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Questions tagged [perturbation-theory]

Perturbation theory refers to methods for understanding physical systems by treating them as small modifications to exactly solvable systems.

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37
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5answers
6k views

Tree level QFT and classical fields/particles

It is well known that scattering cross-sections computed at tree level correspond to cross-sections in the classical theory. For example the tree level cross-section for electron-electron scattering ...
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6answers
2k views

Why Does Renormalized Perturbation Theory Work?

I've read about renormalization of $\phi^4$ theory, ie. $\mathcal{L}=\frac{1}{2}\partial_\mu\phi\partial^\mu\phi-m^2\phi^2-\frac{\lambda}{4!}\phi^4\,,$ particularly from Ryder's book. But I am ...
26
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3answers
4k views

A pedestrian explanation of Renormalization Groups - from QED to classical field theories

shortly after the invention of quantum electrodynamics, one discovered that the theory had some very bad properties. It took twenty years to discover that certain infinities could be overcome by a ...
24
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1answer
595 views

Aether existance in alternate universe made of Bose-Einstein condensate

I came across an interesting question which was shown to me by my professor, it is as follows: Investigation of an alternative Universe: This Universe contains three spatial and one time ...
23
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2answers
456 views

Can we get full non-perturbative information of interacting system by computing perturbation to all order?

As we know perturbative expansion of interacting QFT or QM is not a convergent series but an asymptotic series which generally is divergent. So we can't get arbitrary precision of an interacting ...
22
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3answers
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Does QED really break down at the Landau pole?

In QED, the fine structure constant $\alpha$ runs upwards in the UV, with a loop calculation (involving a geometric series of the vacuum polarisation diagram) indicating a divergence in $\alpha$ at $\...
22
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2answers
5k views

Self energy, 1PI, and tadpoles

I'm having a hard time reconciling the following discrepancy: Recall that in passing to the effective action via a Legendre transformation, we interpret the effective action $\Gamma[\phi_c]$ to be ...
21
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3answers
7k views

Perturbation theory with degeneracy even after 1st order

Most textbooks on basic quantum mechanics tell you that when your initial Hamiltonian $H_0$ has degenerate states, then before you can do (time independent) perturbation theory with a perturbation ...
21
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1answer
885 views

Asymptoticity of Pertubative Expansion of QFT

It seems to be lore that the perturbative expansion of quantum field theories is generally asymptotic. I have seen two arguments. i)There is the Dyson instability argument as in QED, that is showing ...
19
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2answers
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Why is the second order perturbative correction to the ground state energy always down?

What is the physical/deeper reason for the second order shift of the ground state energy in time independent perturbation theory to be always down? I know that it follows from the formula quite ...
19
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2answers
435 views

Non-integrable Wavefunctions

Suppose first-order perturbation yields a credible correction to the energy, but a correction to the wave function that's not square-integrable. That can happen, I see no reason why it couldn't. ...
18
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5answers
2k views

Can Feynman diagrams be used to represent any perturbation theory?

In Quantum Field Theory and Particle Physics we use Feynman diagrams. But e.g. in Schwartz's textbook and here it is shown that it applies to more general cases like general perturbation theory for ...
18
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1answer
685 views

LSZ reduction vs adiabatic hypothesis in perburbative calculation of interacting fields

As far as I know, there are two ways of constructing the computational rules in perturbative field theory. The first one (in Mandl and Shaw's QFT book) is to pretend in and out states as free states,...
18
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1answer
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The Origins of Instantons from Path Integrals

I know that you can come across non-perturbative effects in QFT, particular when the coupling constant lies outside the radius of convergence of the asympototic perturbation series. From the ...
17
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4answers
1k views

Staying in orbit - but doesn't any perturbation start a positive feedback?

I am not a physicist; I am a software engineer. While trying to fall asleep recently, I started thinking about the following. There are many explanations online of how any object stays in orbit. The ...
17
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2answers
2k views

Quantum Field Theory in position space instead of momentum space?

What are the reasons why we usually treat Quantum Field Theory in momentum space instead of position space? Are the computations (e.g. of Feynman diagrams) generally easier and are there other ...
15
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3answers
325 views

Why don't very high order Feynman diagrams contribute significantly?

In a particle physics lecture I had today it was stated that the magnetic moment, $g$, is not quite equal to 2, and the difference is accounted for by QED. Later it was stated that we can see this ...
15
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1answer
455 views

Why do we care about old-style, counterterm renormalizability?

There are a few different definitions of renormalizability that are standard in quantum field theory textbooks. They're all called the same thing, but I'll make up names to make the distinctions clear....
14
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2answers
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In what sense are loop diagrams quantum corrections?

What's so not-quantum about tree-level diagrams?
14
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2answers
2k views

Divergent Series

Why is it that divergent series make sense? Specifically, by basic calculus a sum such as $1 - 1 + 1 ...$ describes a divergent series (where divergent := non-convergent sequence of partial sums) but,...
12
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2answers
4k views

What does a non-perturbative theory mean?

I'm a science writer and I'm having difficulty understanding what a non-perturbative approach means. I thought I understood what perturbative meant, but in looking for explanations of non-perturbative,...
12
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3answers
2k views

Why do we still use perturbation theory, when we have advanced numerical methods and fast computers?

If my question sounds ignorant or even insulting, I apologise. I may be completely wrong, since I'm not a theoretical physicist. So, I understand why perturbation theory was originally used in ...
12
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1answer
269 views

Limitations in using FLEX as a DMFT solver

When using the fluctuating exchange approximation (FLEX) as a dynamical mean field theory (DMFT) solver, Kotliar, et al. (p. 898) suggest that it is only reliable for when the interaction strength, $U$...
12
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3answers
748 views

How can perturbativity survive renormalization?

The most usual way to renormalize quantum field theories is by re-writing the Lagrangian in terms of physical (finite) parameters plus counter-terms. Take $\lambda \phi^4$ theory for instance: $$ {\...
12
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1answer
477 views

Do the interaction picture fields transform as free fields under boosts?

This post was originally written to ask about transformation properties of fields in the interaction picture of QFT under the Poincare transformations. Arnold Neumaier has pointed out that the ...
12
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1answer
768 views

Question about convergence of Dyson Series. Why Dyson series is in general divergent?

Given operator equation like: $$i{\frac d{dt}}U(t,t_{0}) =V_I(t)U(t,t_{0})\tag{1} $$ The Dyson series solution is \begin{array}{lcl}U(t,t_{0})&=&1-i\int _{{t_{0}}}^{{t}}{dt_{1}V_I(t_{1})}+(-...
12
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2answers
987 views

Small oscillations of heavy string

I'm solving problem in classical field theory and I have some difficulties. I'm trying to study small oscilations of heavy string with fixed points. First of all I wrote down this Lagrangian: $$S=\...
11
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2answers
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Scattering states of Hydrogen atom in non-relativistic perturbation theory

In doing second order time-independent perturbation theory in non-relativistic quantum mechanics one has to calculate the overlap between states $$E^{(2)}_n ~=~ \sum_{m \neq n}\frac{|\langle m | H' |...
11
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2answers
904 views

Why do the counterterms in renormalized $\phi^4$-theory with power two in fields give vertices and not propagators?

I am reading Peskin and Schroeder, chapter ten, and my Lagrangian is $$ \mathcal{L}=\frac{1}{2}(\partial_\mu\phi_r)^2-\frac{1}{2}m^2\phi_r^2-\frac{\lambda}{4!}z^2\phi^4+\frac{1}{2}\delta_Z(\partial_\...
11
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1answer
634 views

Details of Newtonian Prediction for Mercury's Precession

Could anyone point me to a book or outline the methods used to actually calculate the 532 arcseconds per century that Newtonian theory apparently predicts for Mercury's precession. I am completely ...
11
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0answers
478 views

Capturing (perturbatively) non-equilibrium field theory effects using “elementary” methods

I am considering a system of two interacting scalar fields: $\psi$, and $\phi$. The Lagrangian is given by: \begin{equation} \mathcal{L}[\psi]=\frac{1}{2}\partial_\mu\psi\partial^\mu\psi+\frac{1}{2}\...
10
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2answers
640 views

Nuclear physics from perturbative QFT

Is there a renormalizable QFT that can produce a reasonably accurate description of nuclear physics in perturbation theory? Obviously the Standard Model cannot since QCD is strongly coupled at nuclear ...
10
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3answers
621 views

Use my example to explain why loop diagram will not occur in classical equation of motion?

We always say that tree levels are classical but loop diagrams are quantum. Let's talk about a concrete example: $$\mathcal{L}=\partial_a \phi\partial^a \phi-\frac{g}{4}\phi^4+\phi J$$ where $J$ is ...
10
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1answer
2k views

Kramers-Kronig relations for the electron Self-Energy Σ

I'm currently studying an article by Maslov, in particular the first section about higher corrections to Fermi-liquid behavior of interacting electron systems. Unfortunately, I've hit a snag when ...
10
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1answer
273 views

Do systems with level crossings have unstable eigenbases?

It's folklore dating back to von Neumann and Wigner that time-dependent Hamiltonian systems tend not to have level crossings of their energy eigenvalues. However, we can of course consider smoothly ...
10
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2answers
744 views

Peskin's book page 334 proof of $Z_1=Z_2$ to all orders in QED perturbation theory

Peskin in his QFT page 334 argued that $Z_1=Z_2$ to all orders in QED perturbation theory, but I couldn't understand his argument: ... With a generalization of the argument given there (section 7.4 ...
9
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2answers
715 views

Rigorous justification for non-relativistic QM perturbation theory assumptions?

In perturbation theory for non-relativistic quantum mechanics, you begin with a Hamiltonian of the form $$H=H_0+\lambda H'$$ and assume that the perturbed eigenstates and eigenvalues can be written as ...
9
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1answer
267 views

Post-Minkowskian expansion of some quantities in Post-Newtonian theory

I'm studying Post-Newtonian theory on the book "Gravity" by Poisson and Will and I found a few formulas that I can't obtain by myself. I'm pretty sure it must be quite simple, but can't find the right ...
9
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1answer
644 views

How to justify RPA (random phase approximation)?

The Random Phase Approximation (RPA) is a technical method used in field theory to account for interactions when calculating correlation functions. It consists of only keeping a certain class of ...
9
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1answer
1k views

Renormalization group resummation

I'm having trouble in understeanding a mathematical feature of RG, namely how it provides a way to resum the perturbation series and how that's defined mathematically. From a conceptual point of view ...
9
votes
1answer
448 views

Degenerate perturbation theory applied to topological degeneracy?

Consider a quantum system described by a gapped Hamiltonian $H_0$ with degenerate ground states (GS), adding a perturbation term $V$ to $H_0$, then the low-energy physics can be described by an ...
9
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0answers
211 views

Basic questions on the PPN formalism in General Relativity

I'm trying to learn about testing modified gravity using the PPN formalism. I have several textbooks that I am reading through (including Clifford Will's book), and have some basic questions on the ...
8
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4answers
484 views

Perturbation Theory and Thermodynamic Limit

Suppose we have a classical Hamiltonian that can be divided into an “easy” part $H_0$ and a “difficult” part $\Delta H$ that depends on a parameter $g$: \begin{equation} H = H_0 + g \Delta H ~. \end{...
8
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1answer
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Physical Interpretation of Relationship Between Hall Conductivity and Berry Curvature?

Why is the Hall conductivity in a 2D material $$\tag{1} \sigma_{xy}=\frac{e^2}{2\pi h} \int dk_x dk_y F_{xy}(k)$$ where the integral is taken over the Brillouin Zone and $F_{xy}(k)$ is the Berry ...
8
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1answer
1k views

Naive question about time-dependent perturbation theory

In time-dependent perturbation theory where $H=H_0+V$ and $V$ is considered small and has no explicit time dependence, the standard text-book treatment of the leading order probability amplitude for ...
8
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4answers
3k views

How to decide whether one can use perturbation theory in QM?

In QM, it is said that perturbation theory can be used in the case in which the total Hamiltonian is a sum of two parts, one whose exact solution is known and an extra term that contains a small ...
8
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1answer
487 views

Calculating Green's function from Dyson's series without normal ordering

I'm reading the derivation of the QED generating functional on Mandl&Shaw, "Quantum Field Theory" 2nd ed., 12.5.2.. The authors start from the expression (schematically): $$Z[j]=\frac{\langle 0\...
8
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1answer
438 views

How to properly use Perturbation Theory in classical systems?

Context: If we consider a particle in upwards motion near the Earth's surface and acted by a quadratic drag we get the non-linear eom: $$\frac{dv}{dt}=-g-\frac{b}{m}v^2.$$ We can solve it ...
8
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1answer
268 views

Perturbations around backgrounds with no symmetries

It is well-known that in perturbation theory around an FLRW spacetime, one can decompose any perturbation in terms of scalars, divergence-free vectors and a traceless symmetric tensor, known as the ...
8
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3answers
692 views

Is WKB really applicable for the ground state?

It seems that WKB is applicable for a given $E$ if and only if $\hbar$ is sufficiently small. Or in other words, WKB is applicable if and only if the quantum number is large enough. Is this ...