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36
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4answers
1k views

How exact is the analogy between statistical mechanics and quantum field theory?

Famously, the path integral of quantum field theory is related to the partition function of statistical mechanics via a Wick rotation and there is therefore a formal analogy between the two. I have a ...
17
votes
5answers
10k views

The meaning of imaginary time

What is imaginary (or complex) time? I was reading about Hawking's wave function of the universe and this topic came up. If imaginary mass and similar imaginary quantities do not make sense in ...
16
votes
4answers
561 views

What is a simple intuitive way to see the relation between imaginary time (periodic) and temperature relation?

I guess I never had a proper physical intuition on, for example, the "KMS condition". I have an undergraduate student who studies calculation of Hawking temperature using the Euclidean path integral ...
14
votes
1answer
1k views

Euclidean derivation of the black hole temperature; conical singularities

I am studying the derivation of the black hole temperature by means of the Euclidean approach, i.e. by Wick rotating, compactifying the Euclidean time and identifying the period with the inverse ...
13
votes
1answer
680 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; ...
10
votes
5answers
1k views

Minkowski Metric Signature

When I learned about the Minkowski Space and it's coordinates, it was explained such that the metric turns out to be $$ ds^{2} = -(cdx^{0})^{2} +(dx^{1})^{2} + (dx^{2})^{2} + (dx^{3})^{2} $$ where $ ...
10
votes
1answer
547 views

Subtlety of analytic continuation - Euclidean / Minkowski path integral

I subconsciously feel not fully comfortable about Wick rotating or analytic continuation from Euclidean to Minkowski space. I simply wonder whether there is any subtlety here, and when we need to be ...
10
votes
1answer
147 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 ...
8
votes
2answers
260 views

The poles of Feynman propagator in position space

This question maybe related to Feynman Propagator in Position Space through Schwinger Parameter. The Feynman propagator is defined as: $$ G_F(x,y) = \lim_{\epsilon \to 0} \frac{1}{(2 \pi)^4} \int d^4p ...
7
votes
3answers
793 views

Does Wick rotation work for quantum gravity?

Does Wick rotation work for quantum gravity? The Euclidean Einstein-Hilbert action isn't bounded from below.
7
votes
3answers
628 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
2answers
3k views

What is imaginary time? [duplicate]

I am not professional physicist; but I am curious about Stephen Hawking's "imaginary time". It would be better to elaborate exactly what it is. I am not confused because of the word "imaginary" but I ...
7
votes
3answers
566 views

Solving Quantum Tunnelling Without Wick Rotation

Edit It seems that I haven't written my question clearly enough, so I will try to develop more using the example of quantum tunnelling. As a disclaimer, I want to state that my question is not about ...
7
votes
3answers
911 views

Relation between statistical mechanics and quantum field theory

I was talking with a friend of mine, he is a student of theoretical particle physics, and he told me that lots of his topics have their foundations in statistical mechanics. However I thought that the ...
7
votes
2answers
590 views

Diifference between real time propagation and imaginary time propagation?

Suppose I want to solve Nonlinear Schrodinger equation using imaginary time propagation to get the ground state solution. I choose $t = - i t$, and then solve the equation using split step Crank ...
7
votes
0answers
113 views

Conditions permitting rotation to imaginary time

I often see that action is written with a Euclidean metric instead of the original Minkowski metric. My question is basically this : Under what conditions is okay to make a wick rotation? I am ...
6
votes
2answers
851 views

Wick rotation in field theory - rigorous justification?

What is the rigorous justification of Wick rotation in QFT? I'm aware that it is very useful when calculating loop integrals and one can very easily justify it there. However, I haven't seen a ...
6
votes
3answers
215 views

Special relativity and imaginary coefficient of the time coordinate

I read somewhere that part of Minkowski's inspiration for his formulation of Minkowski space was Poincare's observation that time could be understood as a fourth spatial dimension with an imaginary ...
6
votes
1answer
376 views

How to Perform Wick Rotation in the Lagrangian of a Gauge Theory (like QCD)?

I'm studying Lattice QCD and got stuck in understanding the process of going from a Minkwoski space-time to an Euclidean space-time. My procedure is the following: I considered the Wick rotation in ...
6
votes
2answers
144 views

Yang-Mills existence and mass gap

In the Clay institute problem description of the Yang-Mills existence and mass gap problem it states that the quantum Yang Mills needs to be formulated in $\mathbb{R}^4$ space. I was wondering whether ...
6
votes
1answer
150 views

Srednicki's book chapter 8

Reading first page in chapter 8 of Srednicki's it reads: To employ the $\epsilon$ trick, we multiply $H_0$ with $1-i\epsilon$. The results are equivalent to replacing $m^2$ with $m^2-i\epsilon$. ...
6
votes
1answer
562 views

Wick rotation and the arrow of time

It is well known that we can switch from a statistical system to a quantum mechanical system by a Wick rotation. Has this rotation some implication on the way the time flow? namely, this is an ...
5
votes
1answer
197 views

Problem understanding sign of volume integral in Minkowski space

My professor told me that a 4-dimensional Minkowski - Space Integral I was working on can be written as the product of a metric tensor and a scalar: $\int d^4 k \frac{k^\mu ...
5
votes
2answers
293 views

Imaginary time in QFT

I'm reading chapter 4 of Introduction to Quantum Field Theory by Peskin & Schroeder. In the $\phi^4$ theory, the authors state that the ground state of the interaction theory $|\Omega\rangle$ can ...
5
votes
1answer
757 views

Analytic continuation of imaginary time Greens function in the time domain

Consider the imaginary time Greens function of a fermion field $\Psi(x,τ)$ at zero temperature $$ G^τ = -\langle \theta(τ)\Psi(x,τ)\Psi^\dagger(0,0) - \theta(-τ)\Psi^\dagger(0,0)\Psi(x,τ) \rangle $$ ...
5
votes
1answer
200 views

Black hole temperature in an asymptotically de Sitter spacetime

I am trying to calculate the Hawking temperature of a Schwarzschild black hole in a spacetime which is asymptotically dS. Ignoring the 2-sphere, the metric is given by ...
5
votes
0answers
376 views

Time Reversal, CPT, spin-statistics, mass gap and chirality of Euclidean fermion field theory

In Minkowski space even-dim (say $d+1$ D) spacetime dimension, we can write fermion-field theory as the Lagrangian: $$ \mathcal{L}=\bar{\psi} (i\not \partial-m)\psi+ \bar{\psi} \phi_1 \psi+\bar{\psi} ...
4
votes
1answer
112 views

Evolution of harmonic oscillator in path integral formulation

The unnormalized ground state of the harmonic oscillator (choosing units such that $m = \hbar = \omega = 1)$ is $$\tag{1}\psi(q,t) = \exp(-q^2/2-it/2).$$ The transition function is ...
4
votes
1answer
259 views

From Minkowski to Euclidean Time in Path Integrals

I'm trying to prove the following equality: $$ <x_{f},\, it_{f}|x_{i},\, it_{i}>=\mathcal{N}\int_{\left\{ x\in\mathbb{R}^{\mathbb{R}}:\, x\left(t_{f}\right)=x_{f}\wedge ...
4
votes
1answer
122 views

Can we obtain non-Lorentzian metric from Lorentzian metric, through renormalization methods?

Since low-energy, non-relativistic thermal field theories are defined in Euclidean spacetime, while high-energy relativistic theories are define in Minkowski spacetime, I was wondering if there are ...
4
votes
1answer
231 views

Wick Rotation in Curved space

So over time I have learned to do exhaustive searches before asking things here. Wick rotations are cool if you are trying to work in qft and make statements about the thermodynamics of some physical ...
4
votes
1answer
201 views

About the gauge formalism in statistical quantum field theory

I would like to understand a bit more the aspects of the gauge theory in statistical field theory. In particular, I would like to understand how the replacement $\tau \rightarrow it/\hbar$ is ...
4
votes
1answer
1k views

How does the Feynman's $i\epsilon$-prescription make the Feynman propagator causal?

The Feynman propagator is non-vanishing outside the light cone, but still manages to be in accord with causality. How is this achieved? What does the $i\epsilon$-prescription have to do with this?
4
votes
1answer
193 views

Hermitian conjugation in Radial Quantization

I'm a little confused about Hermitian conjugation in a radially quantized CFT. Now, in the Minkowski theory, Hermitian conjugation leaves the coordinates invariant, i.e. $t^\dagger = t$ and $x^\dagger ...
4
votes
3answers
499 views

Can a Wick rotation be performed on the Pauli algebra to get from $+++$ to $+--$ signature?

Wick rotation makes sense for the Dirac algebra: it has $+---$ and $++++$ and $----$ signatures. Just wondering if one can Wick rotate the Pauli algebra from the standard $+++$ Pauli matrices to ...
4
votes
1answer
148 views

Imaginary time is to inverse temperature what imaginary entropy is to …?

The Wick-Rotation rotates imaginary time into inverse temperature (as can be seen from its "rotating" the Schrödinger equation into the heat equation). Now since entropy is temperature's conjugate, I ...
4
votes
0answers
213 views

Time Reversal in Euclidean Spacetime - unitary or antiunitary?

(pre-request) We know that time reversal operator $T$ is an anti-unitary operator in Minkowsi Spacetime. i.e. $$ T z=z^*T $$ where the complex number $z$ becomes its complex conjugate. See, for ...
3
votes
2answers
222 views

Transition amplitudes by functional methods in QFT

I am following section 9.2 in Peskin and Schroeder in which the Feynman rules are derived for scalar fields. They define (in eqn (9.14), page 282) the transition amplitude from $\vert\phi_a\rangle$ ...
3
votes
1answer
215 views

Volume element $\mathrm{d}^4k =\mathrm{d}k^0 \,|\mathbf{k}|^2\,\mathrm{d}|\mathbf{k}| \,\mathrm{d}(\cos\theta) \,\mathrm{d}\phi$ in Minkowski space?

Suppose we have an integral $$\int \mathrm{d}^4k \,\ f(k)$$ we want to evaluate and that we're in Minkowski space with some metric $(+,-,-,-)$. Is it true that: $$\mathrm{d}^4k = \mathrm{d}k^0\ ...
3
votes
2answers
705 views

Can I use imaginary time propagation for many-body problems?

There are various ways to numerically find the ground state energy and wavefunction of a many-body Hamiltonian. You can diagonalize the Hamiltonian and pick out the lowest eigenstate, or you use ...
3
votes
1answer
252 views

Amplitude $\langle0|e^{-iHT}|0\rangle$ in A. Zee's QFT In A Nutshell

In his Quantum Field Theory In a Nutshell, in page 12, (Second Ed), A Zee says that conventionally, the amplitude $\langle0|e^{-iHT}|0\rangle$ is denoted by $Z$. In the next paragraph, he considers ...
3
votes
1answer
156 views

Why use a particular regularization for $\int_0^\infty \mathrm{d}x\,e^{i p x}$?

There are many badly defined integrals in physics. I want to discuss one of them which I see very often. $$\int_0^\infty \mathrm{d}x\,e^{i p x}$$ I have seen this integral in many physical problems. ...
3
votes
1answer
355 views

Wick Rotation, interpretation of $\bar{p}^2$ vs the usual $p^2=m^2$

Suppose we use the metric $(+,-,-,-)$ thus the momentum squared is $p^2 = p_0^2-\vec{p}^2 = m^2>0$ Defining $p_E:=\mathrm{i}\cdot p_0$ and $\bar{p}:=(\,p_E,\vec{p})$ with Euclidean norm ...
3
votes
1answer
72 views

Why is the value of the action integral in general relativity the same on all regions that are homologous?

In their famous paper Action integrals and partition functions in quantum gravity, Gibbons and Hawking argue that in order to avoid the singularity of a Schwarzschild black hole you can complexify ...
3
votes
0answers
133 views

Why is imaginary time “outdated”? [closed]

I was looking at reviews for Sakurai's Quantum Mechanics textbook, and some mentioned it being outdated, specifically mentioning his use of imaginary time. Is this idea deliberately avoided in modern ...
3
votes
0answers
184 views

Moments of a Distribution via Laplace Transforms and Wick Rotations [closed]

On a mathematical level, the statistical mechanical partition function is just a Laplace transform of the microcanonical probability distribution, i.e. it's moment generating function. Understanding ...
3
votes
0answers
95 views

Intuition behind the notion of reflection positivity

I came across Yuji's question. I'm finding it difficult to parse the meaning behind what's said on Wikipedia. Could someone give an explanation of the concept involved? I would also appreciate ...
2
votes
3answers
165 views

Root of $i$, which one to take?

The propagator of a free particle in 1d is $$ K(x_b, t_b; x_a, t_a ) = \sqrt{\frac{m}{2\pi i \hbar (t_b-t_a)}} \exp \left [ \frac{i m (x_b-x_a)^2}{2 \hbar (t_b-t_a)} \quad \right ] .$$ It looks ...
2
votes
2answers
157 views

Does Schrödinger equation have dual-property with Heat equation?

I have experimental data that Schödinger equation maintains high frequencies, while heat equation low. Does Schrödinger equation have some duality property with heat equation?
2
votes
1answer
420 views

Path integral & Gaussian integration

The following is from Ref. 1. Given the (Euclidean) action for a particle ($q$) coupled to a bath of harmonic oscillators $q_\alpha$. Goal is to find an effective action for the particle, e.g ...