Problem understanding the symmetry factor in a feynman diagram - Physics Stack Exchange most recent 30 from physics.stackexchange.com 2019-09-18T09:45:10Z https://physics.stackexchange.com/feeds/question/179574 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/rdf https://physics.stackexchange.com/q/179574 18 Problem understanding the symmetry factor in a feynman diagram Yossarian https://physics.stackexchange.com/users/27384 2015-05-02T03:15:37Z 2015-05-06T14:57:31Z <p>I am trying to understand a $1/2$ in the symmetry factor of the "cactus" diagram that appears in the bottom of page 92 In Peskin's book. This is the diagram in question (notice that we are in $\phi^4$ theory) <img src="https://i.stack.imgur.com/7g56P.png" alt="enter image description here"></p> <p>In the book it is claimed that the symmetry factor of the diagram is</p> <p>$$3!\times{}4\dot{}3\times{}4\dot{}3\dot{}2\times{}4\dot{}3\times{}1/2$$</p> <p>where it says that the $3!$ comes from interchanging the vertices, the first $4\dot{}3$ from the placement of contractions in the $z$ vertex, the following $4\dot{}3\dot{}2$ from the placement of contractions in the $w$ vertex, the last $4\dot{}3$ from the placement of contractions in the $u$ vertex and the final $1/2$ from the interchange of $w-u$ contractions.</p> <p>It is this last $1/2$ that I don't understand. Can you be more explicit on where this comes from?</p> https://physics.stackexchange.com/questions/179574/-/181081#181081 7 Answer by Abdelmalek Abdesselam for Problem understanding the symmetry factor in a feynman diagram Abdelmalek Abdesselam https://physics.stackexchange.com/users/7266 2015-05-04T18:32:04Z 2015-05-04T18:32:04Z <p>I don't think the explanation in the book is clear, but you can just ignore it and get the correct factor $S=\frac{1}{8}$ as follows.</p> <ol> <li>Start by drawing 5 isolated vertices, two labelled ones with degree one and three unlabelled 4-valent vertices. Then $$S=\frac{1}{3!}\left(\frac{1}{4!}\right)^3\times C$$ where $C$ is the number of contraction schemes that produce the given graph shape. The three vertices play different roles in the graph so one has $3!$ ways of choosing this role assignment (who is the nearest neighbor of $x$ etc.). Then a factor of $4$ for the $z$ leg that $x$ attaches to. Likewise, a factor of $3$ to choose which of the remaining $z$ legs moves on to $w$. Then at $w$ there is a factor of $4\times 3$ to choose the legs which receive the $z$ and $y$ edges. Then a factor of $6$ to pick which pair of legs at $u$ will form the tadpole. Finally there is a factor of $2$ to connect the remaining free legs at $u$ with the two remaining ones at $w$. Thus $C$ is number in your question.</li> <li>Alternatively $S=\frac{1}{|G|}$ where $G$ is the automorphism group of the graph. More precisely, let $E$ be your favorite set with $14$ elements (the half-edges in the picture). Equip $E$ with two set partitions $\mathcal{V}$ and $\mathcal{E}$. The latter is made of $7$ disjoint pairs corresponding to the edges. Whereas $\mathcal{V}$ is made of two singletons and three blocks of four elements. Here $G$ is the group of permutations of $E$ which preserve the set partitions $\mathcal{E}$ and $\mathcal{V}$ and also fix the external legs (which here is automatic because the picture is asymmetric in $x$ and $y$). It is generated by three commuting order $2$ elements. For each tadpole you can permute the corresponding half-legs. Finally there is the exchange of the two edges between $w$ and $u$.</li> </ol> https://physics.stackexchange.com/questions/179574/-/181197#181197 11 Answer by Haz for Problem understanding the symmetry factor in a feynman diagram Haz https://physics.stackexchange.com/users/79368 2015-05-05T10:38:40Z 2015-05-05T14:02:18Z <p>We choose one of the $4$ z-fields to contract with the single x-field. We then choose one of the remaining $3$ z-fields to contract with one of the $4$ w-fields. The remaining two z-fields just contract with themselves. Now choose one of the remaining $3$ w-fields to contract with the single y-field.</p> <p>(Here is where we have to be careful). There are $2$ choices for the w-field contraction with one of the $4$ u-fields, and then $3$ choices for the other w-u contraction. In computing this last combination we have over counted by a factor of $2$.</p> <p>To see this more clearly, consider one of the contractions,</p> <p>$\phi_a(w)\phi_b(w) \quad\phi_a(u)\phi_b(u)\phi(u)\phi(u)$</p> <p>The subscript denote which fields are contracted with which other fields (I'm not sure how to express contractions in Latex).</p> <p>There are two ways to get this particular contraction: we could either choose the <strong>first</strong> w-field to be contracted with the first u-field, and THEN choose the <strong>second</strong> w-field to be contracted with the second u-field; OR we could choose the <strong>second</strong> w-field to be contracted with the second u-field, and THEN choose the <strong>first</strong> w-field to be contracted with the first u-field.</p> <p>Clearly both of these are equivalent. However, in the combinatorics we have counted both of them, and so we must divide by a factor of $2$. So the total number of different contractions giving the same expression as $(4.45)$ is</p> <p>$3! \, \times \, 4 \cdot 3 \, \times \, 4 \cdot 3 \cdot 2 \, \times \, 4 \cdot 3 \, \times \, 1/2$</p> <p>Where the $3!$ comes from the interchange of vertices.</p> <p>EDIT: If that isn't clear, think about the following scenario. There are two boxes, in the first there are two objects, $A$, and $B$, and in the second there are two more, $C$, and $D$. How many <em>different</em> ways are there to pair off the objects so that each object in the first box has a partner in the second box? Clearly the answer is two: $A,C$ and $B,D$; and $A,D$ and $B,C$.</p> <p>One might think the answer is $2\cdot 2$, but we can see that this produces duplicates</p> <p>\begin{array}{|r|r|} \hline First Pair &amp; Remaining Pair \\ \hline A,C &amp; B,D\\ \hline A,D &amp; B,C\\ \hline B,C &amp; A,D\\ \hline B,D &amp; A,C\\ \hline \end{array}</p> <p>So we must multiply by a factor of $1/2$ to fix the overcounting.</p> <p>Hope that helps.</p> https://physics.stackexchange.com/questions/179574/-/182445#182445 2 Answer by Peter Anderson for Problem understanding the symmetry factor in a feynman diagram Peter Anderson https://physics.stackexchange.com/users/58920 2015-05-06T14:57:31Z 2015-05-06T14:57:31Z <p>The 1/2 comes from the symmetry of the diagram. In the sense that if you look away and I switch the two propagators it is a "different" diagram, but you cannot tell. The numbers of ways to do this is 2.</p> <p>If these were directed propagators it would not be the case.</p>