# Questions tagged [gauge-invariance]

Invariance of a physical system (its action) under a continuous group of local transformations underlain by a global symmetry whose group parameters fixed in space-time have now been extended to vary in space-time instead. Use for buildup of the invariance, fixing the gauge, and accounting for the corresponding changes in the functional measure of the system.

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### What, in simplest terms, is gauge invariance?

I am a mathematics student with a hobby interest in physics. This means that I've taken graduate courses in quantum dynamics and general relativity without the bulk of undergraduate physics courses ...
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### Noether's theorem and gauge symmetry

I'm confused about Noether's theorem applied to gauge symmetry. Say we have $$\mathcal L=-\frac14F_{ab}F^{ab}.$$ Then it's invariant under $A_a\rightarrow A_a+\partial_a\Lambda.$ But can I say that ...
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### When can a global symmetry be gauged?

Take a classical field theory described by a local Lagrangian depending on a set of fields and their derivatives. Suppose that the action possesses some global symmetry. What conditions have to be ...
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### How to apply the Faddeev-Popov method to a simple integral

Some time ago I was reviewing my knowledge on QFT and I came across the question of Faddeev-Popov ghosts. At the time I was studying thеse matters, I used the book of Faddeev and Slavnov, but the ...
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### What role does “spontaneously symmetry breaking” played in the “Higgs Mechanism”?

In talking about Higgs mechanism, the first part is always some introduction to the concept of spontaneously symmetry breaking (SSB), some people saying that Higgs mechanism is the results of SSB of ...
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### To which extent is general relativity a gauge theory?

In quantum mechanics, we know that a change of frame -- a gauge transform -- leaves the probability of an outcome measurement invariant (well, the square modulus of the wave-function, i.e. the ...
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### Are there massless bosons at scales above electroweak scale?

Spontaneous electroweak symmetry breaking (i.e. $SU(2)\times U(1)\to U(1)_{em}$ ) is at scale about 100 Gev. So, for Higgs mechanism, gauge bosons $Z$ & $W$ have masses about 100 GeV. But before ...
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### Why does charge conservation due to gauge symmetry only hold on-shell?

While deriving Noether's theorem or the generator(and hence conserved current) for a continuous symmetry, we work modulo the assumption that the field equations hold. Considering the case of gauge ...
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### Why do we seek to preserve gauge symmetries after quantization?

Gauge symmetries do not give rise to conservation laws via Noether's theorem, and they represent redundancies in our description of the system. So why do we want to keep them after quantization? For ...
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### What is a “free” non-Abelian Yang-Mill's theory?

I hope this question will not be closed down as something completely trivial! I did not think about this question till in recent past I came across papers which seemed to write down pretty much ...
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### Why mass terms are forbidden?

I would like to clarify my understanding on why mass terms in Lagrangians of gauge theories are forbidden. It's often repeated that particle masses are forbidden by electroweak symmetry because it is ...
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### Gauge invariance is just a redundancy. Why is massive abelian gauge field renormalizable but massive non-abelian gauge field nonrenormalizable?

For example, Kaku's QFT pp. 214-215: Massive vector theory with non-Abelian group is non-renormalizable. Massive vector Abelian theory is renormalizable. I heard about the following arguments,...
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### Can an observable be invariant under local $U(1)$ but not under global $U(1)$?

Consider a quantum field theory with two fields, a complex scalar field $\phi$ and a $U(1)$ gauge field $A$. Both fields are dynamic fields, not background fields. Suppose that spacetime is ...
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### What is the basis of gauge theory?

I’m learning about gauge concepts. I’ve always had the idea that by looking at a phenomenon from different viewpoints, that symmetries could be derived – in fact, that was what an equal sign signified....
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### Understanding Elitzur's theorem from Polyakov's simple argument?

I was reading through the first chapter of Polyakov's book "Gauge-fields and Strings" and couldn't understand a hand-wavy argument he makes to explain why in systems with discrete gauge-symmetry only ...
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### Diffeomorphism group vs. $GL(4,\mathbb{R})$ in General Relativity

I am quite confused with the groups Diff$(M)$ and $GL(4,\mathbb{R})$ in the context of general relativity. I understand that the symmetries of GR are the transformations that leave the equations ...
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### Uniqueness of Yang-Mills theory

Question: Is there any sense of uniqueness in Yang-Mills gauge field theories? Details: Let's say we are after the most general Lagrangian Quantum Field Theory of (possibly self-interacting) $N$ ...
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### If gauge symmetries are fake, then why do we care if they are anomalous?

My understanding is that gauge symmetries are fake in that they are only redundancies of our description of the system that we put in (either knowingly or unknowingly) see Gauge symmetry is not a ...
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### Gauge fields in Polyakov's treatment of renormalization for nonlinear sigma model

I am deriving the results of renormalization for nonlinear sigma model using Polyakov approach. I am closely following chapter 2 of Polyakov's book--- Gauge fields and strings''. The action for ...
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### Why do we solve the Wess-Zumino consistency condition using the method of descent?

Consider a quantum field theory in $d$ dimensions with a symmetry $G$. For the purpose of this discussion let's say that $d$ is even and $G$ is a compact, connected Lie group. We say that the symmetry ...
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### A question on gauge fixing

As I understand it, a physical theory that has a gauge symmetry is simply one that has redundant degrees of freedom in its description, and as such, is invariant under a continuous group of (in ...
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### Can an Electromagnetic Gauge Transformation be Imaginary?

The Hamiltonian of a non-relativistic charged particle in a magnetic field is $$\hat{H}~=~\frac{1}{2m} \left[\frac{\hbar}{i}\vec\nabla - \frac{q}{c}\vec A\right]^2$$. Under a gauge transformation ...
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### Intuition for gauge parallel transport (Wilson loops)

I'm looking for a geometrical interpretation of the statement that "Wilson loop is a gauge parallel transport". I have seen QFT notes describe U(x,y) as "transporting the gauge transformation", and ...
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### The gauge covariant derivative and its substitution

I was wondering wether it would make a difference (in general) if I were to were introduce the gauge covariant derivative $$D_\mu=\partial_\mu+ieA_\mu$$ In the Lagrangian density and then derive the ...
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### Why does normal ordering violate the Ward identity?

It is well known that normal ordering the Lagrangian eliminates all Feynman diagrams with tadpoles$^{}$. In the case of the photon self-energy in scalar QED, one of the diagrams is, in fact, a ...
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### Definition of gauge freedom in electromagnetism and general relativity

The freedom we have in choosing the vector potential $\vec{A}$ in E&M is referred to as the gauge freedom, whereas in general relativity (GR), we refer to the freedom to choose any coordinate ...
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### Is internal symmetry the same as gauge symmetry?

This is more a terminology question. I have seen that some people differentiate between the two types of symmetry: internal symmetry and gauge symmetry (of a field theory). Is there a difference (in ...
### Why is the gauge potential $A_{\mu}$ in the Lie algebra of the gauge group $G$?
If we have a general gauge group whose action is $$\Phi(x) \rightarrow g(x)\Phi(x),$$ with $g\in G$. Then introducing the gauge covariant derivative  D_{\mu}\Phi(x) = (\partial_{\mu}+A_{\mu})\...