Questions tagged [gauge-theory]

A gauge theory has internal degrees of freedom that do not affect the foretold physical outcomes of the theory. The theory has a Lie group of *continuous symmetries* of these internal degrees of freedom, *i.e.* the predicted physics under any transformation in this group on the degrees of freedom. Examples include the $U(1)$-symmetric quantum electrodynamics and other Yang-Mills theories wherein non-Abelian groups replace the $U(1)$ gauge group of QED.

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133
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5answers
16k views

Gauge symmetry is not a symmetry?

I have read before in one of Seiberg's articles something like, that gauge symmetry is not a symmetry but a redundancy in our description, by introducing fake degrees of freedom to facilitate ...
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On the Coulomb branch of ${\cal N}=2$ supersymmetric gauge theory

The chiral ring of the Coulomb branch of a 4D ${\cal N}=2$ supersymmetric gauge theory is given by the Casimirs of the vector multiplet scalars, and they don't have non-trivial relations; the Casimirs ...
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Systematic approach to deriving equations of collective field theory to any order

The collective field theory (see nLab for a list of main historical references) which came up as a generalization of the Bohm-Pines method in treating plasma oscillations are often used in the study ...
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What, to a physicist, are instantons and the Donaldson invariants?

I study gauge theory from a mathematical perspective. To me, one of the most fundamental ideas is the notion of an instanton on a 4-manifold. To be precise, I have a Riemannian 4-manifold and a ...
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Large and small gauge transformations?

I've a questions about the difference between small and large gauge transformations (a small gauge transformation tends to the identity at spatial infinity, whereas the large transformations don't). ...
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Is there a T-dual of Witten's twistor topological string theory?

In late 2003, Edward Witten released a paper that revived the interest in Roger Penrose's twistors among particle physicists. The scattering amplitudes of gluons in $N=4$ gauge theory in four ...
27
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How does the Super-Kamiokande experiment falsify SU(5)?

In his book "The Trouble With Physics", Lee Smolin writes that he is still stunned by the falsification of the $SU(5)$ Georgi-Glashow model by the null results of proton decay experiments. I should ...
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Is it really proper to say Ward identity is a consequence of gauge invariance?

Many (if not all) of the materials I've read claim Ward identity is a consequence of gauge invariance of the theory, while actually their derivations only make use of current conservation $\partial_\...
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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 is (meant by) a non-compact $U(1)$ Lie group?

In John Preskill's review of monopoles he states on p. 471 Nowadays, we have another way of understanding why electric charge is quantized. Charge is quantized if the electromagnetic $U(l)_{\rm em}$...
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Why am I wrong about how to view gauge theory?

Edit: I know there have been some similar questions but I don't think any had quite articulated my particular confusion. If gauge symmetries are really just redundancies in our description accounting ...
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Does the existence of instantons imply non-trivial cohomology of spacetime?

Gauge theories are considered to live on $G$-principal bundles $P$ over the spacetime $\Sigma$. For convenience, the usual text often either compactify $\Sigma$ or assume it is already compact. An ...
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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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Which exact solutions of the classical Yang-Mills equations are known?

I'm interested in the pure gauge (no matter fields) case on Minkowski spacetime with simple gauge groups. It would be nice if someone can find a review article discussing all such solutions EDIT: I ...
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Diff(M) as a gauge group and local observables in theories with gravity

In a gauge theory like QED a gauge transformation transforms one mathematical representation of a physical system to another mathematical representation of the same system, where the two mathematical ...
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Gravity as a gauge theory

Currently, (classical) gravity (General Relativity) is NOT a gauge theory (at least in the sense of a Yang-Mills theory). Why should "classical" gravity be some (non-trivial or "special" or extended)...
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Why are gauge theories called so?

Why are gauge theories called so? I guessed it was because gauge also means to estimate, so when one is trying to find the gauge theory for such and such interactions one has to estimate what might be ...
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Why is the Yang-Mills gauge group assumed compact and semi-simple?

What is the motivation for including the compactness and semi-simplicity assumptions on the groups that one gauges to obtain Yang-Mills theories? I'd think that these hypotheses lead to physically "...
20
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Does 4D ${\cal N} = 3$ supersymmetry exist?

Steven Weinberg's book "The Quantum Theory of Fields", volume 3, page 46 gives the following argument against ${\cal N} = 3$ supersymmetry: "For global ${\cal N} = 4$ supersymmetry there is just ...
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Hilbert Space of (quantum) Gauge theory

Since quantum Gauge theory is a quantum mechanical theory, whether someone could explain how to construct and write down the Hilbert Space of quantum Gauge theory with spin-S. (Are there something ...
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What is the conclusion from Aharonov-Bohm Effect?

What is the conclusion that we can draw from the Aharonov-Bohm effect? Does it simply suggest that the vector potential has measurable effects? Does it mean that it is a real observable in quantum ...
20
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Models of higher Chern-Simons type

It has long been clear that (the action functional of) Chern-Simons theory has various higher analogs and variations of interest. This includes of course traditional higher dimensional Chern-Simons ...
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Gauge redundancies and global symmetries [closed]

It is often said that local (gauge) transformation is only redundancy of description of spin one massless particles, to make the number degrees of freedom from three to two. It is often said that ...
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Why do we use potential for quantizing the electromagnetic field?

For quantizing the electromagnetic field authors go to its potential and then find themselves facing to the problems of degree of freedom from gauge transformation. Why we can't simply quantize ...
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Gauge fields — why are they traceless hermitian?

A gauge field is introduced in the theory to preserve local gauge invariance. And this field (matrix) is expanded in terms of the generators, which is possible because the gauge field is traceless ...
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Topological twists of SUSY gauge theory

Consider $N=4$ super-symmetric gauge theory in 4 dimensions with gauge group $G$. As is explained in the beginning of the paper of Kapustin and Witten on geometric Langlands, this theory has 3 ...
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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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Normalization of the Chern-Simons level in $SO(N)$ gauge theory

In a 3d SU(N) gauge theory with action $\frac{k}{4\pi} \int \mathrm{Tr} (A \wedge dA + \frac{2}{3} A \wedge A \wedge A)$, where the generators are normalized to $\mathrm{Tr}(T^a T^b)=\frac{1}{2}\delta^...
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How do symmetries “define” physical laws?

First of all, I do not have any problems concerning what symmetries are or how to describe them. However, I do not have any knowledge concerning how the reasoning for quantum field theory and thus ...
18
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1answer
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Global Chern-Simons forms and topological gauge theories

I am reading the classic Dijkgraaf and Witten paper on topological gauge theories and something struck me that I didn't understand. For a trivial bundle $E$ on smooth 3-manifold $M$ with compact ...
18
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Faddeev-Popov Gauge-Fixing in Electromagnetism

Reading section 9.4 in Peskin, I am wondering about the following: The functional integral on $A_{\mu}$ diverges for pure-gauge configurations, because for those configurations, the action is zero. ...
18
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Phase Structure of (Quantum) Gauge Theory

Question: How to classify/characterize the phase structure of (quantum) gauge theory? Gauge Theory (say with a gauge group $G_g$) is a powerful quantum field theoretic(QFT) tool to describe many-body ...
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Physical difference between gauge symmetries and global symmetries

There are plenty of well-answered questions on Physics SE about the mathematical differences between gauge symmetries and global symmetries, such as this question. However I would like to understand ...
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argument about fallacy of diff(M) being a gauge group for general relativity

I want to outline a solid argument (or bulletpoints) to show how weak is the idea of diff(M) being the gauge group of general relativity. basically i have these points that in my view are very solid ...
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What is the origin of the factor of $-1/4$ in the Maxwell Lagrangian?

I have seen numerous 'derivations' of the Maxwell Lagrangian, $$\mathcal{L} ~=~ -\frac{1}{4}F_{\mu \nu}F^{\mu \nu},$$ but every one has sneakily inserted a factor of $-1/4$ without explaining why. ...
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Electromagnetic Field as a Connection in a Vector Bundle

I would like to know more about Ehresmann connections in vector bundles and how they relate to the electromagnetic field and the electron in quantum mechanics. Background: The Schrödinger equation ...
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Why is the “actual” gauge group of the standard model $SU(3) \times SU(2) \times U(1) /N$?

In this paper John Baez says the actual gauge group of the standard model is $SU(3) \times SU(2) \times U(1) /N$. Can someone explain the logic behind this line of thought? Firstly, does this group $...
16
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1answer
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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 does the analogy between electromagnetism and general relativity differ if you consider them as gauge theories or fiber bundles?

Electromagnetism and general relativity can both be thought of as gauge theories, in which case there is a natural analogy between them: (Strictly speaking, the gauge symmetry of diffeomorphism ...
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Global vs. local gauge group in mathematical sense - physics examples?

Upon reading about the principal bundle picture of (quantum) field theory I encountered two different definitions of the gauge group: Local gauge group $G$. Corresponds to the fibers of the $G$-...
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Can we measure an electromagnetic field?

As far as I can check, the Aharonov-Bohm effect is not -- contrary to what is claimed in the historical paper -- a demonstration that the vector potential $A$ has an intrinsic existence in quantum ...
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Why are non-Abelian gauge theories Lorentz invariant quantum mechanically?

I seem to be missing something regarding why Yang-Mills theories are Lorentz invariant quantum mechanically. Start by considering QED. If we just study the physics of a massless $U(1)$ gauge field ...
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Coulomb gauge fixing and “normalizability”

The Setup Let Greek indices be summed over $0,1,\dots, d$ and Latin indices over $1,2,\dots, d$. Consider a vector potential $A_\mu$ on $\mathbb R^{d,1}$ defined to gauge transform as $$ A_\mu\to ...
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Why gauge $SU(N)$ and not $SO(N)$?

When building models people typically gauge $SU(N)$ but rarely try to gauge $SO(N)$ (the only example I know about is $SO(10)$, but even that isn't quite $SO(10)$ but actually its double cover). At ...
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How to determine if an emergent gauge theory is deconfined or not?

2+1D lattice gauge theory can emerge in a spin system through fractionalization. Usually if the gauge structure is broken down to $\mathbb{Z}_N$, it is believed that the fractionalized spinons are ...
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Is there an argument for using the $\theta$-vacuum for a Yang-Mills theory that works regardless of the presence of fermions?

Consider a Yang-Mills theory, possibly including fermions. It has many possible vacua $\{|n\rangle\}$ labelled by integer winding number $n$, defined as the Maurer-Cartan topological invariant: for ...
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Nonlinear optics as gauge theory

the widely used approach to nonlinear optics is a Taylor expansion of the dielectric displacement field $\mathbf{D} = \epsilon_0\cdot\mathbf{E} + \mathbf{P}$ in a Fourier representation of the ...
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realization of: CFT generating fuction = AdS partition function

An important aspect of the AdS/CFT correspondence is the recipe to compute correlation functions of a boundary operator $\mathcal{O} $ in terms of the supergravity fields in the interior of the $AdS_{...
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Gauge fermions versus gauge bosons

Why are all the interactions particle of a gauge theory bosons. Are fermionic gauge particle fields somehow forbidden by the theory ?
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How does non-Abelian gauge symmetry imply the quantization of the corresponding charges?

I read an unjustified treatment in a book, saying that in QED charge an not quantized by the gauge symmetry principle (which totally clear for me: Q the generator of $U(1)$ can be anything in $\mathbb{...