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1)They neglect higher powers of $\Delta \phi$ because this effective action desribes dynamics of the fluctuations $\Delta \phi$ above the background fields $\phi_0$. Namely $\Delta \phi$ is small 2)As you know $$\int d^n r\, e^{-r_i A_{ij}r_j}=\frac {(2\pi)^{n/2}}{(\mbox{det}\, A)^{1/2}},$$ where $A$ is a matrix with positive ...