Questions tagged [path-integral]

Path integral formulation (Due to Feynman) is a major formulation of Quantum Mechanics along with Matrix mechanics (Due to Heisenberg and Pauli), Wave Mechanics (Due to Schrodinger), and Variational Mechanics (Due to Dirac). DO NOT USE THIS TAG for line/contour integrals.

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4
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1answer
155 views

Path integral representation of $\langle q_f t_f|p(t_1)|q_i t_i\rangle $

How do I calculate path integral representation of $\langle q_f t_f|p(t_1)|q_i t_i\rangle $ where $t_i<t_1<t_f$? I am doing this by discretizing, the time intervals and adding a complete set of $...
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1answer
368 views

Path Integrals Page Peskin

Hi this problem relates directly to path integrals but I imagine it is a maths trick that I am missing. One has an expression such as $$\int dx \exp\left[i\frac{(p)^{2}}{2}-iV(\frac{f}{4})\right] $$ ...
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Calculating the the kernel using path integrals for quadratic lagrangians

I am reading Feynman and Hibbs on Path Integrals. In section 3.5, they show that the kernel for a lagrangian of the form $L=a(t)\dot{x}^2+b(t)\dot{x}x+c(t)x^2+d(t)\dot{x}+e(t)x+f(t)$ is $K(b,a)=e^{\...
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1answer
472 views

More on the Feynman Path Integral Formula in Brian Cox' Lecture and its Consequences

This is a continuation of this question about Brian Cox' lecture Night with the Stars. I know the main steps to get from $K(q",q',T)=\sum_{paths}Ae^{iS(q",q',T)/h}$ to $\Delta t > \dfrac{m(\Delta ...
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1answer
584 views

Which is this formula Feynman talks about in the QED book?

I am reading the fantastic QED Feynman book. He talks in chapter 3 about a formula he considers too complicated to be written in the book. I would like to know which formula he talks about, although I ...
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2answers
194 views

$\langle B|A \rangle$ expressed in terms of the Partition Function

Say you have an electron departing from point A and reaching poing B after a time t. According to some helping friend, the Partition Function for that electron going from point A to B can be written ...
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1answer
165 views

Path integral with boundary and bulk terms

I was wondering if their is a general strategy for computing path integrals with a mix of boundary and bulk integral actions. Do people use divergence theorem to convert the action into bulk integrals,...
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1answer
3k views

Why path integral approach may suffer from operator ordering problem?

In Assa Auerbach's book (Ref. 1), he gave an argument saying that in the normal process of path integral, we lose information about ordering of operators by ignoring the discontinuous path. What did ...
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1answer
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Vacuum Wavefunctional

I am having this problem in understanding the vacuum wavefunctional in QFT. Hence this naive question. I mean, if someone say vacuum wavefunctional, I can think of an element like wavefunction as in ...
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4answers
935 views

What's the role of classically forbidden paths in path integral?

I'm interested in how and how much classically-forbidden paths contribute to a path integral? Is there any good reference on the issue? Any discussion in QM or QFT context would be appreciated. EDIT:...
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1answer
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Feynman Path Integral Formula in Brian Cox' “A Night with the Stars” Lecture

The Youtube link keeps breaking, so here is a search on Youtube for Brian Cox' A Night with the Stars lecture. Pause the video on 40.32minutes. What you see he said is called Feynman's Path Integral. ...
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1answer
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Can path integrals be used to understand entanglement?

I like path integrals. I prefer to try to understand quantum phenomena in terms of path integrals rather than Hamiltonian mechanics. However, most of the standard texts on quantum mechanics start from ...
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path integrals: how/why can the phase be identified with the action?

In Peskin & Schroeder, chapter 9 introduces the functional methods. The idea, to recall, is simply to sum over all the possible paths: $U(x_a,x_b;T) = \sum_{\text{all paths}} e^{i . \text{...
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2answers
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Calculating correlation functions of exponentials of fields

In their book Condensed Matter Field Theory, Altland and Simons often use the following formula for calculating thermal expectation values of exponentials of a real field $\theta$: $$ \langle e^{i(\...
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1answer
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Change of variables in path integrals

I need to evaluate a path integral which involves a set of fields $X=\left\{ \psi_i \right\}$: $$ I = \int \prod_i \mathcal{D} \psi_i e^{-S \left[ \left\{ \psi_i \right\} \right] } $$ In order to ...
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Applications of the Feynman-Vernon Influence Functional

I am looking for a reference where the Feynman-Vernon influence functional was defined and used in the context of relativistic quantum field theory. This functional is one method to describe non-...
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1answer
539 views

Instantons and Non Perturbative Amplitudes in Gravity

In perturbative QFT in flat spacetime the perturbation expansion typically does not converge, and estimates of the large order behaviour of perturbative amplitudes reveals ambiguity of the ...
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1answer
971 views

Path integral with zero energy modes

Consider the field integral for the partition function of a free non-relativistic electron in a condensed matter setting, i.e. $$ Z = ∫D\bar\psi D\psi \exp\left(-\sum_{k,ω} \bar\psi_{k,ω} (-iω + \...
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Gaussian Integrals : Functional determinant expressed as a trace

Be $A_{ij}$ a symmetric matrix. Then I can easily write $$ \int \exp\left(-\frac{1}{2}\sum_{i,j}x_i A_{ij} x_j+\sum_{i} B_i x_i\right)\; d^nx= \sqrt{(2\pi)^n}\exp\left\{-\frac{1}{2}\mathrm{Tr}\log A\...
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Quantum mechanics textbooks that use path integrals

I'm looking for a textbook in quantum mechanics that relies heavily on Green functions and the path integral formalism to supplement my QM books. I want to do some calculations using alternative ...
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2answers
6k views

When can I use Wick's theorem?

Wick's theorem means that for fermions, a four point correlation function (for example) can be written in terms of two point correlation functions: \begin{equation} \langle b_l^\dagger b_l b_m^\...
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1answer
760 views

Relation between Dirac's generalized Hamiltonian dynamics method and path integral method to deal with constraints

What is the relation between path integral methods for dealing with constraints (constrained Hamiltonian dynamics involving non-singular Lagrangian) and Dirac's method of dealing with such systems (...
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1answer
486 views

Importance of phase in probability amplitude in QFT

I have started teaching myself QFT from the textbook by A. Zee. From reading that book, my idea of a path integral in field theory is the probability amplitude to go from a given field configuration ...
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1answer
363 views

classical dynamics on group manifold SU(2)

I am trying to understand how to formulate classical dynamics on group manifold SU(2). This will be an exercise for me to the more advanced subject of path integral on group manifold. Does someone ...
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2answers
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Free Particle Propagator Using Path Integrals

I'm trying to recreate some work that a professor explained to me in his office, specifically deriving the free particle propagator going from $(y,0)$ to $(x,T)$ using the Feynman Path Integral. I'm ...
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883 views

Surface terms for field path integrals?

My question relates to something that I´ve seen in many books and appears in all its glory here: Ryder, pg 198 My question is about eq. 6.74. Which I repeat below: $$i \int {\cal D}\phi \frac{\delta ...
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1answer
505 views

Why can't the functional integral be derived in a mathematically rigorous way?

Why can't the functional integral be derived in a mathematically rigorous way? What are the obstacles that we have to overcome in order to achieve that goal?
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4answers
587 views

How can there be a quantum field theory that predicts all particle masses?

Say I have a theory with only one (energy) scale, e.g. one given by the fundamental constants $$\epsilon=\sqrt{\dfrac{\hbar c^5}{G}}.$$ In this case, where I can't compare to something else, is there ...
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1answer
900 views

Does the vacuum energy problem of quantum field theory only occur in the Hamiltonian approach, or also in the path integral approach and in AQFT?

In a standard QFT class, you're being indoctrinated that there is the "infinite vacuum energy density problem". (This is sometimes paraphrased as the "cosmological constant problem", which is in my ...
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2answers
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Discrete version of Feynman path integrals

I've decided to put a very limited amount of my time into understanding the path integral formulation of quantum mechanics. I'm interested in the mathematical formalism more than the physics, so I'd ...
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1answer
446 views

Have the correlation functions of the XY spin chain model been calculated using a functional partition function with source terms?

Have the correlation functions of the XY spin chain model, \begin{equation} H=-\sum_l (J_x \sigma_l^x \sigma_{l+1}^x+J_x \sigma_l^y \sigma_{l+1}^y)-B\sum_l \sigma_l^z \end{equation} been calculated ...
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1answer
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Feynman's sum over histories?

The concept requires all possible path's to be mapped out, and any remaining paths not cancelled out represent the most probable path of the object. Considering this: i) If "infinite" paths are ...
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3answers
198 views

Results for the path integral formalism for a system with known start and end configuration?

The path integral provides a method for computing a time evolution by a weighted summing up all possible deviations. Is there such a method for a system, where one not only knows the initial ...
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2answers
333 views

Two paths having the same phase in the path integral approach

In the path integral approach to Quantum Mechanics, can two distinctly different paths of the possible infinite paths have the same phase, i.e can there be a bimodal distribution of the phases ...
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3answers
791 views

How does the quantum path integral relate to the quantization of energy?

So, the quantum path integral is a generalization of the classical principle of least action- but here we know that all paths contribute something finite to the probability density. What confuses me ...
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2answers
558 views

Lagrangians combining terms with 1 and 2 derivatives

How are field theory Langrangians treated when some terms have 2 derivatives but others have only 1? Because the number of derivatives in a Lagrangian term is more easily even than odd, the ...
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0answers
429 views

When can the source term of a partition function be put in?

More specifically, in quantum field theory books, we usually have this: \begin{equation} Z = \int D(\bar{\psi}, \psi) e^{-S + \int_0^\beta d\tau \sum_l [\bar{\eta}_l (\tau) \psi_l (\tau) + \bar{\psi}...
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1answer
841 views

Question about a Limit of Gaussian Integrals and how it relates to Path Integration (if at all)?

I have come across a limit of Gaussian integrals in the literature and am wondering if this is a well known result. The background for this problem comes from the composition of Brownian motion and ...
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Wheeler-Feynman theory, QED without fields, vacuum polarization

Initially Wheeler and Feynman postulated that, the electromagnetic field is just a set of bookkeeping variables required in a Hamiltonian description. This is very neat because makes the point of ...

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