrino oscillations imply nonzero neutrino masses?

Neutrinos can pass from one family to another (that is, change in flavor) in a process known as neutrino oscillation. The oscillation between the different families occurs randomly, and the likelihood ...
3
votes
1answer
1k views

three-particle quantum entanglement

So I know that two particles can be entangled in a quantum way, but is it possible that more than two particles be entangled in a quantum way? Most descriptions provide with two-particles cases, so I ...
3
votes
3answers
539 views

Theory that gets rid of dark matter/energy

Is there any physics theory that either groups together gravity and dark energy/dark matter or eliminates dark energy/dark matter by modifying standard understanding of gravity or any force? If so, ...
0
votes
0answers
138 views

Prerequisites for QFT? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Book recommendations Is there a book that covers everything you need to know (and possibly more) before starting a course on QFT. Alternatively, I need a list of what ...
25
votes
2answers
1k views

Why do we expect our theories to be independent of cutoffs?

Final edit: I think I pretty much understand now (touch wood)! But there's one thing I don't get. What's the physical reason for expecting the correlation functions to be independent of the cutoff? ...
12
votes
3answers
2k views

Is it really proper to say Ward identity is a consequence of gauge invariance?

Many (if not all) of the materials I've read claim Ward identity is a consequence of gauge invariance of the theory, while actually their derivations only make use of current conservation ...
16
votes
4answers
680 views

Separability axiom really necessary?

I know other people asked the same question time before, but I read a few posts and I didn't find a satisfactory answer to the question, probably because it is a foundational problem of quantum ...
8
votes
3answers
3k views

Noether theorem, gauge symmetry and conservation of charge

I'm trying to understand Noether's theorem, and it's application to gauge symmetry. Below what I've done so far. First, the global gauge symmetry. I'm starting with the Lagragian ...
20
votes
6answers
762 views

Is there a theorem that says that QFT reduces to QM in a suitable limit? A theorem similar to Ehrenfest's theorem?

Is there a theorem that says that QFT reduces to QM in a suitable limit? Of course, it should be, as QFT is relativisitc quantum mechanics. But, is there a more manifest one? such as Ehrenfest's ...
11
votes
1answer
2k views

Lagrangian of Schrodinger field

The usual Schrodinger Lagrangian is $$ \tag 1 i(\psi^{*}\partial_{t}\psi ) + \frac{1}{2m} \psi^{*}(\nabla^2)\psi, $$ which gives the correct equations of motion, with conjugate momentum for $\psi^{*}$ ...
9
votes
2answers
4k views

What are zero modes?

What are zero modes in quantum field theory, and what are they used for? Or, where can I read about them? I was never able to find a good introduction on the subject. I am particularly interested in ...
13
votes
2answers
549 views

Born rule for photons: it works, but it shouldn't?

We can observe double-slit diffraction with photons, with light of such low intensity that only one photon is ever in flight at one time. On a sensitive CCD, each photon is observed at exactly one ...
9
votes
2answers
1k views

EM wave function & photon wavefunction

According to this review Photon wave function. Iwo Bialynicki-Birula. Progress in Optics 36 V (1996), pp. 245-294. arXiv:quant-ph/0508202, a classical EM plane wavefunction is a wavefunction (in ...
8
votes
2answers
474 views

$(\frac{1}{2},\frac{1}{2})$ representation of $SU(2)\otimes SU(2)$

The representation $(\frac{1}{2},\frac{1}{2})$ of the Lorentz group correspond to a four- vector or a spin-one object. Right? Does it imply that any four-vector is identical to a spin-one object or ...
10
votes
2answers
1k views

Gauge covariant derivative in different books

It puzzles me that Zee uses throughout the book this definition of covariant derivative: $$D_{\mu} \phi=\partial_{\mu}\phi-ieA_{\mu}\phi$$ with a minus sign, despite of the use of the $(+---)$ ...
6
votes
3answers
474 views

Why gauge theories have such a success?

[This question was inspired by a identical question asked on a other forum] Note that we may morally include general relativity in the gauge theories. We may have several (some are deliberately ...
6
votes
1answer
552 views

Is microcausality *necessary* for no-signaling?

There are proofs in the literature that QFT including microcausality is sufficient for it not to be possible to send signals by making quantum mechanical measurements associated with regions of ...
10
votes
6answers
1k views

Is there any thing other than time that “triggers” a radioactive atom to decay?

Say you have a vial of tritium and monitor their atomic decay with a geiger counter. How does an atom "know" when it's time to decay? It seems odd that all the tritium atoms are identical except with ...
7
votes
2answers
688 views

the causality and the anti-particles

How can I quantitatively and qualitatively understand the fact that there is a relevence between the existence of anti-particles and the causality?
7
votes
3answers
3k views

Electron Positron annihilation Feynman Diagram

I am having some trouble understanding this fenyman diagram, it seems to indicate that the electron produces the positron, as the arrow of the positron is pointing from the electron. Additionally ...
6
votes
4answers
733 views

Dirac equation as Hamiltonian system

Let us consider Dirac equation $$(i\gamma^\mu\partial_\mu -m)\psi ~=~0$$ as a classical field equation. Is it possible to introduce Poisson bracket on the space of spinors $\psi$ in such a way that ...
13
votes
2answers
586 views

Renormalization in string theory

I'm taking a course in string theory and have encountered renormalization for the first time (and I suspect it isn't the last). Specifically, while quantizing the bosonic and spinning strings, an ...
8
votes
2answers
507 views

What is the origin of the factor of $-1/4$ in the Maxwell Lagrangian?

I have seen numerous 'derivations' of the Maxwell Lagrangian, $$\mathcal{L} ~=~ -\frac{1}{4}F_{\mu \nu}F^{\mu \nu},$$ but every one has sneakily inserted a factor of $-1/4$ without explaining why. ...
4
votes
3answers
131 views

What is the relationship between vibration of the field and quantum fluctuation?

Consider a free field like the KG equation. I see that why $$\tilde \phi(\mathbf{p},t)$$ a momentum-dependent quantity, is an oscillator, vibrating at a frequency because when we apply the Fourier ...
11
votes
8answers
5k views

Is it possible to separate the poles of a magnet?

It might seem common sense that when we split a magnet we get 2 magnets with their own N-S poles. But somehow, I find it hard to accept this fact.(Which I now know is stated by Gauss's Law) I have ...
6
votes
1answer
181 views

What is the the Ehrenfest-Oppenheimer rule on the statistics of composite systems?

Ehrenfest 1931 gives an argument to the effect that the application of the spin-statistics theorem to composite systems is valid, but only as an approximation and under certain conditions. ...
3
votes
3answers
400 views

What is the Quantum Transition Time for Photon Emission?

When an electron in an atom changes energy states to emit a photon, how long does the process take? Is this question even meaningful?
1
vote
1answer
525 views

Is it possible to take a QFT class knowing only basic quantum mechanics?

I'm in grad school and notice there are no prerequisites required for QFT in the physics department. In fact, the system allows me to sign up for the course just fine as a technical elective. But... ...
0
votes
2answers
252 views

What is the required prerequisite knowledge of QM, for starting QFT?

As a physics bsc student, I have a very limited knowledge of QM: Dirac formalism, Schrodinger equation and simple solutions (oscillators, particle in a given potential, hydrogen-like atom etc). There ...
27
votes
13answers
4k views

Suggested reading for renormalization (not only in QFT)

What papers/books/reviews can you suggest to learn what Renormalization "really" is? Standard QFT textbooks are usually computation-heavy and provide little physical insight in this regard - after my ...
20
votes
5answers
10k views

Online QFT video lectures

I'm aware of Sidney Coleman's 1975/76 sequence of 54 lectures on Quantum Field Theory. Are there any other high-quality QFT lecture series available online?
17
votes
1answer
661 views

Regulator-scheme-independence in QFT

Are there general conditions (preservation of symmetries for example) under which after regularization and renormalization in a given renormalizable QFT, results obtained for physical quantities are ...
14
votes
1answer
690 views

Wick rotation and spinors

I am quite familiar with use of Wick rotations in QFT, but one thing annoys me: let's say we perform it for treating more conveniently (ie. making converge) a functional integral containing spinors; ...
9
votes
5answers
4k views

Chemical potential

This is something probably very basic but I was led back to this issue while listening to a recent seminar by Allan Adams on holographic superconductors. He seemed very worried to have a theory at ...
15
votes
3answers
1k views

In what sense is a scalar field observable in QFT?

Consider a QFT consisting of a single, hermitian scalar field $\Phi$ on spacetime (say $\mathbb R^{3,1}$ for simplicity). At each point $x$ in spacetime, $\Phi(x)$ is an observable in the sense that ...
15
votes
1answer
732 views

A reading list to build up to the spin statistics theorem

Wikipedia's article on the spin-statistics theorem sums it up thusly: In quantum mechanics, the spin-statistics theorem relates the spin of a particle to the particle statistics it obeys. The spin ...
20
votes
3answers
6k views

Why you need a graviton when you have the higgs boson?

Since I studied General Relativity I had this question running on my mind. As I see it (just taking lectures of Quantum Field Theory right now) "Why you need a gauge boson for gravity when the higgs ...
12
votes
3answers
3k views

What are the calculations for Vacuum Energy?

In wiki the Vacuum Energy in a cubic meter of free space ranges from $10^{-9}$ from the cosmological constant to $10^{113}$ due to calculations in Quantum Electrodynamics (QED) and Stochastic ...