What's so not-quantum about tree-level diagrams?

  • $\begingroup$ From the tag of the question, you are already assuming "FIELD" theory, are you? So the queston is how classical the fields are? $\endgroup$ – user135 Dec 18 '11 at 16:34

The reasons were given here. Essentially, at tree level you recover classical results. Loop corrections are proportional to powers of $\hbar$ and these are quantum terms.

  • $\begingroup$ It is a bit more obscure for particles with spin, because then the classical result has still an $\hbar$. $\endgroup$ – user135 Dec 18 '11 at 16:33
  • $\begingroup$ That is right, but classically spin does not exist and so, the result is consistent. $\endgroup$ – Jon Dec 18 '11 at 17:29
  • $\begingroup$ Dead link in the answer. $\endgroup$ – Xan Dec 19 '16 at 17:38

Tree level diagrams are one-particle relativistic quantum mechanics, but not quantum field theories.

The point is obscured by two reasonable details in modern QFT books: they avoid to speak of "2nd quantisation", and they set h=1 everywhere (so for instance it is not so clear how different the h->0 limit is for fermions than for scalar fields, or how bosons can add to build a classical electromagnetic field but fermions can not). It is expected that you go across a relativistic quantum mechanics textbook before jumping to QFT, but sometimes the career path is different.

  • $\begingroup$ There are relativistic quantum mechanics textbooks that are not quantum field theory texts? $\endgroup$ – Arun Nanduri Dec 20 '11 at 18:29

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