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 ...

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What is the need for the Higgs mechanism and electroweak unification?

The Higgs mechanism allows massless fields to acquire mass through their coupling to a scalar field. But if the masses cannot be predicted because the couplings have to be fixed, what really is the ...
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553 views

Why do Faddeev-Popov ghosts decouple in BRST?

Why do Faddeev-Popov ghosts decouple in BRST? What is the physical reason behind it? Not just the mathematical reason. If BRST quantization is specifically engineered to make the ghosts decouple, how ...
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285 views

What is wall crossing?

I know that it must have something to do with (gauge?) theories with N=2 supersymmetry, BPS states and even black holes, but most papers on the subject are too technical for me. So what is wall ...
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Does particle indistinguishability and quantised enery levels (in bound states) violate the Pauli Exclusion Principle?

First, I should point out that this question was raised by a particle physics Professor whose lessons I attended last year. I don't recall exactly how the question was phrased so if anyone would like ...
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400 views

Is there a fully quantum-field theoretic treatise of Planck's Law for black-body radiation?

I recall from my undergraduate statistical mechanics and QM classes that Planck's Law may be derived fairly straight-forwardly by considering the density of states of EM radiation in thermal ...
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588 views

Superconformal algebra

I had earlier also asked a question about super conformal theories and I am continuing with that, now with more specific examples. I am quite puzzled with it given that I see no book explaining even ...
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Do traversable wormholes exist as solutions to string theory?

There has been some heated debate as to whether the laws of physics allow for traversable wormholes. Some physicists claim we require exotic matter to construct wormholes, but then others counter the ...
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$N=4$ supersymmetric yang-mills theory and S-duality

[Question suggested by @Lawrence B. Crowell's answer to the question on T-duality] There are three parts to my question: A. What is the action for $N=4$ SUSY Yang-Mills and what is the physics of ...
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242 views

Strings with negative pressure

This question is inspired by the following comment: the strings in string theory are relativistic and on a large enough piece of world sheet, the internal SO(1,1) Lorentz symmetry is preserved. ...
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425 views

Single trace partition function

I would be glad if someone can help me understand the argument in appendix B.1 and B.2 (page 76 to 80) of this paper. The argument in B.1 supposedly helps understand how the authors in that paper ...
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Diff(M) as a gauge group and local observables in theories with gravity

In a gauge theory like QED a gauge transformation transforms one mathematical representation of a physical system to another mathematical representation of the same system, where the two mathematical ...
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Are W & Z bosons virtual or not?

W and Z bosons are observed/discovered. But as force carrying bosons they should be virtual particles, unobservable? And also they require to have mass, but if they are virtual they may be off-shell, ...
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Is the S-Matrix the only quantum field observable?

If the S-Matrix is the only observable, that rules out both generalized free fields and Wick-ordered polynomials of generalized free fields as interesting Physical models, because both result in a ...
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581 views

Modes of a QFT and irreducible representation of the gauge group

This is in reference to the calculation in section 3.3 starting page 20 of this paper. I came across an argument which seems to say that the "constraint of Gauss's law" enforces gauge theory on ...
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2answers
214 views

Does boundedness of observables in the Haag-Kastler axiomatization rule out interactions?

In an interacting theory I expect there to be caustics, resonances, and other situations in which some observables would give an infinite experimental result. Of course, these are idealized states and ...
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2answers
266 views

Polarization of the gluon

I think that, by now, it's understood that the gluon propagator in QCD has a dynamically generated mass. Ok, so my question is the following: where does the extra polarization degree of freedom come ...
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How is the double slit experiment modeled in contemporary physical theories?

Suppose I have the following double split experiment set up: a monochromatic electron source of low intensity, which we can model as emitting a single electron at a time with energy $T$. a ...
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Why should the Standard Model be renormalizable?

Effective theories like Little Higgs models or Nambu-Jona-Lasinio model are non-renormalizable and there is no problem with it, since an effective theory does not need to be renormalizable. These ...
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Are Classical Field Theory and Quantum Mechanics of a single particle (nonrelativistic or “classical”) limits of Quantum Field Theory?

Recently I talked about QFT with another physicist and mentioned that the Quantum Field Theory of a fermion is a quantisation of its one-particle quantum mechanical theory. He denied this and ...
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Witten Index and letter partition function

I haven't seen any reference which explains these things and I am not sure of all the steps of the argument or the equations. I am trying to reproduce here a sequence of arguments that I have mostly ...
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6answers
2k views

Formalizing Quantum Field Theory

I'm wondering about current efforts to provide mathematical foundations and more solid definition for quantum field theories. I am aware of such efforts in the context of the simpler topological or ...
8
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706 views

Superconformal theories

Can anyone tell me where can I read about the notion of "short" and "long" representations? Like what they are etc. From where can I learn the arguments which show that the bosonic subalgebra of ...
23
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5answers
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Haag's theorem and practical QFT computations

There exists this famous Haag's theorem which basically states that the interaction picture in QFT cannot exist. Yet, everyone uses it to calculate almost everything in QFT and it works beautifully. ...
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887 views

The energy spectrum in quantum field theory

One of the key elements of any quantum mechanical system is the spectrum of the Hamiltonian. But what about in quantum field theory? It seems as if nobody ever discusses the spectrum of a system at ...
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Why is lagrangian density correct?

The textbooks I have available explain that due to the infinite degrees of freedom of a field, the relevant object in QFT is the lagrangian density. A lagrangian is then obtained for the field by ...
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348 views

Is a normal-ordered product of free fields at a point a Wightman field?

$:\!\!\hat\phi(x)^2\!\!:$, for example, constructed from the real Klein-Gordon quantum field. For a Wightman field, the Wightman function $\left<0\right|\hat\phi(x)\hat\phi(y)\left|0\right>$ is ...
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$t\bar{t}$ asymmetry

Some weeks ago, there was lots of talk about this CDF paper: Evidence for a Mass Dependent Forward-Backward Asymmetry in Top Quark Pair Production where they measured a much higher asymmetry than ...
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Shape of the Higgs branching ratio to ZZ

I've been looking at the, now very popular, graph of the SM Higgs decay branching ratios: You see that the ZZ branching ratio has a funny dip around the $170\, GeV$, very different from the WW ...
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Can someone give a simple expose on Coleman Mandula theorem and what Mandelstam variables are?

Can someone give a simple expose on Coleman Mandula theorem and what Mandelstam variables are? Coleman-Mandula is often cited as being the key theorem that leads us to consider Supersymmetry for ...
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3answers
851 views

Why is stringless supergravity not considered by many to be a candidate theory of quantum gravity?

This paper seems to show that $d=4, N=8$ supergravity is finite. Yet the paper only has three citations in spires, and I certainly haven't heard talk of a new candidate theory of gravity. Why ...
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The Spectral Function in Many-Body Physics and its Relation to Quasiparticles

recently, I stumbled accross a concept which might be very helpful understanding quasiparticles and effective theories (and might shed light on an the question How to calculate the properties of ...
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Virtual photon description of B and E fields

I continue to find it amazing that something as “bulky” and macroscopic as a static magnetic or electric field is actually a manifestation of virtual photons. So putting on your QFT spectacles, look ...
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547 views

What is Timelike Quantum Entanglement?

I came across a New Study at : http://arxiv.org/pdf/1101.2565 . Which talks about Time like quantum entanglement. What does that mean? Comment added by L.Motl: The same preprint has been discussed ...
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603 views

Understanding boundary conditions on slices of AdS5

This is a thing Iïve seen on many papers dealing with Warped Extra Dimensions, specifically on slices of AdS5. But the one where it appears more clearly is a lecture by Tony Gherghetta: ...
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Special relativity version of Feynman's “Space-Time Approach to Non-Relativistic Quantum Mechanics”

I'm looking for an article that sets up the framework described by Feynman in Space-Time Approach to Non-Relativistic Quantum Mechanics, but in Special Relativity.
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What is the difference between complex field and two scalar fields?

Consider a complex scalar field $\phi$ with the Lagrangian: $L = \partial_\mu\phi^\dagger\partial^\mu\phi - m^2 \phi^\dagger\phi$ Consider also two real scalar fields $\phi_1$ and $\phi_2$ with the ...
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How general is the Lagrangian quantization approach to field theory?

It is an usual practice that any quantum field theory starts with a suitable Lagrangian density. It has been proved enormously successful. I understand, it automatically ensures valuable symmetries of ...
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What are the main differences between these three quantum theories: QM, QFT & QG? [closed]

What are the main differences between these three quantum theories? Quantum Mechanics (QM), Quantum Field theory (QFT), Quantum Gravity (QG).
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380 views

What would the electromagnetic field of a massless electron look like

The Standard Model gives non-zero mass to the electron via the coupling to the Higgs field. Issues of renormalizability aside, this is fundamentally unrelated to the fact that the electron couples to ...
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1answer
88 views

Why is $\rho_m$ proportional to the deviation from critical temperature in critical phenomena?

In Peskin and Schroeder's chapter 12 about the renormalization group, it is stated that the parameter $\rho_m=m^2/M^2$, where $m$ is the mass and $M$ is the renormalization scale, is proportional to ...
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What does second quantization mean in the context of string theory?

String field theory (in which string theory undergoes "second quantization") seems to reside in the backwaters of discussions of string theory. What does second quantization mean in the context of a ...
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213 views

Cooling via the quantum vacuum?

Suppose you had an isolated cloud of gas at a low temperature in a vacuum with no external sources of radiation (e.g. no CMB). The gas would clearly cool via the emission of low-energy photons. But ...
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6answers
996 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 ...
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1answer
424 views

Poynting Vectors and Feigel Effects

There is a surprising number of papers seriously discussing the "feigel effect" This has been linked to the Abraham-Minkowski controversy also here. Although there are good discussions picking apart ...
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1answer
356 views

Perturbative solution + Nonperturbative solution = Full solution?

I am having this silly confusion! Suppose I have a system (a Hamiltonian or an action say) and also suppose I have a perturbation parameter present (say only one in sight) in there, using which I can ...
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3answers
426 views

When one thinks of a field of operators in QFT, is it reasonable to think of a matrix being associated with each point in space time?

Is it correct to visualize operators existing as matrices parameterized by spacetime coordinates in the context of QFT?
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2answers
711 views

Can decoherence time be shorter than Planck time?

Decoherence times can be estimated and are inverse functions of mass. Since there are no upper bounds on mass, can decoherence time be shorter than Planck time?
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What are field quanta?

Just assume that I understand that a field in quantum field theory is an operator-valued distribution. For simplicity, forget about the distribution and think about a function $\varphi:M \rightarrow ...
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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 ...
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are particles “knots” or “kinks” of excitation in a field?

this is my mental picture for how they travel without a medium, how (like water waves) some can't stay still, why they have wave and particle properties, energy/mass equivalence, conservation, etc. ...