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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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3
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2answers
547 views

What are anomalous threshold singularities

In the papers of the 1950s and 1960s, I see reference to anomalous threshold singularities. What are these? Is there a good reference that discusses this subject?
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0answers
89 views

Do unoriented strings possess asymptotic states?

In QFT based particle theory, SU(N)-colored particles are not really present as asymptotic states, then raising some problems to build a S-matrix or other more axiomatic approaches to the theory. ...
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2answers
4k views

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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2answers
1k views

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
2k views

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} \...
3
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0answers
584 views

Validity of Cutkosky cutting rules for fermions

It is rather obvious for me that the generalized optical theorem (see e.g. Peskin&Schroeder) must hold for S-matrix elements for fermions as it is directly related to the unitarity of the S-matrix....
2
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2answers
349 views

Are the only observables in string theory the S-matrix?

Is the S-matrix the only observable in string theory? What about time varying spacetime backgrounds, or thermal states then?
6
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1answer
360 views

Dual Resonance Model: Fermions

I am going through Ramond's 1971 paper Dual Theory for Free Fermions Phys Rev D3 10, 2415 where he first attempts to introduce fermions into the conventional dual resonance model. I get the 'gist' of ...
6
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2answers
423 views

If the S-matrix has symmetry group G, must the fields be representations of G?

If the fields in QFT are representations of the Poincare group (or generally speaking the symmetry group of interest), then I think it's a straight forward consequence that the matrix elements and ...
6
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2answers
5k views

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 ...
5
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3answers
2k views

Unitarity of S-matrix in QFT

I am a beginner in QFT, and my question is probably very basic. As far as I understand, usually in QFT, in particular in QED, one postulates existence of IN and OUT states. Unitarity of the S-matrix ...
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 ...
15
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2answers
4k views

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 ...
5
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1answer
2k views

Help with Cutkosky cutting rules for fermions

I know that a cut boson propagator is replaced with the mass shell delta function. But what happens when you cut a fermion propagator? Do you just replace the denominator with a mass shell delta ...
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 ...
17
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1answer
732 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 ...
145
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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 ...
15
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1answer
1k views

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 ...
13
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1answer
1k views

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 ...