Course

19R1 D. Anselmi
Theories of gravitation

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Recent Papers

Quantum field theory

We study a new generating functional of one-particle irreducible diagrams in quantum field theory, called master functional, which is invariant under the most general perturbative changes of field variables. The functional $\Gamma$ does not transform as a scalar under the transformation law inherited from its very definition, although it does transform as a scalar under an unusual transformation law. The master functional, on the other hand, is the Legendre transform of an improved functional W = ln Z with respect to the sources coupled to both elementary and composite fields. The inclusion of certain improvement terms in W and Z is necessary to make this transform well defined. The master functional behaves as a scalar under the transformation law inherited from its very definition. Moreover, it admits a proper formulation, obtained extending the set of integrated fields to the so-called proper fields, which allows us to work without passing through Z, W or $\Gamma$. In the proper formulation the classical action coincides with the classical limit of the master functional, and correlation functions and renormalization are calculated applying the usual diagrammatic rules to the proper fields. Finally, the most general change of field variables, including the map relating bare and renormalized fields, is a linear redefinition of the proper fields.

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Eur. Phys. J. C 73 (2013) 2385 | DOI: 10.1140/epjc/s10052-013-2385-y

arXiv:1205.3584 [hep-th]

In all nontrivial cases renormalization, as it is usually formulated, is not a change of integration variables in the functional integral, plus parameter redefinitions, but a set of replacements, of actions and/or field variables and parameters. Because of this, we cannot write simple identities relating bare and renormalized generating functionals, or generating functionals before and after nonlinear changes of field variables. In this paper we investigate this issue and work out a general field-covariant approach to quantum field theory, which allows us to treat all perturbative changes of field variables, including the relation between bare and renormalized fields, as true changes of variables in the functional integral, under which the functionals Z and W = ln Z behave as scalars. We investigate the relation between composite fields and changes of field variables, and show that, if J are the sources coupled to the elementary fields, all changes of field variables can be expressed as J-dependent redefinitions of the sources L coupled to the composite fields. We also work out the relation between the renormalization of variable-changes and the renormalization of composite fields. Using our transformation rules it is possible to derive the renormalization of a theory in a new variable frame from the renormalization in the old variable frame, without having to calculate it anew. We define several approaches, useful for different purposes, in particular a linear approach where all variable changes are described as linear source redefinitions. We include a number of explicit examples.

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Eur. Phys. J. C 73 (2013) 2338 | DOI: 10.1140/epjc/s10052-013-2338-5

arXiv:1205.3279 [hep-th]

I discuss several issues about the irreversibility of the RG flow and the trace anomalies $c$, $a$ and $a’$. First I argue that in quantum field theory: $i$) the scheme-invariant area $\Delta a’$ of the graph of the effective beta function between the fixed points defines the length of the RG flow; $ii$) the minimum of $\Delta a’$ in the space of flows connecting the same UV and IR fixed points defines the (oriented) distance between the fixed points; $iii$) in even dimensions, the distance between the fixed points is equal to $\Delta a =a_{UV}-a_{IR}$. In even dimensions, these statements imply the inequalities $0 \leq \Delta a \leq \Delta a’$ and therefore the irreversibility of the RG flow. Another consequence is the inequality $a \leq c$ for free scalars and fermions (but not vectors), which can be checked explicitly. Secondly, I elaborate a more general axiomatic set-up where irreversibility is defined as the statement that there exist no pairs of non-trivial flows connecting interchanged UV and IR fixed points. The axioms, based on the notions of length of the flow, oriented distance between the fixed points and certain “oriented-triangle inequalities”, imply the irreversibility of the RG flow without a global a function. I conjecture that the RG flow is irreversible also in odd dimensions (without a global a function). In support of this, I check the axioms of irreversibility in a class of $d=3$ theories where the RG flow is integrable at each order of the large $N$ expansion.

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Class.Quant.Grav. 21 (2004) 29-50 | DOI: 10.1088/0264-9381/21/1/003

arXiv:hep-th/0210124

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Book

14B1 D. Anselmi
Renormalization

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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.)