# Lecture XVII 49

Lecture XVII: Weakly Interacting Electron Gas: Plasma Theory
⊲ How are the properties of an electron gas inﬂuenced by weak Coulomb interaction?
⊲ Qualitative considerations:
When is the intereaction weak? Deﬁning r
0
=
1
n
1/3
as the average electron separation,
the typical p.e.
e
2
r
0
and k.e.

2
mr
0
lead to the dimensionless ratio, r
s
=
e
2
r
0
mr
2
0

2

r
0
a
0
, where
a
0
is electron Bohr radius, from which one can infer that Coulomb eﬀects dominate at
low density
At r
s
∼ 35 there is (believed to be) a transition to an electron solid phase
known as a Wigner crystal (cf. Mott-Hubbard insulator)
For most metals (2 < r
s
< 6), k.e. and p.e. comparable; fortunately (thanks to
adiabatic continuity) “weak coupling” theory valid even for intermediate r
s
⊲ Motivates consideration of weak coupling theory r
s
≪1: Σ-convention on spin
ˆ
H =
_
d
d
r c

σ
(r)
ˆ p
2
2m
c
σ
(r) +
1
2
_
d
d
r
_
d
d
r

c

σ
(r)c

σ

(r

)
e
2
|r −r

|
c
σ
′ (r

)c
σ
(r)
Aim: to explore dielectric properties and ground state energy of electron gas through...
⊲ Quantum partition function: using CSPI formulation
Z ≡ tr e
−β(
ˆ
H−µ
ˆ
N)
=
_
¯
ψσ(0)=−
¯
ψσ(β)
ψσ(0)=−ψσ(β)
D(
¯
ψ
σ
, ψ
σ
)e
−S[
¯
ψσ,ψσ]
S[
¯
ψ
σ
, ψ
σ
] =
_
β
0

__
d
d
r
¯
ψ
σ
(r, τ)
_

τ
+
ˆ p
2
2m
−µ
_
ψ
σ
(r, τ)
+
1
2
_
d
d
r
_
d
d
r

¯
ψ
σ
(r, τ)
¯
ψ
σ
′ (r

, τ)
e
2
|r −r

|
ψ
σ
′ (r

, τ)ψ
σ
(r, τ)
_
Expressed in Fourier basis: ψ
σ
(r, τ) =
1
_
L
3
β

k,ωn
e
i(k·r−ωnτ)
ψ
k,ωn,σ
S =
_
β
0

_

k
¯
ψ

(τ) (∂
τ
+ ǫ
k
−µ) ψ

(τ) +
1
2L
d

q=0
4πe
2
q
2
ρ
q
(τ)ρ
−q
(τ)
_
where ǫ
k
=

2
k
2
2m
and ρ
q
(τ) =
_
d
d
r e
−iq·r
ρ(r, τ) ≡

k
¯
ψ

(τ)ψ
k+q,σ
(τ)
(N.B. neutralising background ❀ exclusion of q = 0 from sum)
With the action quartic in fermionic ﬁelds ψ, Z can not be evaluated exactly
For weak interaction, r
s
≪1, we could expand in Coulomb interaction:
❀ Feynman diagram expansion (cf. Gell-Mann—Br¨ uckner theory)
Lecture Notes October 2005
Lecture XVII 50
Alternative — use ﬁeld integral to isolate leading diagrammatic series expansion
— known as the Random Phase Approximation (RPA)
⊲ General principle:
When confronted with interacting ﬁeld theory, seek decomposition of interaction
through introduction of auxiliary ﬁeld which captures low-energy content of theory
In some cases, these ﬁelds are identiﬁed with the elementary particles that mediate
the interaction (see below); in others, these ﬁelds encode the low-energy collective modes
of the system (e.g. superﬂuid, superconductor)
⊲ Decoupling facilitated using the Hubbard-Stratonovich transformation:
e

R
β
0

P
q=0
2πe
2
L
d
q
2
ρq(τ)ρ
−q
(τ)
=
_
Dφ e

R
β
0

P
q=0
»
q
2

φq(τ)φ
−q
(τ)+
ie
2L
d/2
(φq(τ)ρ
−q
(τ)+ρq(τ)φ
−q
(τ))

⊲ Physically, φ represents (scalar) photon ﬁeld which mediates Coulomb interaction
N.B. φ real and periodic φ(τ + β) = φ(τ)
Z =
_
D(
¯
ψ
σ
, ψ
σ
)
_
Dφ exp
_

_
β
0

_
d
d
r
_
1

(∂φ)
2
+
¯
ψ
σ
_

τ
+
ˆ p
2
2m
−µ + ieφ
_
ψ
σ
__
Gaussian in Grassmann ﬁelds, ﬁeld integral may be performed:
using identity
_
D[
¯
ψ, ψ] exp[−
¯
ψMψ] = detM = exp[ln detM]
Z =
_
Dφ exp
_

_
β
0

_
d
d
r
1

(∂φ)
2
+
spin
¸..¸
2 ln det
_

τ
+
ˆ p
2
2m
−µ + ieφ
_
_
Setting e = 0, photon ﬁeld decouples from determinant;
recovers partition function of non-interacting electron gas
⊲ Perturbation Theory in e:
Deﬁne free particle Green function:
ˆ
G
0
= [∂
τ
+
ˆ p
2
2m
−µ]
−1
and expand:
ln(1 + x) = −

n=1
(−x)
n
/n
lndet
_

τ
+
ˆ p
2
2m
−µ + ieφ
_
≡ tr ln
_
ˆ
G
−1
0
+ ieφ
_
= tr ln
ˆ
G
−1
0
+ tr ln
_
1 + ie
ˆ
G
0
φ
_
= tr ln
ˆ
G
−1
0
−tr
_
−ie
ˆ
G
0
φ +
1
2
_
ie
ˆ
G
0
φ
_
2
+· · ·
_
• First order term: for convenience, set k ≡ (k, ω
n
), etc.
2tr[
ˆ
G
0
φ] = 2

k
G
0
(k)
¸ .. ¸
k|
ˆ
G
0
|k
1
_
L
3
β
φ
k=0
¸ .. ¸
k|φ|k =
2
_
L
3
β

k
1
−iω
n
+ ǫ
k
−µ
φ
0
= 0
Lecture Notes October 2005
Lecture XVII 51
φ
0
= 0 due to neutralising background
• Second order term:
2 ×
e
2
2
tr[
ˆ
G
0
φ]
2
= e
2

k,q
G
0
(k)
¸ .. ¸
k|
ˆ
G
0
|k
1
_
βL
3
φ
q
¸ .. ¸
k|φ|k + q
G
0
(k + q)
¸ .. ¸
k + q|
ˆ
G
0
|k + q
1
_
βL
3
φ
−q
¸ .. ¸
k + q|φ|k=
e
2
2

q
Π(q)φ
−q
φ
q
where “density-density” response function,
Π(q) =
2
βL
3

k
1
−iω
n
+ ǫ
k
−µ
1
−iω
n
−iω
m
+ ǫ
k+q
−µ
Combined with bare term, to leading order in e
2
(Random Phase Approximation),
Z = Z
0
_
Dφ e
−S[φ]
, S[φ] =
1
2

q
D
−1
(q)
¸ .. ¸
_
q
2

−e
2
Π(q)
_

q
|
2
+ O(e
4
)
Z
0
denotes partition function of non-interacting gas
⊲ Physically, D
−1
(q) denotes dynamically screened Coulomb interaction
D
−1
(q) = ǫ(q)
q
2

, ǫ(q) = 1 −
4πe
2
q
2
Π(q)
where ǫ(q) is the energy and momentum dependent eﬀective dielectric function
m
q,
4πe
2
q
2
k,ω
n
ω
m
ω
ω
n
+
+ k+q,
ω
m
q, χ( )
=
- 1
ω
m
q,
=
=
+
+ ...
+
Diagrammatic interpretation:
D(q) =

q
2
1
1 −
4πe
2
q
2
Π(q)
=

q
2

n=0
_
e
2
Π(q)

q
2
_
n
Lecture Notes October 2005