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We develop a general field-covariant approach to quantum gauge theories. Extending the usual set of integrated fields and external sources to “proper” fields and sources, which include partners of the composite fields, we define the master functional $\Omega$, which collects one-particle irreducible diagrams and upgrades the usual $\Gamma$-functional in several respects. The functional $\Omega$ is determined from its classical limit applying the usual diagrammatic rules to the proper fields. Moreover, it behaves as a scalar under the most general perturbative field redefinitions, which can be expressed as linear transformations of the proper fields. We extend the Batalin-Vilkovisky formalism and the master equation. The master functional satisfies the extended master equation and behaves as a scalar under canonical transformations. The most general perturbative field redefinitions and changes of gauge-fixing can be encoded in proper canonical transformations, which are linear and do not mix integrated fields and external sources. Therefore, they can be applied as true changes of variables in the functional integral, instead of mere replacements of integrands. This property overcomes a major difficulty of the functional $\Gamma$. Finally, the new approach allows us to prove the renormalizability of gauge theories in a general field-covariant setting. We generalize known cohomological theorems to the master functional and show that when there are no gauge anomalies all divergences can be subtracted by means of parameter redefinitions and proper canonical transformations.


Eur. Phys. J. C 73 (2013) 2363 | DOI: 10.1140/epjc/s10052-013-2363-4

arXiv:1205.3862 [hep-th]

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14B1 D. Anselmi

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Last update: May 9th 2015, 230 pages

Contents: Preface | 1. Functional integral | 2. Renormalization | 3. Renormalization group | 4. Gauge symmetry | 5. Canonical formalism | 6. Quantum electrodynamics | 7. Non-Abelian gauge field theories | Notation and useful formulas | References

Course on renormalization, taught in Pisa in 2015. (More chapters will be added later.)