Questions tagged [s-matrix-theory]

The S-matrix (scattering matrix) relates the initial state and the final state of a physical system undergoing a scattering process in quantum mechanics and quantum field theory. It is the unitary matrix connecting asymptotic particle states in the Hilbert space of physical states (scattering channels).

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2answers
21k views

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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What is the physical interpretation of the S-matrix in QFT?

A few closely related questions regarding the physical interpretation of the S-matrix in QFT: I am interested in both heuristic and mathematically precise answers. Given a quantum field theory when ...
17
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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 ...
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2answers
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Scattering, Perturbation and asymptotic states in LSZ reduction formula

I was following Schwarz's book on quantum field theory. There he defines the asymptotic momentum eigenstates $|i\rangle\equiv |k_1 k_2\rangle$ and $|f\rangle\equiv |k_3 k_4\rangle$ in the S-matrix ...
17
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1answer
730 views

Is string theory local?

By locality I mean something like the Atiyah-Segal axioms for Riemannian cobordisms (see e.g. http://ncatlab.org/nlab/show/FQFT). I.e. to any (spacelike) hypersurface in the target we associate a ...
17
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Does the exact string theory $S$-matrix describe all physics there is?

Suppose someone manages to evaluate the string theory $S$-matrix to all orders for any and all vertex operator insertions including non-perturbative contributions from world-sheet instantons and re-...
16
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1answer
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When we define the S-matrix, what are “in” and “out” states?

I have seen the scattering matrix defined using initial ("in") and final ("out") eigenstates of the free hamiltonian, with $$\left| \vec{p}_1 \cdots \vec{p}_n \; \text{out} \right\rangle = S^{-1} \...
15
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What are bootstraps?

I've heard occasional mentions of the term "bootstraps" in connection with the S Matrix. I believe it applies to an old approach that was tried in the 1960s, whereby - well I'm not sure - but it ...
15
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1answer
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Green's function in path integral approach (QFT)

After having studied canonical quantization and feeling (relatively) comfortable with it, I have now been studying the path integral approach. But I don't feel entirely comfortable with. I have the ...
15
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2answers
318 views

Quantum symmetries: $S$ or $Z$?

Let $I$ be the action of some QFT (gauge-fixed and including all the necessary counter-terms); $S$ the associated scattering-matrix; and $Z$ the partition function (in the form of, say, a path ...
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0answers
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Is the converse of Weinberg's statement on the cluster decomposition principle true?

In Weinberg's "The Quantum Theory of Fields, Vol. 1", Section 4.4, page 182, the author says: We now ask, what sort of Hamiltonian will yield an $S$-matrix that satisfies the cluster decomposition ...
14
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Equivalence Theorem of the S-Matrix

as far as I know the equivalence theorem states, that the S-matrix is invariant under reparametrization of the field, so to say if I have an action $S(\phi)$ the canonical change of variable $\phi \to ...
14
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1answer
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Does de Sitter space admit an asymptotic S-matrix?

From the Penrose diagram of de Sitter space, we see it has a future and past conformal boundary, and they are both spacelike. So, does de Sitter space admit an asymptotic S-matrix? Sure, in the usual ...
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1answer
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CFT and the Coleman-Mandula Theorem

The Coleman-Mandula theorem states that under certain seemingly-mild assumptions on the properties of the S-matrix (roughly: one particle states are left invariant and the amplitudes are analytic in ...
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2answers
270 views

Why do we need to embed particles into fields?

In QFT we have the so-called embeding of particles into fields. This is discussed at full generality in Weinberg's book, chapter 5. In summary what one does is: From Wigner's classification, for each ...
13
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1answer
762 views

Probability conservation in WKB tunneling

Suppose we have quantum mechanical plane waves of energy $E$ incident upon a one-dimensional potential barrier $V(x)$ with sloping sides. One can compare the WKB solutions in the three relevant ...
12
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1answer
517 views

Witten's constrained S-matrix and Coleman-Mandula Theorem

I remember reading somewhere that Witten argued that if the Poincaré symmetry of spacetime were nontrivially combined with internal symmetries, then the S-matrix would be so constrained that the ...
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2answers
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Why does the action have to be hermitian?

The hermiticity of operators of observables, e.g. the Hamiltonian, in QM is usually justified by saying that the eigenvalues must be real valued. I know that the Lagrangian is just a Legendre ...
10
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1answer
856 views

Basic question about the S-Matrix, Unitarity and Effective Field Theory

Consider scattering some particles in a state collectively denoted by $i$ to a final state denote by $f$. The scattering amplitude, S-matrix is then defined by: $S_{fi}\equiv \langle f|e^{-iHt}|i\...
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1answer
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Free Vacuum vs Interacting Vacuum and Wick's theorem

I'm studying perturbation theory in QFT and I stumbled on a conceptual problem. My understanding of the interplay between LSZ reduction formula and the Gell-Mann & Low perturbation series is that:...
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3answers
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Applications of analytic continuation to physics

I posted this on math.SE, but didn't get much response. It might fit better on this site. Holomorphic functions have the property that they can be uniquely analytically continued to (almost) the ...
9
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4answers
877 views

Different kinds of S-matrices?

It seems to me that the notion of an "S-matrix" refers to several different objects One construction you can find in the literature is allowing the coupling constant to adiabatically approach 0 in ...
9
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1answer
832 views

There are two definitions of S operator (or S matrix) in quantum field theory. Are they equivalent?

I read several textbooks of QFT and found that there are two kinds of definition of $S$ operator (or S matrix). First kind: Define $\hat{S}$ is map from out space to in space $$\hat{S}\left|\beta,\...
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Relation between Borchers class and the LSZ formula on S-matrix equivalence

It seems well known that different quantum fields can give rise to the same $S$-matrix. I know of two ways this is described. The first is through the Borchers class of relatively local fields, i.e. ...
9
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1answer
456 views

Fermi's golden rule and S-matrix

As I understand, Fermi's golden rule is a result from first order perturbation, which says that the transition rate of an initial state $|i\rangle$ to a final state $|f\rangle$ is $$ \Gamma_{i\...
9
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3answers
624 views

Are there any serious alternatives to QCD nowadays?

I've read several posts here where people talk about the history of the developement of the theory of strong interactions. And they mention Regge theory, pomerons, S-matrix and so on. I'm confused ...
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364 views

In Feynman functional integrals why do we integrate the action over all time?

Say the definition of a propagator in quantum field theory is: $$G_F(x,y)=\int \phi(x)\phi(y) e^{i S[\phi] } D\phi$$ where $S$ is the action. Why do we integrate the Lagrangian density from $t=-\...
8
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1answer
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Why should there be one-particle states in an interacting quantum field theory?

I'm a mathematician trying to learn quantum field theory. This question has two parts: first, I want to double check that I'm thinking about the surrounding issues correctly, after that I'll ask my ...
8
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1answer
226 views

Is there an analogue of the LSZ reduction formula in quantum mechanics?

In quantum field theory the LSZ reduction formula gives us a method of calculating S-matrix elements. In order to understand better scattering in QFT, I will study scattering in non-relativistic ...
8
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2answers
505 views

How to replace $T$-product with retarded commutator in LSZ formula?

I am reading Itzykson and Zuber's Quantum Field Theory book, and am unable to understand a step that is made on page 246: Here, they consider the elastic scattering of particle $A$ off particle $B$: ...
8
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1answer
99 views

How to properly make sense of the $\mathcal{S}$-matrix as a correlator on a sphere?

In the book "Lectures on the Infrared Structure of Gravity and Gauge Theories" by Andrew Strominger, the author discusses in Chapter 3 the idea of "The $\mathcal{S}$-matrix as a Celestial Correlator". ...
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Why would renormalization be necessary without divergent integrals? [duplicate]

Weinberg uses the LSZ reduction formula to introduce field renormalization,and on page 441, he says: As this discussion should make clear: the renormalization of masses and fields has nothing to do ...
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1answer
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Connected and strongly connected Feynman diagrams

Recently I read, that only connected Feynman diagrams give contribution of nonzero values into the scattering amplitude. Why it is so and what is the physical sense of connected diagrams (due to their ...
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1answer
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Scattering amplitude and LSZ formula

I'm arriving at a contradiction. To calculate the scattering amplitude, one usually follows the prescription given by the Feynman rules that you only consider fully connected diagrams with the ...
7
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2answers
462 views

What are the differences (if any) between the Dyson's series definition and the “in/out” definition of the $S$-matrix

So long, in my QFT courses, I've seen two definitions of the $S$-matrix: The first, more elementary, definition is given in the interaction picture: $$S=\text T \lbrace \exp [-i\intop \text d ^4 x \,...
7
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1answer
363 views

Does the LSZ reduction method prove gauge-independence in massless gauge theories?

I've been working my way through L. Baulieu's excellent paper [Perturbative gauge theories, Physics Reports, Volume 129, Issue 1, December 1985, Pages 1-74]. Towards the end, he goes on to prove that ...
7
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1answer
470 views

Allowed Field Re-definitions in QFT

I am trying to understand which field redefinitions are allowed in a QFT. The textbooks I have read appear to treat this topic flippantly. I assume that one cannot arbitrarily manipulate the ...
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1answer
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Why do disconnected diagrams not contribute to the S matrix?

I've read somewhere that disconnected diagrams do not contribute to the S-matrix. I don't see why this is the case. I do know why vacuum bubbles do not contribute: given a generating functional for a ...
7
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1answer
434 views

Quantum Field Theory without LSZ, how is it possible?

Most modern texts spend some time deriving the LSZ reduction formula that connects S matrix elements to time ordered field correlation functions. It seems essential, and really helps clear up what you ...
7
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1answer
121 views

QFT Why do in and out states have a non-trivial overlap?

Im trying to follow chapter 4 about interacting fields in Peskin and Schröder. They define the S matrix by $_{out}<p_1 p_2 | k_a k_b>_{in} = <p_1 p_2 | S | k_a k_b>$, where $S = \lim_{T\...
7
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1answer
470 views

A question about the energy of turning on and off interaction adiabatically in QFT

I read a saying as follows: In a theory with no particles which decay and no bound states, the turning on and off of the interactions merely serves to limit the effective range of forces. In this ...
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3answers
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What actually means to compute things at tree level?

In his QFT book, Matthew Schwartz first talks about tree level as follows: We will begin by going through carefully some of the predictions that the theory gets right without infinities. These are ...
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2answers
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Why are scattering matrices unitary?

In Griffith's QM book, he introduces scattering matrices as an end-of-the-chapter Problem 2.52. For a Dirac-Delta potential $V(x) = \alpha \delta (x - x_0)$, I've derived the scattering matrix and ...
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2answers
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What is the sense of introducing generating functional to the summands of expansion of S-matrix?

Let's have generating functional $Z(J)$: $$ Z(J) = \langle 0|\hat {T}e^{i \int d^{4}x (L_{Int}(\varphi (x)) + J(x) \varphi (x))}|0 \rangle , \qquad (1) $$ where $J(x)$ is the functional argument (...
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2answers
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S-Matrix Elements in Path Integral Formalism

I have a question related to the connection between the S-Matrix elements and the path integral formalism. In order to formulate the question, I will just work with a scalar field theory for ...
6
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3answers
794 views

S-matrix in Weinberg QFT

I'm a bit confused by Weinberg's discussion of scattering. He defined the in and out states $|\Psi^{\pm}_\alpha\rangle$ with particle content $\alpha$ as states that transform under the Poincare group ...
6
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1answer
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Green's Functions from Gell-Mann and Low Theorem

What I want to do: $\newcommand{\ket}[1]{\left|#1\right\rangle}$ $\newcommand{\bra}[1]{\left\langle#1\right|}$ $\newcommand{\braket}[1]{\left\langle#1\right\rangle}$ The Gell-Mann Low Theorem tells ...
6
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3answers
869 views

Time-ordered operator in Srednicki

On page 51 Srednicki states, "Note that the operators are in time order...we can insert $T$ without changing anything". This I agree with. But then on the next paragraph he states "The time order ...
6
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1answer
189 views

Why is there no double counting of $s$- and $t$-channels in string theory?

In string theory for the four particle tree diagram exchange, why is there some mysterious crossing duality between the $s$- and $t$- and $u$-channels? Why isn't there a double counting in the Feynman ...
6
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1answer
180 views

S-Matrix Interpretation and Predictions

How does one distinguish between the second-loop contribution of a known particle, and the first-loop contribution of a more massive-and as yet undiscovered-particle in the S-matrix and/or ...