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96
votes
2answers
11k views

Why do we not have spin greater than 2?

It is commonly asserted that no consistent, interacting quantum field theory can be constructed with fields that have spin greater than 2 (possibly with some allusion to renormalization). I've also ...
17
votes
1answer
405 views

Is string theory local?

By locality I mean something like the Atiyah-Segal axioms for Riemannian cobordisms (see e.g. http://ncatlab.org/nlab/show/FQFT). I.e. to any (spacelike) hypersurface in the target we associate a ...
16
votes
2answers
815 views

Does the exact string theory $S$-matrix describe all physics there is?

Suppose someone manages to evaluate the string theory $S$-matrix to all orders for any and all vertex operator insertions including non-perturbative contributions from world-sheet instantons and ...
15
votes
2answers
3k views

What is the physical interpretation of the S-matrix in QFT?

A few closely related questions regarding the physical interpretation of the S-matrix in QFT: I am interested in both heuristic and mathematically precise answers. Given a quantum field theory when ...
12
votes
2answers
2k views

What are bootstraps?

I've heard occasional mentions of the term "bootstraps" in connection with the S Matrix. I believe it applies to an old approach that was tried in the 1960s, whereby - well I'm not sure - but it ...
12
votes
2answers
1k views

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
votes
1answer
1k views

When we define the S-matrix, what are “in” and “out” states?

I have seen the scattering matrix defined using initial ("in") and final ("out") eigenstates of the free hamiltonian, with $$\left| \vec{p}_1 \cdots \vec{p}_n \; \text{out} \right\rangle = S^{-1} ...
11
votes
1answer
389 views

Witten's constrained S-matrix and Coleman-Mandula Theorem

I remember reading somewhere that Witten argued that if the Poincaré symmetry of spacetime were nontrivially combined with internal symmetries, then the S-matrix would be so constrained that the ...
10
votes
1answer
1k views

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 ...
10
votes
1answer
298 views

Probability conservation in WKB tunneling

Suppose we have quantum mechanical plane waves of energy $E$ incident upon a one-dimensional potential barrier $V(x)$ with sloping sides. One can compare the WKB solutions in the three relevant ...
9
votes
1answer
627 views

Does de Sitter space admit an asymptotic S-matrix?

From the Penrose diagram of de Sitter space, we see it has a future and past conformal boundary, and they are both spacelike. So, does de Sitter space admit an asymptotic S-matrix? Sure, in the usual ...
9
votes
3answers
295 views

Are there any serious alternatives to QCD nowadays?

I've read several posts here where people talk about the history of the developement of the theory of strong interactions. And they mention Regge theory, pomerons, S-matrix and so on. I'm confused ...
8
votes
4answers
506 views

Different kinds of S-matrices?

It seems to me that the notion of an "S-matrix" refers to several different objects One construction you can find in the literature is allowing the coupling constant to adiabatically approach 0 in ...
8
votes
2answers
266 views

Why does the action have to be hermitian?

The hermiticity of operators of observables, e.g. the Hamiltonian, in QM is usually justified by saying that the eigenvalues must be real valued. I know that the Lagrangian is just a Legendre ...
8
votes
1answer
361 views

There are two definitions of S operator (or S matrix) in quantum field theory. Are they equivalent?

I read several textbooks of QFT and found that there are two kinds of definition of $S$ operator (or S matrix). First kind: Define $\hat{S}$ is map from out space to in space ...
8
votes
2answers
335 views

How to replace $T$-product with retarded commutator in LSZ formula?

I am reading Itzykson and Zuber's Quantum Field Theory book, and am unable to understand a step that is made on page 246: Here, they consider the elastic scattering of particle $A$ off particle $B$: ...
7
votes
3answers
1k views

Applications of analytic continuation to physics

I posted this on math.SE, but didn't get much response. It might fit better on this site. Holomorphic functions have the property that they can be uniquely analytically continued to (almost) the ...
7
votes
1answer
465 views

Basic question about the S-Matrix, Unitarity and Effective Field Theory

Consider scattering some particles in a state collectively denoted by $i$ to a final state denote by $f$. The scattering amplitude, S-matrix is then defined by: $S_{fi}\equiv \langle ...
7
votes
0answers
53 views

Why would renormalization be necessary without divergent integrals? [duplicate]

Weinberg uses the LSZ reduction formula to introduce field renormalization,and on page 441, he says: As this discussion should make clear: the renormalization of masses and fields has nothing to ...
6
votes
1answer
137 views

Why is there no double counting of $s$- and $t$-channels in string theory?

In string theory for the four particle tree diagram exchange, why is there some mysterious crossing duality between the $s$- and $t$- and $u$-channels? Why isn't there a double counting in the Feynman ...
6
votes
1answer
168 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 ...
6
votes
2answers
407 views

S-Matrix Elements in Path Integral Formalism

I have a question related to the connection between the S-Matrix elements and the path integral formalism. In order to formulate the question, I will just work with a scalar field theory for ...
6
votes
1answer
210 views

Flat Space Limit of AdS/CFT is S-Matrix Theory

In an answer to this question, Ron Maimon said: The flat-space limit of AdS/CFT boundary theory is the S-matrix theory of a flat space theory, so the result was the same--- the "boundary" ...
6
votes
0answers
108 views

What is the physical interpretation of the automorphism on bounded operators induced by an S matrix?

In a QFT, the S-matrix $S$ is a unitary operator, that fixes the vacuum and commutes with the unitary operators implementing the action of the Poincare group on an appropriate Hilbert space $H$. ...
6
votes
0answers
271 views

Dual Resonance Model: Fermions

I am going through Ramond's 1971 paper Dual Theory for Free Fermions Phys Rev D3 10, 2415 where he first attempts to introduce fermions into the conventional dual resonance model. I get the 'gist' of ...
5
votes
3answers
1k views

Unitarity of S-matrix in QFT

I am a beginner in QFT, and my question is probably very basic. As far as I understand, usually in QFT, in particular in QED, one postulates existence of IN and OUT states. Unitarity of the S-matrix ...
5
votes
2answers
3k views

Why are scattering matrices unitary?

In Griffith's QM book, he introduces scattering matrices as an end-of-the-chapter Problem 2.52. For a Dirac-Delta potential $V(x) = \alpha \delta (x - x_0)$, I've derived the scattering matrix and ...
5
votes
1answer
792 views

Connected and strongly connected Feynman diagrams

Recently I read, that only connected Feynman diagrams give contribution of nonzero values into the scattering amplitude. Why it is so and what is the physical sense of connected diagrams (due to ...
5
votes
2answers
339 views

What is the sense of introducing generating functional to the summands of expansion of S-matrix?

Let's have generating functional $Z(J)$: $$ Z(J) = \langle 0|\hat {T}e^{i \int d^{4}x (L_{Int}(\varphi (x)) + J(x) \varphi (x))}|0 \rangle , \qquad (1) $$ where $J(x)$ is the functional argument ...
5
votes
1answer
1k views

Help with Cutkosky cutting rules for fermions

I know that a cut boson propagator is replaced with the mass shell delta function. But what happens when you cut a fermion propagator? Do you just replace the denominator with a mass shell delta ...
5
votes
1answer
894 views

Why do disconnected diagrams not contribute to the S matrix?

I've read somewhere that disconnected diagrams do not contribute to the S-matrix. I don't see why this is the case. I do know why vacuum bubbles do not contribute: given a generating functional for a ...
5
votes
2answers
436 views

Time-ordered operator in Srednicki

On page 51 Srednicki states, "Note that the operators are in time order...we can insert $T$ without changing anything". This I agree with. But then on the next paragraph he states "The time order ...
5
votes
1answer
108 views

Reality of the action in QFT [duplicate]

Following Ramond, 1.5 Field Theory, it is mentioned that the classical Lagrangian density in (workable for HEP) QFT theories has to be Real, otherwise total probability is not conserved. Can someone ...
5
votes
1answer
246 views

A question about the energy of turning on and off interaction adiabatically in QFT

I read a saying as follows: In a theory with no particles which decay and no bound states, the turning on and off of the interactions merely serves to limit the effective range of forces. In this ...
5
votes
1answer
228 views

S-Matrix and normalization of states

I'm trying to understand what is the S-matrix in QFT. People say that it has to be a unitary matrix, but that I guess will change with a different normalization of the incoming and outgoing states. My ...
5
votes
2answers
316 views

If the S-matrix has symmetry group G, must the fields be representations of G?

If the fields in QFT are representations of the Poincare group (or generally speaking the symmetry group of interest), then I think it's a straight forward consequence that the matrix elements and ...
5
votes
0answers
129 views

Relation between Borchers class and the LSZ formula on S-matrix equivalence

It seems well known that different quantum fields can give rise to the same $S$-matrix. I know of two ways this is described. The first is through the Borchers class of relatively local fields, i.e. ...
5
votes
2answers
442 views

Can scattering amplitudes be simplified with 1PI diagrams?

I have been teaching myself quantum field theory, and need a little help connecting different pieces together. Specifically, I'm rather unsure how to tie in renormalization, functional methods, and ...
4
votes
1answer
259 views

Quantum Field Theory without LSZ, how is it possible?

Most modern texts spend some time deriving the LSZ reduction formula that connects S matrix elements to time ordered field correlation functions. It seems essential, and really helps clear up what you ...
4
votes
1answer
243 views

Free Vacuum vs Interacting Vacuum and Wick's theorem

I'm studying perturbation theory in QFT and I stumbled on a conceptual problem. My understanding of the interplay between LSZ reduction formula and the Gell-Mann & Low perturbation series is ...
4
votes
1answer
181 views

Why does S-matrix unitarity imply the cross section $\sigma$ $\propto$ $\frac {1}{s}$?

I'm currently learning for an oral exam in theoretical physics and as a learning aid protocols of older exams exist. In one protocol the question was asked: Why is the scattering cross section ...
4
votes
1answer
70 views

String total cross sections at asymptotically high energy

I only have a vague understanding of string theory, but a solid understanding of particle physics. At asymptotically high energy (Regge limit), the string cross section is dominated by the exchange ...
4
votes
0answers
98 views

Unitarity of the S-matrix and Feynman Diagrams

There are several questions on the unitarity of the S matrix, but unfortunately non of them answers directly the following question. The S matrix is unitary and that can be proven by the fact that ...
4
votes
0answers
174 views

Scattering, Perturbation and asymptotic states in LSZ reduction formula

I was following Schwarz's book on quantum field theory. There he defines the asymptotic momentum eigenstates $|i\rangle\equiv |k_1 k_2\rangle$ and $|f\rangle\equiv |k_3 k_4\rangle$ in the S-matrix ...
3
votes
3answers
351 views

Naive question about the S-matrix

In quantum field theory, the elements of the S-matrix are defined as the amplitude describing the transition from an initial $n$-particle state (the "in" state) to an final $m$-particle state: ...
3
votes
1answer
104 views

What is meant by open-string tachyon scattering amplitude?

It was said here that Veneziano derived: open-string tachyon scattering amplitude from principles of Regge theory and S-matrix theory and used the Euler beta-function to make all the critical ...
3
votes
2answers
439 views

Lippmann-Schwinger Equation with Outgoing Solutions

I'm reading about Green's functions and how the Lippmann-Schwinger equation eventually leads to the textbook expression for the form of wavefunctions in the far radiation zone after scattering by a ...
3
votes
1answer
165 views

Regarding a small step in the derivation of the LSZ formula

I'd like to prove the LSZ formula, but there is a specific step that is bugging me a lot. I know there are many subtleties in its derivation, but I'm not worrying about this right now: I'm trying to ...
3
votes
2answers
225 views

What are anomalous threshold singularities

In the papers of the 1950s and 1960s, I see reference to anomalous threshold singularities. What are these? Is there a good reference that discusses this subject?
3
votes
2answers
44 views

Momentum conserving delta-function in the transfer matrix of quantum-field-theoretic scattering theory

The $S$-matrix vanishes unless the initial and final states have the same total $4$-momentum, so it is helpful to factor an overall momentum-conserving $\delta$-function: ...