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Questions tagged [quantum-field-theory]

Quantum Field Theory (QFT) is the theoretical framework describing the quantisation of classical fields which allows a Lorentz-invariant formulation of quantum mechanics. QFT is used both in high energy physics as well as condensed matter physics and closely related to statistical field theory. Use this tag for many-body quantum-mechanical problems and the theory of [tag:particle-physics]. Don’t combine with [tag:quantum-mechanics].

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Why do we not have spin greater than 2?

It is commonly asserted that no consistent, interacting quantum field theory can be constructed with fields that have spin greater than 2 (possibly with some allusion to renormalization). I've also ...
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5answers
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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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Superfields and the Inconsistency of regularization by dimensional reduction

Question: How can you show the inconsistency of regularization by dimensional reduction in the $\mathcal{N}=1$ superfield approach (without reducing to components)? Background and some references: ...
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What is the actual significance of the amplituhedron?

The news that physicists have discovered a geometrical object that simplifies a lot our models of quantum physics has recently became viral. For an outsider like me, it is difficult to actually ...
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Does the $\frac{4}{3}$ problem of classical electromagnetism remain in quantum mechanics?

In Volume II Chapter $28$ of the Feymann Lectures on Physics, Feynman discusses the infamous $\frac43$ problem of classical electromagnetism. Suppose you have a charged particle of radius $a$ and ...
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Is anti-matter matter going backwards in time?

Some sources describe antimatter as just like normal matter, but "going backwards in time". What does that really mean? Is that a good analogy in general, and can it be made mathematically precise? ...
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11answers
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Quantum Field Theory from a mathematical point of view

I'm a student of mathematics with not much background in physics. I'm interested in learning Quantum field theory from a mathematical point of view. Are there any good books or other reference ...
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Is there a symmetry associated to the conservation of information?

Conservation of information seems to be a deep physical principle. For instance, Unitarity is a key concept in Quantum Mechanics and Quantum Field Theory. We may wonder if there is an underlying ...
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What is more fundamental, fields or particles?

My confusion about quantum theory is twofold: I lack an adequate understanding of how the mathematics of quantum theory is supposed to correspond to phenomena in the physical world I still have an ...
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Classical and quantum anomalies

I have read about anomalies in different contexts and ways. I would like to read an explanation that unified all these statements or points of view: Anomalies are due to the fact that quantum field ...
53
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10answers
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Is the wave-particle duality a real duality?

I often hear about the wave-particle duality, and how particles exhibit properties of both particles and waves. However, I wonder, is this actually a duality? At the most fundamental level, we 'know' ...
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Why isn't Higgs coupling considered a fifth fundamental force?

When I first learned about the four fundamental forces of nature, I assumed that they were just the only four kind of interactions there were. But after learning a little field theory, there are many ...
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Scattering of light by light: experimental status

Scattering of light by light does not occur in the solutions of Maxwell's equations (since they are linear and EM waves obey superposition), but it is a prediction of QED (the most significant Feynman ...
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How exact is the analogy between statistical mechanics and quantum field theory?

Famously, the path integral of quantum field theory is related to the partition function of statistical mechanics via a Wick rotation and there is therefore a formal analogy between the two. I have a ...
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Symmetries of the Standard Model: exact, anomalous, spontaneously broken

There are a number of possible symmetries in fundamental physics, such as: Lorentz invariance (or actually, Poincaré invariance, which can itself be broken down into translation invariance and ...
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How do I construct the $SU(2)$ representation of the Lorentz Group using $SU(2)\times SU(2)\sim SO(3,1)$ ?

This question is based on problem II.3.1 in Anthony Zee's book Quantum Field Theory in a Nutshell Show, by explicit calculation, that $(1/2,1/2)$ is the Lorentz Vector. I see that the ...
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Why do we expect our theories to be independent of cutoffs?

Final edit: I think I pretty much understand now (touch wood)! But there's one thing I don't get. What's the physical reason for expecting the correlation functions to be independent of the cutoff? I....
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Rigor in quantum field theory

Quantum field theory is a broad subject and has the reputation of using methods which are mathematically desiring. For example working with and subtracting infinities or the use of path integrals, ...
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What exactly is regularization in QFT?

The question. Does there exist a mathematicaly precise, commonly accepted definition of the term "regularization procedure" in perturbative quantum field theory? If so, what is it? Motivation and ...
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A No-Nonsense Introduction to Quantum Field Theory

I found Sean Carroll's "A No Nonsense Introduction to General Relativity" (about page here. pdf here), a 24-page overview of the topic, very helpful for beginning study. It all got me over the hump ...
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Can the photoelectric effect be explained without photons?

Lamb 1969 states, A misconception which most physicists acquire in their formative years is that the photoelectric effect requires the quantization of the electromagnetic field for its explanation. ...
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What is a complete book for introductory quantum field theory?

There's a fairly standard two or three-semester curriculum for introductory quantum field theory, which covers topics such as: classical field theory background canonical quantization, path integrals ...
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Is a “third quantization” possible?

Classical mechanics: $t\mapsto \vec x(t)$, the world is described by particle trajectories $\vec x(t)$ or $x^\mu(\lambda)$, i.e. the Hilbert vector is the particle coordinate function $\vec x$ (or $x^\...
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3answers
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Why treat complex scalar field and its complex conjugate as two different fields?

I am new to QFT, so I may have some of the terminology incorrect. Many QFT books provide an example of deriving equations of motion for various free theories. One example is for a complex scalar ...
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Why are relativistic quantum field theories so much more restrictive than non-relativistic ones?

Part of the reason that relativistic QFT is so hard to learn is that there are piles of 'no-go theorems' that rule out simple physical examples and physical intuition. A very common answer to the ...
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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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Why not use the Lagrangian, instead of the Hamiltonian, in nonrelativistic QM?

Undergraduate classical mechanics introduces both Lagrangians and Hamiltonians, while undergrad quantum mechanics seems to only use the Hamiltonian. But particle physics, and more generally quantum ...
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Haag's theorem and practical QFT computations

There exists this famous Haag's theorem which basically states that the interaction picture in QFT cannot exist. Yet, everyone uses it to calculate almost everything in QFT and it works beautifully. ...
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Do photons truly exist in a physical sense or are they just a useful concept like $i = \sqrt{-1}$? [closed]

Reading about photons I hear different explanations like "elementary particle", "probability cloud", "energy quanta" and so forth. Since probably no one has ever seen a photon (if "seen" it supposedly ...
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14answers
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Suggested reading for renormalization (not only in QFT)

What papers/books/reviews can you suggest to learn what Renormalization "really" is? Standard QFT textbooks are usually computation-heavy and provide little physical insight in this regard - after my ...
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5answers
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Why do many people say that virtual particles do not conserve energy?

I've seen this claim made all over the Internet. It's on Wikipedia. It's in John Baez's FAQ on virtual particles, it's in many popular books. I've even seen it mentioned offhand in academic papers. ...
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What equation describes the wavefunction of a single photon?

The Schrödinger equation describes the quantum mechanics of a single massive non-relativistic particle. The Dirac equation governs a single massive relativistic spin-½ particle. The photon is a ...
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What are the various physical mechanisms for energy transfer to the photon during blackbody emission?

By conservation of energy, the solid is left in a lower energy state following emission of a photon. Clearly absorption and emission balance at thermal equilibrium, however, thermodynamic equilibrium ...
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Why fermions have a first order (Dirac) equation and bosons a second order one?

Is there a deep reason for a fermion to have a first order equation in the derivative while the bosons have a second order one? Does this imply deep theoretical differences (like space phase dimesion ...
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What is the relationship between different types of quantum field theories?

As far as I know, all known quantum field theories have the same very broad structure: one gives some finite list of data in order to specify a particular QFT, then one uses some formalism to ...
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3answers
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Are W & Z bosons virtual or not?

W and Z bosons are observed/discovered. But as force carrying bosons they should be virtual particles, unobservable? And also they require to have mass, but if they are virtual they may be off-shell, ...
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Good reading on the Keldysh formalism

I'd like some suggestions for good reading materials on the Keldysh formalism in the condensed matter physics community. I'm familiar with the imaginary time, coherent state, and path integral ...
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3answers
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How general is the Lagrangian quantization approach to field theory?

It is an usual practice that any quantum field theory starts with a suitable Lagrangian density. It has been proved enormously successful. I understand, it automatically ensures valuable symmetries of ...
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Formalizing Quantum Field Theory [duplicate]

I'm wondering about current efforts to provide mathematical foundations and more solid definition for quantum field theories. I am aware of such efforts in the context of the simpler topological or ...
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What physical evidence is there that subatomic particles pop in and out of existence?

What physical evidence shows that subatomic particles pop in and out of existence?
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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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Are there fields corresponding to the composite particles (e.g. hydrogen atom field)?

In classical physics, particles and fields are completely different stuff. However, when a field is quantized, the particles appear as its excitations (e.g. photon appears as a field excitation in the ...
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Is there a theorem that says that QFT reduces to QM in a suitable limit? A theorem similar to Ehrenfest's theorem?

Is there a theorem that says that QFT reduces to QM in a suitable limit? Of course, it should be, as QFT is relativisitc quantum mechanics. But, is there a more manifest one? such as Ehrenfest's ...
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2answers
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How does the Higgs mechanism work?

I'm not a particle physicist, but I did manage to get through the Feynman lectures without getting too lost. Is there a way to explain how the Higgs field works, in a way that people like me might ...
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$\operatorname{O}(N)$ sigma model at large $N$

I would like to better understand the main principles of large-$N$ expansion in quantum field theory. To this end I decided to consider simple toy-model with lagrangian (from Wikipedia) $ \mathcal{L} ...
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What are quantum fields mathematically?

I'm confused as to how quantum fields are defined mathematically, and I've seen from questions on this site and Wikipedia articles that classical fields are just functions that output a field value ...
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1answer
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What does it mean to say that “the fundamental forces of nature were unified”?

It is said that immediately after the Big Bang, the fundamental forces of nature were unified. It is also said that later they decoupled, becoming separate forces. Indeed, if we look at the list of ...
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3answers
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Would a spin-2 particle necessarily have to be a graviton?

I'm reading often that a possible reason to explain why the Nobel committee is coping out from making the physics Nobel related to the higgs could be among other things the fact that the spin of the ...
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Online QFT video lectures

I'm aware of Sidney Coleman's 1975/76 sequence of 54 lectures on Quantum Field Theory. Are there any other high-quality QFT lecture series available online?
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Why is there no theta-angle (topological term) for the weak interactions?

Why is there no analog for $\Theta_\text{QCD}$ for the weak interaction? Is this topological term generated? If not, why not? Is this related to the fact that $SU(2)_L$ is broken?