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Theory of Many-Particle Systems

March 24, 2011

Contents

1.1 Review of single-particle quantum mechanics . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1

1.1.1 Single harmonic oscillator . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1

1.1.2 Two coupled Harmonic oscillators . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2

1.1.3 Thermodynamic properties: a comparison between

quantum and classical systems . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2

1.2 From coupled harmonic oscillators to quantum eld theory . . . 3

1.2.1 One-d chain and continuum limit . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3

1.2.2 Quantization . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4

1.2.3 Density distribution and X-ray diraction . . . . . . . . . . . . 5

1.2.4 Specic heat . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7

1.2.5 Symmetry breaking and Goldstone theorem . . . . . . . . . . . 8

1.3 Lagrangian Formulism . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8

1.3.1 Lagrangian Formulism of Field Theory . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8

1.3.2 Noethers Theorem . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10

1.4 Maxwell theory and the quantization of photons . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11

1.4.1 Classical electromagnetism from symmetry principle . . . 11

1.4.2 Canonical quantization of the Maxwell theory . . . . . . . . . 14

1.4.3 Casimir eect . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15

2.1 Second quantization . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17

2.1.1 Second quantization for Bosons . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17

2.1.2 Second quantization for Fermions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20

2.2 Applications of second quantization . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23

2.2.1 Free fermion gas . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23

2.2.2 Tight-binding models and graphene as an example . . . . . 24

2.2.3 Interaction eect in tight-binding systems . . . . . . . . . . . . 27

2.2.4 Quantum ferromagnetism and anti-ferromagnetism . . . . 29

2.2.5 Transverse-eld Ising model . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34

2.2.6 Bosonization . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38

4 Contents

3 Path integral . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 41

3.1 Single-particle path integral . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 41

3.1.1 Introduction to single-particle path integral . . . . . . . . . . . 41

3.1.2 Imaginary time path integral . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 43

3.1.3 Harmonic oscillator and stationary phase approximation 44

3.1.4 Double-well problem and instantons . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 46

3.1.5 Linear response of a harmonic oscillator . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 48

3.2 Functional path integral . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 53

3.2.1 Boson coherent state path integral . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 53

3.2.2 Fermion coherent state path integral . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 56

4.1 Discussion on the convergence of perturbation theory . . . . . . . . 59

4.2 More general cases and Feyman diagram . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 61

4.3 Perturbative approach to interacting electron gas . . . . . . . . . . . . 65

4.3.1 Ground state energy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 66

4.3.2 Perturbative theory of the dielectric response . . . . . . . . . 68

4.3.3 Beyond perturbation theory: RPA approximation . . . . . . 72

4.3.4 Eective eld theory approach and the plasmon mode . . 73

1

From particles to fields

1.1.1 Single harmonic oscillator

foundation of a lot of discussions in many-body systems. Harmonic oscillator

has the Hamiltonian

p2 1

H= + m 2 x2 (1.1)

2m 2

The momentum operator p = i x

and the Schordinger equation can be

solved as an ordinary dierential equation problem. However it is more helpful

to solve this problem by dening

( )

1 p

a= mx + i (1.2)

2 m

[ ]

[p, x] = i a, a = 1

( )

1

H = a a+

2

[

]

a, a a = a

[ ]

a , a a = a (1.3)

information about the eigenvalues of the operator

( a a. ) If a state | is eigen-

state of a a so that a a | = |, then a a a | = (a a + 1) (a |)

2 1 From particles to fields

obtain the conclusion that Z, 0. (Otherwise, there will be innite

number of states of eigenvalue of a a negative.) Thus all states form towers

connected by a and a . The bottom of the tower are ground states annihi-

lated by a.

Going back to the simple harmonic oscillator case, a |0 = 0 is written in

wave-function form as

( )

1 x

mx + (x) = 0 (1.4)

2 m

which has only one solution:

0 (x) = e 2 mx (unormalized)

1 2

(1.5)

Thus there is only one tower in the Hilbert space, with the basis |n =

n

1 a |0.

n!

problems? To see that one can study two coupled harmonic oscillators (with

equal mass for simplicity).

p21 1 p2 1

H= + m12 x21 + 2 + m22 x22 + kx1 x2

2m 2 ( )2m

( )2 ( )( )

1 10 p1 1 m12 k x1

= (p1 , p2 ) + (x1 , x2 ) (1.6)

2m 01 p2 2 k m22 x2

we consider the special case 1 = 2 = , in which case the diagonalization

is explicit

1 ( 2 ) 1( ) 1( )

H= p+ + p2 + m 2 + k x2+ + m 2 k x2 (1.7)

2m 2 2

1 1

x = (x1 x2 ) , p = (p1 p2 )

2 2

From this example we see that the special property of harmonic oscillator is

that coupled harmonic oscillators are equivalent to decoupled har-

monic oscillators, by coordinate transformation.

quantum and classical systems

properties such as heat capacity. The calculation is more physically relevant

1.2 From coupled harmonic oscillators to quantum field theory 3

for a many-body system but the calculation is the same. The specic heat is

also one probe to see the dierence between quantum and classical systems.

If we consider a classical harmonic oscillator, the Hamiltonian is a function

of p and x which are real-number valued variables. The Boltzman partition

function is

( )

p2

2m + 12 m 2 x2 2

H(p,x)

Z = dpdxe = dpdxe = (1.8)

The energy

log Z 1 U

U = H = = =T C= =1 (1.9)

T

This is the equipartition theorem in classical statistical mechanics. For N

harmonic oscillators C = N and U = N T , independent from any detail of the

coupling.

On comparison, the quantum system has states labeled integer n = 0, 1, 2...

which have energy (n + 1/2). Thus the partition function is

e/2 1

Z= e(n+1/2) =

= (1.10)

n=0

1e 2 sinh

2

2 log Z 2 2

C = 2 = ( )2 (1.11)

2

4 sinh 2

result. At low temperature the eect of discrete energy spectrum appears.

theory

1.2.1 One-d chain and continuum limit

p2

H= i

+ V (xi xi+1 ) (1.12)

i

2m i

oscillator form

p2 1 2

H= i

+ ks (xi xi+1 a) (1.13)

i

2m i

2

4 1 From particles to fields

p2 1 2

H= i

+ ks (i i+1 ) (1.14)

i

2m i

2

unitary rotation

2 1 0 ... 0 1

1 2 1 0 ... 0

1 T 1

T

H= p Ip + ks (1.15)

2m 2 0 ... ... 0

i

0 ... 0 1 2 1

1 0 .. 0 1 2

it is even simpler to take a continuum limit

1

i a(r), pi a(r), dr , i+1 i ar (r)(1.16)

i

a

[ ]

(r)2 ks a2 2

H = dr + (r (r)) (1.17)

2m 2

(Btw, this is actually the simplest string theory!)

1.2.2 Quantization

1

[pi , j ] = iij [(x), (y)] = i ij = i(x y) (1.18)

a

The Hamiltonian can be diagonalized by Fourier transformation

1 ikr

(r) = e k ,

L k

1 ikr

(r) = e k , (1.19)

L k

(This is for a nite chain with length L. x [0, L] with periodic boundary

condition.) It can be checked that

[k , k ] = ikk (1.20)

1.2 From coupled harmonic oscillators to quantum field theory 5

[ k k ks a2 2

]

H= + k k k (1.21)

2m 2

k

frequency m 2 = ks a2 k 2 = ks a2 /mk. Similar to single harmonic

oscillator case, we can dene

( )

1 k

ak = mk k + i (1.22)

2 mk

( 1

)

H= k ak ak + (1.23)

2

k

( )

Since k = 1

2mk

ak + ak , we have

1 1 ( )

(r) = ak + ak eikr (1.24)

L k 2mk

it is a free particle with only 02 /2m term.

The energy-momentum relation k = ks a2 /mk = vk is called disper-

sion relation. k is the energy of a single-particle excitation with momen-

tum k, i.e. the energy for the creation of one mode with momentum k. The

name dispersion relation comes from the fact that light will have disper-

sion if light with dierent wavevector have dierent velocity. Thus a linear

dispersion means no dispersion.

With the quantum eld theory description of the one-dimensional chain ob-

tained above, one can study the physical properties of the chain. As an ex-

ample, we study the density distribution of atoms which is related to X-ray

scattering experiments. (This is also related to the question we discussed on

the class last week, about measuring m and ks separately.) In X-ray diraction

experiment, the signal observed is determined by the fourier transformation

of the electron density. For a single crystal, the electron density distribution

is periodic in the lattice constant a. Here we study the eect of the atom

oscillation (phonon) and assume the electrons follow the nuclei in the motion.

To determine the density distribution we temporarily return to the lattice

formulation (1.14). The atom density n(r) is determined by the average value

of the following operator:

N

n(r) = (na + n r)

n=1

n(r) = n(r) (1.25)

6 1 From particles to fields

The X-ray diraction signal can be obtained from the Fourier transformation

N

1 iqr 1

F (q) = dre n(r) = dreiqr (na + n r)

L i=1

L

1 iq(na+n )

N

= e (1.26)

L n=1

Due to translation symmetry eiqn = f (q) is independent from n, so that

N 2m

F (q) = f (q) , for q = , mZ (1.27)

L a

q2 2

f (q) = eiqn 1 iq n n + ...

2

q2

e 2 n

2

(1.28)

(Actually the equality holds rigorously, which is a special property of free eld

theory. Proof of this wont be shown here.)

Before going to calculation of 2n we would like to say

that this expression

is generic. The information about the uctuation 2n can be obtained by

studying the ratio of two peaks

[ ]

f (q = 2/a) 2 2

= exp 2 2n (1.29)

f (q = 0) a

To calculate 2n we take n = 0, go to the continuum limit and use Eq.

(1.24):

a 1 ( )( )

2n=0 = a (r = 0)2 = ak + ak ak + ak

L 2mk 2mk

k,k

a 1 a 1 a L

= = dk = log (1.30)

L 2mk 2 2mvk 4mv a

k

Thus

[ ]

q2 a L

f (q) = exp log (1.31)

8mv a

Notice that there is a log divergence in (r)2 , which is specic for one-

dimensional systems. The same calculation as above can be studied in higher

dimensions. For example in 2d there will be two displacement elds x,y (r)

and we have

1.2 From coupled harmonic oscillators to quantum field theory 7

2

f (q) e 4 x +y

q 2 2

2 a2 1

x + 2y = a2 2x + 2y (r = 0) = 2

L 2mvk

k

2 2

( )

a 1 a 2 2 a

= 2

2

d k = (1.32)

(2) 2mvk 4mv a L 2mv

We see that the uctuation of atom position is determined by the geometrical

average of lattice constant a and

h h

= = (1.33)

mv mks a2

Physically is the wavelength of the atom corresponding to the energy ks a2 .

Further remarks. Compare the results in 1d and 2d we see that the

uctuation range = 2n is diverging for a large system L in 1d,

but remains nite at 2d. It can be checked that in higher than 2d its always

nite. And interesting question is what happens at nite temperature. The

average value in Eq. (1.30) involves terms such as ak ak which is temperature

dependent. It can be shown that at nite temperature, even for 2d = 2n

is divergent. This is indicating that (1) in 1d there is no crystal; (2) in 2d there

is crystal at T = 0 but it melts at any nite temperature; (3) in 3d and higher

dimensions there is real well-dened crystal.

The dierence between the quantum and classical theories can be seen from

specic heat. Simply applying the result of single harmonic oscillator we get

Cclassical = 1 (1.34)

k

theory, the result is C = N (number of sites) so that the specic heat cV =

C/(N a) = 1/a. Historically this is the ultraviolet catastrophe in blackbody

radiation, the solution of which by Planck is the rst achievement of quantum

mechanics.

The quantum specic heat

( k /2 )2

Cquantum =

sinh (k /2)

k

( )2

Cquantum dk vk

cV = =

L 2 2 sinh (vk/2)

( )2

1 t

= dt T (1.35)

v sinh t

8 1 From particles to fields

L

(Notice k = 2 dk) High momentum contribution is suppressed.

How to cross over to the classical behavior? Cut-o k = 2/a needs to be

considered. We need to go back to the discrete system. Around temperature

T 2v/a, cV has a cross-over to classical behavior.

Although the one-d chain model is very simple, it provides a clear example

of spontaneous symmetry breaking and Goldstone theorem. The dispersion

relation k = vk is linear, and gapless, which means a harmonic oscillator

mode can be created with arbitrarily low energy (in large systems). Why is

that? k is a continuous function of k. k is gapless because k has to go

to 0 when k 0. In other words, the excitation spectrum is gapless because

the mode at k = 0 does not cost any energy. The k = 0 mode k=0 is the

translation of the whole chain. If we take k=0 = 0 for all k = 0, then

1 1

(r) = k eikr = k=0 (1.36)

L k L

is a constant independent from x. Thus the fact that such a translation does

not cost energy is actually nothing but translation symmetry. By choosing

an equilibrium position of each atom, the translation symmetry is broken

spontaneously. This is an example that spontaneous symmetry breaking leads

to gapless excitations of the system. In general, gapless excitations always

exist if a continuous symmetry is broken spontaneously. This is also the rst

of several mechanisms which can protect gapless excitations in a quantum

many-body system. (In general, gaplessness always needs a reason.)

I would like to mention that at this moment we cannot see from the the-

ory presented above the reason why such a spontaneous symmetry breaking

occurs. Why will the atoms pick a specic location which breaks the trans-

lation symmetry? If some parameters in the Hamiltonian are changed, they

may form a liquid instead, which preserves the translation symmetry. Such

questions need to be answered in the interacting theory which we will discuss

in later part of this course.

1.3.1 Lagrangian Formulism of Field Theory

tonian formulism. The advantage of Hamiltonian formulism is that the quan-

tum mechanical properties of the system are well-dened once we identify

momentum and coordinate operators. In this subsection we will introduce an

1.3 Lagrangian Formulism 9

mulism is that the symmetry properties are more transparent, and the it is

suitable for the path integral quantization we will discuss later.

p2

For a single particle with Hamiltonian H = 2m + V (x) we know that the

Lagrangian is given by

1

L(x, x) = mx2 V (x) (1.37)

2

and the action is dened by

[ ]

1

S [x(t)] = L(x, x)dt = dt mx V (x)

2

(1.38)

2

S[x(t)] is a functionala map from functions x(t) to real number R. The

equation of motion is given by minimizing S[x(t)]. Consider an arbitrary small

variation x(t) x(t) + x(t), we have

( )

L L dt

S[x(t) + x(t)] = L(x + x, x + x)dt L(x, x) + x + x

x x

( ( ))

L d L

= S[x(t)] + dtx(t) (1.39)

x dt x

S = S[x(t) + x(t)] S[x(t)] = 0 leads to the condition

( )

L d L

=0 (1.40)

x dt x

which is the Lagrange equation of motion.

The Lagrangian and Hamiltonian are related by the equation

L

p=

x

H(p, r) = px L (1.41)

the rst equation. In the second equation, x on the right side is considered as

a function of p and x.

For more general multiple dimensional system with Lagrangian L(qi , qi )

the Lagrange equation is

( )

L d L

=0 (1.42)

qi dt qi

Now we take the one-d chain and study the Lagrangian in the continuum

limit. The Lagrangian of the one-d chain with Hamiltonian (1.14) is

1 2 1 2

L(n , n ) = mn ks (n+1 n ) (1.43)

n

2 2 n

10 1 From particles to fields

In the continuum limit n a(rn ) we have

[ ]

1 2 1 2

L = dr m (t ) ks a (x )

2

(1.44)

2 2

1 2 1 2 m

L (, ) (r) = m (t ) ks a2 (x ) (r) = ( g ) (1.45)

2 2 2

with g = diag[1, v 2 ] the Lorenz metric. Notice that L (r) is a function of

(r) and its gradient. The Lagrange equation can be expressed by Lagrangian

density by minimizing the action

S[(r, t)] = dtL = dtdxL (1.46)

The result is

( ) ( )

L L L

=0 (1.47)

t t r r

or equivalently

( )

L L

=0 (1.48)

troduce Noethers theorem on the relation between continuous symmetry and

conservation law. As a simplest example, consider the Lagrangian density of

the one-d chain (1.45). As discussed above, the translation symmetry requires

L(, ) = L( + , ) with any R. Consequently L(, ) = L( )

is independent from . Thus the Lagrange equation (1.48) is simplied to

( )

L

= m g = 0 (1.49)

If we dene

L

j = (1.50)

Noethers theorem, where a symmetry combined with Lagrange equation gives

a conservation law. More generally, consider a Lagrangian density L(a , a )

with multiple-component eld a . If there is a symmetry transformation a

1.4 Maxwell theory and the quantization of photons 11

be preserved in this transformation

L L

Fa () + Fa () = 0 (1.51)

a a

On the other hand we have the Lagrange equation (1.48). Combine (1.48)

with the equation above we get

( ) ( )

L L L

Fa () + Fa () = Fa () = 0 (1.52)

a a a

More generally if the coordinates are also changed in the symmetry transfor-

mation (such as (x) (x + C)) the expression is more complicated, but

can be derived in the same way.

sical electromagnetism (in vacuum) is described by Maxwells equations

E = 0, B t E = 0

B = 0, E + t B = 0 (1.53)

t A, the Maxwell equations can be written in the covariant form

F = 0 (1.54)

is the Lorenz metric. The Lorenz transformation A = L A preserves the

metric g in the sense of

A g A = A A g L L g = g (1.55)

A = A + and A corresponds to the same F , for any arbitrary

function . This is called gauge symmetry.

Although from classical electromagnetism we know the Hamiltonian (i.e.,

energy functional) of electromagnetic eld, the quantization of this theory

is not as straightforward as the one-d chain, because its not obvious which

12 1 From particles to fields

t to take a dierent point of view and ask the following question: What is

the possible action of a vector eld A which preserves Lorentz symmetry

and gauge symmetry? The Lagrange formulism is specially suitable for such

an approach because the action is always invariant in a symmetry operation,

while the Hamiltonian is not always invariant. The Lagrangian density satis-

fying Lorenz invariance can be expanded in powers of A :

L = a A + bA A + c A A + d( A )2 + ... (1.56)

The terms with more than two derivatives or more than two A are neglected.

After considering gauge invariance L(A ) = L(A + ) we see a = 0, b =

0, c + d = 0 so that

c

L= F F (1.57)

2

Its straightforward to check that the Lagrange equation of motion leads

to Maxwells equations (1.54) correctly. Thus we see that the two symmetries

completely determine the form of Maxwells equations to the leading order. If

there is a material eld with a conserved current j , one more term f j A is

possible, which leads to

c

L= F F + f A j (1.58)

2

The Lagrange equation is j = (2c/f ) F , which recovers the Maxwell

equations with source correctly, if we rescale the elds A 2c

1

A , J

2c

f J . The action becomes

1

L = F F + A j (1.59)

4

It seems that the action is completely unique without any parameter. How-

ever, there is a hidden parameter due to charge quantization. For exam-

ple, for

electrons the charge density = j 0 integrated over any area gives

Q = d rj = en, n Z. During the rescaling the unit of charge needs

3 0

number current of electrons. After a rescaling eA A , the Maxwell theory

can be written as

1

L = F F + A J (1.60)

4e2

where we see explicitly that e2 plays the role of a coupling constant. When

recovering the full units, the dimensionless coupling constant e2 is actually

e2

the ne structure constant = hc (in CGS unit). In the following we will use

the standard Lagrangian (1.59) for simplicity.

1.4 Maxwell theory and the quantization of photons 13

only if j = 0, which is exactly the charge conservation condition. The gauge

elds are deeply related to conserved currents. The coupling A j between

gauge eld and conserved current is called minimal coupling.

Further remarks:

Is there a Noether theorem for gauge symmetry? Gauge symmetry re-

quires the Lagrangian density to satisfy L(A , A ) = L(A + , A +

). Naively, Noether theorem can be obtained. For example, if we

take = x1 so that = 1 , we obtain a translation symmetry

A A + 1 . The dierence from the case of global symmetry is that

there are innite number of symmetries dened in this way, which cor-

respond to innite number of conservation laws. In global symmetry the

innitesimal transformation is a number, while in gauge symmetry is

an arbitrary function. Expand the Lagrangian density we obtain

L L

+ = 0 (1.61)

A A

L

=0

A

L L

and + =0 (1.62)

A A

than conservation laws.

There is another term

LME = F F (1.63)

which almost preserves all the symmetries. The only symmetry it breaks

is the discrete subgroup of Lorenz groupthe spatial inversion. The spatial

inversion is determined by A0 A0 , A A, 0 0 , . This

term corresponds to an isotropic magneto-electric eect and it has the

interesting property of topological invariance. Recently this term plays an

important role in the topological eld theory of topological insulators. For

an introduction see e.g. Qi and Zhang, Phys Today Jan 2010.

If we study 2+1 rather than 3+1 dimensions, there is one additional term

which preserves the special Lorenz group but not the spatial inversion,

which is the Chern-Simons term

n

LCS = A A (1.64)

4

This term plays an essential role in the quantum Hall eect and fractional

statistics in 2+1 dimensions. It can be easily seen that this Lagrangian

14 1 From particles to fields

density is not gauge invariant. However, the action is gauge invariant be-

cause the Lagrangian density changes by a total derivative under gauge

transformation. This is an example that the invariance of action and the

invariance of Lagrangian density are not equivalent. The Chern-Simons

term (and its counter-part in non-Abelian gauge theories) plays an essen-

tial role in the research of quantum Hall eect, the rst known topological

state of matter in Nature.

source term. The Lagrangian density can be written as

1 1 1 1 2 1 2

L = F F = F0i F 0i Fij F ij = (t A A0 ) ( A)

(1.65)

4 2 4 2 2

Thus we see A0 does not have a canonical momentum, and A has the canonical

momentum

L

i = = t Ai i A0 (1.66)

t Ai

Thus the Hamiltonian

[ ]

( ) 1 1 2

H = d3 x i t Ai L = d3 x 2 + ( A) A0 (1.67)

2 2

A0 only appears in the last term, and it does not have a conjugate momentum.

Thus the equation of motion of A0 is just the classical one

H

= = 0 (1.68)

A0

If we take the fourier transform into momentum space, we have

[1 1

]

H= k k + (k Ak ) (k Ak ) (1.69)

2 2

k

k k = 0 (1.70)

the other two orthogonal

vectors, we can decompose the vectors A and on

3

these directions as Ak = s=1 es Ask . Thus

[1 1 2

]

H= s,k s,k + k As,k As,k (1.71)

s=1,2

2 2

k

3,k 0

1.4 Maxwell theory and the quantization of photons 15

tors, both with the dispersion k = |k|. The third branch (which is called lon-

gitudinal mode disappears because of the constraint on 3,k = k k = 0.

(The quantization of the Maxwell theory in a wave-guide can be found in

the text book, which I wont repeat here.)

and classical theory, which is the specic heat at low temperature. Another

important signature of the quantum theory is the Casimir eect: Two parallel

metal plates have a interaction. The energy of the system with two innite

large parallel plates in a distance d is proportional to the area A of the plates.

The energy per area E/A is only determined by d. Since there is no other

length scales in this system, dimensional analysis shows

E hc

3 (1.72)

A d

The result obtained by Casimir is

E 2 hc

= (1.73)

A 720d3

so that the interaction is attractive.

Without going to detail of the derivation, it should be noticed that the

coupling constant = e2 /hc does not enter the result, which is due to the

scaling invariance of the problem. Rescaling A A with any keeps

invariant both the photon dispersion and also the boundary condition set by

the metallic plates, so that the Casimir force remains the same. When the two

plates are very closed to each other, the eect of the metallic plate cannot be

treated as a simple boundary condition, and the higher order corrections such

as the Van der Waals force between plates has to be considered. The higher

order terms are in general dependent on the ne structure constant . Casimir

force can also be repulsive if the media is not vacuum. For an example, see

Munday et al, Nature 457 170 (2009).

2

Second quantization and its applications

In Chapter 1 we have actually already used a lot of concepts in second quan-

tization, but we havent introduced the systematic framework of it. In short,

second quantization is a formulism to describe a generic quantum many-body

system using annihilation and creation operators a, a , and their fermionic

analogue.

(bosonic) particles such as photons can be described in the same way as the

energy quanta in harmonic oscillators. From the discussion in Chapter 1 it

is clear that such a formulism applies to a generic quantum eld theory as

long as we know the Hamiltonian H = H [(x), (x)]. Harmonic oscillators

can be dened from linear combinations of momentum eld (x) and coordi-

nation eld (x). On the other hand, in the particle picture we say that the

particles described by such quantum eld theory, such as photons, are Bosons,

i.e., identical particles with wavefunction (x1 , x2 , ...) symmetric under per-

mutation of any two coordinates xi , xj . To see clearly the connection between

these two pictures, we can consider the simple one-dimensional chain again.

For the Hamiltonian (1.14), instead of dening harmonic oscillator operators

in the momentum space (Eq. (1.22)), we can also dene harmonic oscillator

operators in real space. The Hamiltonian can be written as

p2

H= i

+ ks 2i ks i i+1 (2.1)

i

2m i i

2ks

= m with the last term as their coupling. Annihilation and creation

18 2 Second quantization and its applications

operators can be dened for each site in the same way as in single harmonic

oscillator case

( )

1 pi 2ks

ai = mi + i , = (2.2)

2 m m

The harmonic oscillator at i site has the Hilbert space expanded by the eigen-

states of ai ai which are labeled as |ni i , ni = 0, 1, 2, ..., so that a basis in the

many-body Hilbert space is

N

|{ni } = |ni i (2.3)

i=1

corresponds to the occupation number representation. When viewing the sys-

tem as a gas of many such particles, another representation is the particle

coordinate representation in which the wave function ({xi }) is a function of

particle coordinates xi . To see the relation between these two representations

we can take the simple case of two particles at i and j sites. This corresponds

to the state |00..010..010.. in occupation number representation, where the

two 1s appear at i and j sites. In a state | the possibility amplitude of such

as state is given by (i, j) = 00..010..010..| . On comparison, in the parti-

cle coordinate representation this state can be described as the rst particle

at i site and the second particle at j site, or the other way around. Thus the

wavefunction is given by

nate representation. To remove the redundancy we require the wavefunction

({xi }) to be symmetric under permutation of any two particle coordinates

xi and xj . This is exactly the requirement of these particles having bosonic

statistics. In summary, from the discussion above we have seen why identical

bosonic particles have the same Hilbert space as harmonic oscillators, and

thus can be described by the harmonic oscillator operators ai , ai .

Besides removing the redundancy, another important advantage of occu-

pation number representation is that states with dierent total number of

particles can be described on equal footing. The Hilbert space expanded by

|{ni } contains the subspaces with dierent total particle number N = i ni .

Such as Hilbert space is named as Fock space H = N HN .

The annihilation and creation operators ai , ai are very helpful in this for-

mulism because all operators in Fock space can be written as functions of ai , ai .

To prove this conclusion, consider the matrix representation of an operator O

in the occupation number basis

2.1 Second quantization 19

with n and m stands for the occupation number sets {ni } , {mi } respectively.

The operator is written as

O = |{ni } Onm {mi }| (2.6)

{ni },{mi }

Since ai |ni = ni |ni 1 , ai |ni = ni + 1 |ni + 1, we have

1

|{ni } = aini |0 (2.7)

i

ni !

Thus

1 1

O = Onm an i

i

|0 0| am

i

i

(2.8)

{ni },{mi } i

ni ! i

mi !

The state |0 is the vacuum state with ni = 0 for all i. The projector to this

state |0 0| can be considered as a delta function of the operator ni = ai ai :

|0 0| = a ai (2.9)

i

i

Consequently

[ 1

]

O = Onm ani ami (2.10)

{ni },{mi } i

ni !mi ! i ai ai i

Hamiltonian of this system can be written in terms of ai , ai .

Specically, the ordinary terms in a Hamiltonian such as kinetic energy

and potential energy have simple form in this representation. For example

consider a single particle potential energy term, which in the single particle

Hilbert space is an operator

v |i = v(ri ) |i (2.11)

boson independently, so that for a state with occupation numbers {ni },

V |{ni } = ni v(ri ) |{ni } = ai ai v(ri ) |{ni }

i i

V = ai ai v(ri ) (2.12)

i

be generalized to the single-body operators which are not diagonal in basis

20 2 Second quantization and its applications

ic oscillator operators are still harmonic oscillator operators. For a generic

unitary rotation |n = Uni |i, an = Uni ai and an satisfy the harmonic oscil-

lator commutation relation. Occupation number basis can be dened in an an

eigenstates. Consequently for any given single-body operator

o |i = oij |j (2.13)

one can always rotate to the eigenstate basis of o and repeat the procedure

above to obtain the many-body operator O. After rotating back to the original

i basis we get

O = ai oij aj = ai i| o |j aj (2.14)

i,j i,j

can be written as

1

O = ai aj i| j| o |k |l ak al (2.15)

2

i,j,k,l

explicit relation between few-body terms in the Hamiltonian and correspond-

ing terms in many-body Hamiltonian is an important advantage of second

quantized formulism, which greatly simplied the description of many-body

problem. For example, the Hamiltonian of many atoms with kinetic energy

p2 2

hK = =

2M 2M

and two-body interaction energy v(x1 x2 ) has the many-body Hamiltonian

( )

2

H = dxa (x) a(x)

2M

1

+ dxdya (x)a (y)v(x y)a(y)a(x) (2.16)

2

bosons with their wavefunction symmetric under permutation. If we take the

particle coordinate picture from the begining and consider the wavefunction

(x1 , x2 , ..., xN ) for a many-particle system, there is another possibility for

identical particles. The wavefunction can be anti-symmetric in permutation,

which corresponds to Fermions. Fermions also have a second quantized de-

scription. To see that we rst notice that the occupation number basis |{ni }

can also be dened for fermions. The only dierence from boson case is that

2.1 Second quantization 21

ni 1 because no two particles can stay at the same site. Consequently the

fermion Fock space is nite dimensional. When the single particle Hilbert s-

pace is N dimensional, the many-body Hilbert space is 2N dimensional. For

each site with ni = 0, 1 one can also dene the creation and annihilation

operators ci , ci :

c = |0 1| , c = |1 0| (2.17)

and the commutation relation between boson operators ai , ai is replaced by

{ }

ci , ci ci ci + ci ci = 1 (2.18)

Using operators ci , we can also obtain all the states in the Fock space from

the vacuum state |0 with ni = 0, i. Consequently all many body operators

are also functions of ci , ci . Especially, a single-body operator

v |i = v(ri ) |i (2.19)

also corresponds to

V = ci v(ri )ci (2.20)

i

careful. The

[ important

] property of bosonic system is that the commutation

relation ai , aj = ij , [ai , aj ] = 0 is invariant under unitary rotation be-

tween ai , which enables the expression of a generic single-body operator in

Eq. (2.14). To obtain the same simple expression here, we need to specify the

commutation relation between operators of dierent sites to be

{ }

{ci , cj } = 0, ci , cj = ij (2.21)

which means the operators at dierent sites are not independent to each other.

It should be noticed that particle number ni = ci ci is still commute with all

other cj , j = i. In this denition we have in general

O = ci i| o |j cj (2.22)

i,j

It should be noticed that the fermion anti-commutation relation (2.21)

is consistent with the anti-symmetric property of wavefunction in particle

coordinate representation. If we dene the wavefunction (x1 , x2 , ..., xN ) as

22 2 Second quantization and its applications

Further remarks about dimensionality and fractional statistics

What does the particle statistics really mean? The symmetry property

of wavefunction under permutation operation is not really physical. Indeed

the boson and fermion Fock space are dierent, with dierent dimensions.

However we can also consider a boson system in which ni > 1 states have

very high energy so that eectively the Hilbert space is the same as that of

Fermion. Even in that case, the system behaves very dierent from Fermions.

To see the dierence, consider a toy model with time-dependent Hamiltonian

[ ( ) ]

2

H(t) = d r a

d

a(r) + V (r, t)a (r)a(r)

2m

( )2

+U dd ra a(r) 2 (2.24)

in which V (r, t) has the shape of two wells far from each other, and the well

position is time dependent. The last term is an interaction energy which only

depends on the total number of particles. If U is very large, we only need to

consider the states with two particles. No matter whether the particles are

fermions or bosons, the lowest energy state will contain two particles trapped

in the two wells. The only dierence between boson and fermion systems

occur when we move the wells slowly until their position are exchanged at

time t = T . Thus H(t = T ) = H(t = 0). For boson system, the ground

state also comes back to itself at time T . On comparison, the ground state of

fermion system obtains a minus sign. In other words,

T {

i dtH(t) |G(0) , boson

|G(T ) = T e 0 |G(0) = (2.25)

|G(0) , fermion

T

i dtH(t)

in which T e 0 is the time-evolution operator. Such a sign is a Berrys

phase which is well-dened and physical. In this way we see that fermion and

boson correspond to dierent representation of permutation group, since each

permutation of N particles will be assigned a sign 1 depending on its parity.

Mathematically, such a point of view leads to an interesting generalization in

two spatial dimensions. In two dimensions there are two permutation process

(clockwise and counterclockwise) which cannot be smoothly deformed to each

other. Consequently the permutation group is enlarged to braid group which

has more complicated representations. This concept was introduced to physics

by Wilczek (Phys Rev Lett 49 957 (1982)). Such a dierence between two and

higher dimensions enable particles which are neither boson nor fermion in two

dimensions, which are called anyons.

2.2 Applications of second quantization 23

2.2.1 Free fermion gas

Since we have studied two boson systems in the last Chapter, as application

of second quantization we rst study some fermion systems. The electrons in

a crystal can be described by the following general Hamiltonian if we ignore

the phonons for a moment

(( ) )

2

H = d3 r (r) + U (r) (r)

2m

1

+ d3 rd3 r (r) (r ) V (r r ) (r ) (r) (2.26)

2

electrons. is called chemical potential which will be explained later.

We rst study the free electron gas with U (r) = 0, V (r r ) = 0. In this

case the Hamiltonian has translation symmetry and is quadratic. It can be

diagonalized in the same way as bosons:

( k2 )

H= k k (2.27)

2m

k

These are fermionic analog of decoupled harmonic oscillators. For each k there

are two states labeled by occupation number nk = k k = 0, 1. Thus we

immediately know the ground state of the system is given by

{

0, k > 0

nk = (2.28)

1, k < 0

between boson and fermion systems: the energy of harmonic oscillator k for

boson case must be non-negative. Otherwise the energy wont be bound from

below. On comparison Fermion single particle energy can have either sign

while the Hamiltonian is always bound from below (because the Fock space

is nite dimensional).

For > 0, k = 0 gives |k| = kF = 2m, and all the states with |k| < kF

is occupied in the ground state. Such a ground state is called a fermi sea

while the boundary of fermi sea at |k| = kF is called the fermi surface.

For a free fermion system with having intersection to the energy dispersion,

there is always a fermi sea and a fermi surface. The low energy excitations of

the fermion system are excitations near fermi surface, rather than near k = 0

like in the boson case. There are also much more excitations compared to the

boson case, which can be seen by studying the specic heat. The partition

function of a free fermion gas is given by

24 2 Second quantization and its applications

{ }

( )

Z () = exp nk k = 1 + ek (2.29)

nk =0,1 k k

Now we consider the eect of ion potential U (r), but still ignore the electron-

electron interaction V (r r ) term. When the lattice vibration is ignored,

U (r) is periodic in a crystal, i.e. U (r + ai ) = U (r) for any Brava lattice

vector ai . Dierent treatments and approximations can be applied to such a

Hamiltonian. For example we can assume U (r) is a small perturbation so that

the eigenstates are similar to the plane-wave obtained in the free electron gas.

Alternatively, one can take the opposite point of view that the traps in U (r)

are very deep so that the electrons are almost trapped around each ion. Here

we will study the latter case since it leads to a simplied discrete description

of the system.

We start from the atomic limit where the ions are innitely far away,

so that dierent atoms can be treated independently. Each atom has its own

atomic levels, such as s, p, d orbitals. The second quantized Hamiltonian is

simply a sum of all atoms

H= n cin cin (2.30)

i n

where n labels the atomic energy levels. Now consider the atoms with nite

distance, in which case the atomic orbitals are not eigenstates of the Hamil-

tonian any more. However, we can still use the atomic orbitals as a basis to

express the Hamiltonian. The matrix elements of the single particle Hamilto-

nian in this basis is given by

( 2 )

p

hin,jm = in| + U (r) |jm (2.31)

2m

which corresponds to the second quantized Hamiltonian

H= cin hin,jm cjm (2.32)

i,n;j,m

the atomic orbitals are localized, hin,jm decays exponentially versus the dis-

tance between i and j sites, so that only several nearest neighbors are impor-

tant. This is why the model is called a tight-binding model.

It should be noticed that the description above is not rigorous because

the atomic levels are not orthogonal, and also we have ignored the deep core

levels and higher unoccupied levels of each atom. Rigorously speaking, all lev-

els have to be included to provide a complete basis of the continuous system

2.2 Applications of second quantization 25

with single-particle Hamiltonian (2.31). Alternatively, one can stay with nite

number of states per site by using Wannier function basis rather than atomic

levels. Wannier functions are dened to be local single-particle states which

form a complete basis of the relevant energy bands. They are modied ver-

sion of the atomic levels which are orthogonalized while remain local. More

concretely, they are fourier transform of the Bloch states

1 ikR

|Rn = e |kn (2.33)

N kBZ

Intuitively, Wannier function is a set of basis in the Hilbert space of low energy

states which is most closed to the coordinate basisi.e., the basis formed by

Dirac functions. For the purpose of qualitative discussions below, we can

safely neglect the dierence between Wannier functions and atomic orbitals.

Now we take the interesting two-dimensional material graphene as an ex-

ample for tight-binding models. Graphene (for which Andre Geim and Kon-

stantin Novoselov were awarded the 2010 Nobel Prize for Physics) is a two-d

honeycomb lattice of carbon atoms. The relevant carbon atomic orbitals are

2s and 2p orbitals. In the honeycomb lattice the s and px , py orbitals are hy-

bridized and form 3 sp2 hybridized orbitals named as orbitals. pz does not

involve in the hybridization and is called orbital. The orbitals are oriented

in-plane and strongly coupled to each other, and the orbital wavefunction is

more localized in the in-plane direction so that they are coupled with weaker

strength. The low energy behavior of graphene is determined by orbitals.

The simplest tight-binding model of orbitals is given by

( )

H = t ci cj + h.c. (2.34)

ij

the treatment to coupled harmonic oscillators in Chapter 1, we use fourier

transformation to diagonalize the Hamiltonian. It should be noticed that there

are two atoms in each unit cell of the honeycomb lattice. In other words there

are two atoms which are not equivalent by translation. Dene the two unit

vectors of the honeycomb lattice as a1 and a2 with

1 ( )

a1,2 = 3x y (2.35)

2

(For simplicity we have taken the lattice constant a = 1.) Correspondingly the

momentum k is dened in a Brillouin zone with the periodic boundary con-

dition ck+b1 = ck , ck+b2 = ck . Here b1 and b2 are unit vectors of reciprocal

lattice satisfying

bi aj = 2ij (2.36)

Explicitly

26 2 Second quantization and its applications

2 ( )

b1,2 = x 3y (2.37)

3

The Hamiltonian is written as

( )

H = t ciA ciB + ciA cia1 ,B + ciA ci+a2 a1 ,B + h.c. (2.38)

i

( )( 0 f (k)

)(

ckA

)

H= ckA , ckB (2.39)

f (k) 0 ckB

kBZ

( )

f (k) = t 1 + eika1 + eik(a2 a1 )

H= Eks cks cks

kinBZ s=1

Eks = st 1 + eika1 + eik(a2 a1 ) (2.40)

Thus there are two energy bands with opposite dispersion relation. It should

also be noticed that the -orbital is half-lled, so that the fermi level is exactly

in the middle of the two bands. Because Ek+ 0 Ek , the two bands are

either well-separated or touching at zero energy. It can be checked that there

are two points in the Brillouin zone where Ek+ = 0, with the coordinates

K = (b1 b2 ) /3 and K = K. Near K and K points Eks is linear in

|k K| or |k K |, which is why electrons behave like massless relativistic

particle in graphene.

Further remarks:

What makes graphene so special? The simple tight-binding model dis-

cussed above works very well for graphene because the coupling beyond n-

earest neighbor is negligible. The bands which are strongly bonded make

graphene very robust and very clean. (Before graphene was discovered it was

widely believed that a 2d crystal was not stable.) The bonding between

orbitals studied above leads to a linear dispersion of electrons with the high

velocity of 106 m/s, 1/300 of the speed of light. One of the interesting conse-

quences of the relativistic dispersion is observed in the quantum Hall eect

of graphene, which was among the earliest experiments on graphene. (See

Novoselov, K. S. et al. Two-dimensional gas of massless Dirac fermions in

graphene. Nature 438, 197C200 (2005); Zhang, Y. et al, Experimental obser-

vation of the quantum Hall eect and Berrys phase in graphene. Nature 438,

201C204 (2005).) There is a simple understanding on the dierence between

relativistic and non-relativistic fermions in a strong magnetic eld. There is

a universal unit of the magnetic ux, the ux quanta 0 = hc/e. Thus a

magnetic eld B strength corresponds to a density B/0 which has the u-

nit of length2 . The discrete energy levels in a magnetic eld corresponds

2.2 Applications of second quantization 27

constant that cannot be obtained in this semi-classical picture. Each density

corresponds to a fermi surface size according to the formula

AF S

= (2.41)

(2)2

B

kF2 = 4 = 4(n + ) (2.42)

0

Consequently, for a non-relativistic fermion with parabolic dispersion

h2 kF2 2h2 B eB

E= = (n + ) = (n + ) h (2.43)

2m m0 mc

For the fermion with relativistic dispersion

2Be

E = hvkF = hv (n + ) (2.44)

hc

Interestingly,

= 1/2 for parabolic case but = 0 for relativistic dispersion.

Thus E nB for graphene. An important consequence is that the Landau

level gap between two neighbor energy levels split much faster for graphene

than for an ordinary electron gas, so that graphene quantum Hall eect can

be observed even at room temperature.

1

Hint = d3 rd3 r (r) (r ) V (r r ) (r ) (r) (2.45)

2

In a tight-binding system we can expand

(r) = i (r)ci (2.46)

i

with i (r) the Wannier function at i site. Here we have consider a simple

tight-binding model with only one orbital per site, such as graphene. In this

basis

1

Hint = ci cj Vijkl cl ck (2.47)

2

ijkl

with

28 2 Second quantization and its applications

Vijkl = d3 rd3 r i (r)j (r )l (r )k (r)V (r r ) (2.48)

Notice that we have recovered the spin indices ignored in earlier discussion.

We will see below that with interaction, spin plays an important role.

Since i (r) is localized near site i, the leading term in Vijkl is i = j = k = l.

Dene Viiii = U we have

U

HU = ci ci ci ci = U ni ni (2.49)

2 i i

This is called Hubbard interaction. If we only keep the kinetic energy term

and this term, the model is called Hubbard model.

The important subleading terms are Vijij = V and Vijji = J F for i, j

nearest neighbors. The corresponding terms are

HV = V ni nj (2.50)

ij

and

( 1

)

Hex = J F ci cj ci cj = 2J F Si Sj + ni nj (2.51)

4

ij ij

(Coulomb) interaction. This term is called exchange interaction and is the

origin of ferromagnetism. Physically such an interaction is due to Pauli ex-

clusion principle between fermionic electrons. Two electrons with the same

spin are repulsive to each other so that the Coulomb energy is lower than two

electrons with opposite spin.

Its easy to check that U, V, J F > 0. Thus it seems that electron spin

always prefers to align. However, there are also antiferromagnetic materials

in which the electron spins prefer to be anti-parallel to each other, which

corresponds to an JSi Sj interaction with positive coupling constant. Such a

term arises from a dierent mechanism as the exchange interaction, named as

superexchange. This process is important when V , J F terms can be ignored,

and the system is described by the Hubbard model:

( )

H = t ci cj + h.c. + U ni ni (2.52)

ij i

given site is ni = ni + ni < 2, U ni ni = 0. If ni = ni = 1, U ni ni = U .

Consequently the Hubbard interaction U gives the double-occupied site a high

energy. If there are one electron per-site on average, such an interaction will

require the ground state to have exactly ni = 1 for each site. Thus each site

has an electron with spin up or down. Before considering the eect of t term,

2.2 Applications of second quantization 29

the ground state of HU . If we consider the large U limit t U , the eect of t

term can be studied by perturbation theory. One can see that in the rst order

of perturbation, t term has no matrix element between any two of the 2N low

energy states. The leading non-trivial correction comes from the second order

perturbation. The eective Hamiltonian in the low energy subspace is given

by

1

H (2) = Ht |N U EU

N | Ht (2.53)

U >0

EG N

N,EN

U U

in which EG and EN are the energy of HU in the 2N low energy states and

the higher energy state |N , respectively. Since Ht acting on a single-occupied

state can only create one double-occupied site, the state |N must have energy

U

EN = U , so that

2t2

H (2) = ci cj cj ci = J Si Sj + constant (2.54)

U

ij ij

2

1 for all low energy states. J = 4tU . Such a spin-spin interaction is called

superexchange interaction.

More generally, if we dont require the system to have one electron per

site, the low energy subspace with HU = 0 contains 3 states per site, with

the total dimension 3N . The same kind of perturbation theory can be applied

which leads to the so-called t J model:

( ) ( 1

)

HtJ = t ci cj + h.c. + J Si Sj ni nj (2.55)

4

ij ij

with ci the annihilation operator restricted in the low energy Hilbert space.

In other words ci and ci act in the subspace with no double-occupancy, and

ci |i = 0 instead of creating a double-occupied state. The Hubbard model

and t-J model are considered as relevant to the high-temperature supercon-

ductivity in cuprates such as YBa2 Cu3 O6+x , La2x Srx CuO4 , etc. Although

they look simple, a controllable way to solve them has not been found despite

of tremendous eorts.

tion (2.54) for dierent physical systems, we still need to do more work to

obtain the low energy properties of the system. For simplicity, we consider

the Hamiltonian with only the exchange or superexchange term, which corre-

sponds to a system with all electrons localized and the lling is commensurate

30 2 Second quantization and its applications

(one electron per lattice site). Such a model with only spin interaction is called

a Heisenburg model. I would like to mention that such an approximation is

suitable for the superexchange case, as can be seen in the derivation from

Hubbard model to Heisenburg model. However for the case of exchange inter-

action, the system is usually still metallic, which means there are additional

electrons moving around beside the localized one forming the spin. Thus the

spin model only describes the physics approximately, when the metallic elec-

trons (usually called itinerant electrons) and localize electrons interact weakly.

We start from the exchange interaction

H = 2J F Si Sj (2.56)

ij

the ground state is ferromagnetic, with all spins aligned to one direction.

Electrons have spin 1/2 but for generality we study the model above with

generic spin S. Physically, a spin large than 1/2 can arise from the spin-spin

coupling of multiple electrons on the same site, which is known as the Hunds

rule coupling. The spin SU (2) algebra is

[Si , Sj ] = iijk Sk (2.57)

with S = S (S + 1). Dening S = Si iSy we have

2

[ + ] [ ] [ ]

S , Sz = iS + , S , Sz = iS , S + , S = 2Sz (2.58)

Thus S are similar to the annihilation and creation operators and Sz is simi-

lar to the number operator of harmonic oscillator. However Sz has eigenvalues

S, S + 1, ..., S 1, S which is dierent from the harmonic oscillator case.

In the large S limit we can consider a ferromagnetic state with Sz = S, and

small uctuation near that state. In that case one can dene

Sz = S + a a, S 2Sa, S + 2Sa (2.59)

More rigorously, we can also include the dierence between the two algebras

to obtain

Sz = S + a a, S = 2S a aa, S + = a 2S a a (2.60)

with the constraint a a 2S. This representation is called Holstein-Primako

transformation. In the way the spin Hamiltonian can be reduced to a harmonic

oscillator Hamiltonian

[ 1( + )

]

H = 2J F Siz Sjz + Si Sj + h.c.

2

ij

[ ]

2J F Sai ai Saj aj + Sai aj + aj ai

ij

( )

F

= 2J S ai aj (ai aj ) (2.61)

ij

2.2 Applications of second quantization 31

( )

H = 2J F Sa2d dd x a (a) (2.62)

limit, on square lattice we have

2

H = 2J F S ak ak eiki 1 (2.63)

k i=x,y,..

ferromagnetic phase (by choosing a direction of magnetization), the spin-wave

modes we obtain here are required to be gapless. Interestingly, the gapless spin

wave has quadratic dispersion rather than linear.

Now we study the anti-ferromagnetic system. With anti-ferromagnetic in-

teraction the spin on nearest neighbor sites prefer to be anti-parallel. This

is harder than being parallel because its not always possible to make each

two neighbor spins anti-parallel. It is only possible to have such a stateNeel

state if the lattice is bipartite, i.e. if the sites in the lattice can be colored to

two colors and only dierent color are adjacent to each other. For example

square lattice is bipartite, and triangular lattice is not. Classically, on a bipar-

tite lattice the ferromagnetic and anti-ferromagnetic states are simply related

by a rotation of spin on one of the sublattices. However quantum properties

of them are quite dierent.

Similar Holstein-Primako transformation can be dened. However, the

transformation needs to be dened dierently on the two sublattices since the

spin in the ground state is opposite for the two sublattices. Now we study

the antiferromagnetic spin system on two-dimensional square lattice. Take

Sz = S for sublattice A and Sz = S for sublattice B we dene

Siz = S + ai ai , Si = 2S ai ai ai , Si+ = ai 2S ai ai , i A

Siz = S ai ai , Si = ai 2S ai ai , Si+ = 2S ai ai ai , i B (2.64)

The Hamiltonian is expanded to

( ( ))

H=J Si Sj J Sai ai + Saj aj + S ai aj + aj ai (2.65)

ij ij

so that ai aj term appears. With Fourier transformation

[( ) ]

H = JS ak ak + ak ak (cos kx + cos ky ) + 4ak ak

k

( )( 2 cos kx + cos ky

)(

ak

)

= JS ak , ak (2.66)

cos kx + cos ky 2 ak

k

32 2 Second quantization and its applications

In this way the Hamiltonian looks like the one of graphene (2.39) which has a

2 2 matrix and needs to be diagonalized. However here the vector contains

ak and ak , so that we cannot use unitary transformation to diagonalize

the matrix. To gure out what transformations are allowed, we consider the

generic linear transformation to the vector:

( ) ( )

bk ak

=V (2.67)

bk ak

kernel matrix

( )

2 cos kx + cos ky

h=

cos kx + cos ky 2

On the other hand, we need to make sure bk is also a boson operator. Thus

we require

[( ) ] ( )

bk 1 0

, (b ,

k kb ) = z (2.68)

bk 0 1

V z V = z , V hV = D (2.69)

the matrix z . This is a generalized eigenvalue problem for matrix h which

can be also formulated to an eigenvalue problem:

1

hV = V D = z V z D z hV = V z D (2.70)

( )

2 cos kx + cos ky

z h = (2.71)

cos kx cos ky 2

which are

2

1,2 = Ek = 4 (cos kx + cos ky ) (2.72)

Correspondingly

( )

u k vk

V =

vk uk

1 1

uk = +

Ek 2

1 1

vk = sgn (cos kx + cos ky ) (2.73)

Ek 2

2.2 Applications of second quantization 33

2

H= bk 2JS 4 (cos kx + cos ky ) bk (2.74)

k

It should be noticed that during the derivation we always omit the constant

terms coming from commutators, which are irrelevant. It should be noticed

that this dispersion has a period in momentum space E(kx , ky ) = E(kx +

, ky + ), which is smaller than the period given by Brillouin zone of the

square lattice. Such a smaller momentum space unit cell is a consequence of

the larger real space unit cell since the two sublattices are not equivalent. The

low energy excitations are near k = (0, 0) and k = (, ). Near each point the

dispersion is linear:

Ek = 2 2JS |k| (2.75)

Thus the spin wave of antiferromagnetic spin state has linear dispersion, just

like phonons and photons. The transformation above is called bosonic Bo-

golubov transforation, which is the quantum version of canonical transfor-

mation of momentum and coordinate in classical mechanics.

Compared to ferromagnetic system where the Hamiltonian can be diag-

onalized without this Bogolubov transformation, there are some important

physical consequences beside the dierent dispersion. In the ferromagnetic s-

the spin is fully polarized given by Sz = S, since

tate, at zero temperature

Sz = S + a a and a a = 0. However in the antiferromagnetic case

1

Siz = S + ai ai = S + ak ak

N

k

1 ( )( )

= S + uk bk vk bk uk bk vk bk

N

k

1 2

= S + vk

N

k

d2 k 1 1

= S + 2

(2.76)

(2) 2 2

4 (cos kx + cos ky )

34 2 Second quantization and its applications

In the subsection above we have shown how the ferromagnetic and anti-

ferromagnetic spin models are treated in the large-S approximation. Usually,

spin models cannot be solved exactly. However in one dimension it is possible

to obtain exact solution. A simple and interesting example is the transverse

eld Ising model:

H = J iz i+1

z

h ix (2.77)

i i

Here iz and ix are the Pauli matrices which are related to spin operators of

spin-1/2 particle by Sia = 21 ia , a = x, y, z.

If h = 0, the Hamiltonian is classical, since iz all commute with each

other. If J > 0, the ground state is ferromagnetic with all spin up or all

spin down. Notice that we only have a coupling between z component of

spin so that there is no continuous spin rotation symmetry. Consequently

the ferromagnetic ground state only breaks a discrete symmetry, which is

the rotation around x direction. This operation is dened by the following

operator

R= ix , R2 = 1, R1 HR = H (2.78)

i

h term as perturbation to the h = 0 Hamiltonian, it can be seen that the

matrix element between the two ground states | ... and | ... is zero

until N -th order, with N the total number of sites.

( )m

... | h ix

| ... = 0, m < N (2.79)

i

gainst a small h. In other words, the symmetry wont be immediately recovered

for an innitesimal h because the two symmetry-breaking ground states are

only hybridized with an exponentially small matrix element.

On the other hand, if we consider the opposite limit J = 0, h = 0 we see

that all spins are aligned to +x direction if h > 0, so that the -rotation

symmetry along x is preserved. Thus there must be some critical value of h

where a phase transition occurs between the symmetry breaking and symme-

try preserving phases.

As has been discussed earlier, spin operators do not satisfy the boson or

fermion algebras, which make it dicult to solve it by unitary transformation.

The Hilbert space of the spin-1/2 model is 2N dimensional, with two states

on each site. Compared to a tight-binding model of fermions we see that the

states of spin-1/2 model have one-to-one correspondence to those of a fermion

2.2 Applications of second quantization 35

model, with only one orbital on each site (and no additioal spin degree of

freedom). The states | and | correspond to fermion states |0 and |1 in

occupation number basis. However, the Hamiltonian of a fermion and a spin

model is usually very dierent since the former is written as a function of

fermion operators ci , ci which anti-commute between dierent sites. In the

spin-1/2 language, this means the corresponding spin operators are non-local.

In generally, a fermion model can be mapped to a non-local spin model. The

non-locality makes this mapping useless. However, one-dimension is special

because two particles cannot exchange if they are not allowed to penetrate

into each other. The non-locality in the mapping above disappears in this case

which makes it possible to map a fermion model to a local spin model, and

vise versa. The transverse eld Ising model is solved because such a mapping

to a fermion model.

The mapping between fermion and spin is dened explicitly by

1 x

ni = ci ci = ( + 1)

2 i

1 y

i1

ci z

= (i + ii ) jx

2 j=1

1 y

i1

ci = (i ii )

z

jx (2.80)

2 j=1

{ }

{ci , cj } = 0, ci , cj = ij (2.81)

i1

The string operator j=1 jx is essential for the anti-commutation relation

ofci , ci

between dierent sites. This mapping from spin to fermions is called

Jordan-Wigner transformation. To map the Hamiltonian (2.77) to fermions,

we write down the inverse map

ix = 2ni 1

( ) i1

iy = ci + ci (2nj 1)

j=1

( ) i1

iz = i ci ci (2nj 1) (2.82)

j=1

[ 1

]

N

N

H = J i i+1 h

z z

i JN

x z z

1

i=1 i=1

36 2 Second quantization and its applications

N 1 ( )( )

N

=J ci ci ci+1 ci+1 (2ni 1) h (2ni 1)

i=1 i=1

( ) N

1 ( )

+J cN cN (2nj 1) c1 c1

j=1

N 1 ( )( )

=J ci + ci ci+1 ci+1 2h ni

i=1 i

( )

N ( )

+J cN + cN (2nj 1) c1 c1 (2.83)

j=1

to a non-interacting fermion model except the last term which is required by

the periodic boundary condition. If we study a system with open boundary

condition, the last term is absent and the spin model is completely equivalent

to a free fermion model, so that the problem can be exactly solved. For periodic

boundary condition we need to be more carefully about the last term. Notice

that the string factor

N

N

(2nj 1) = jx = R

j=1 j=1

symmetry of the Hamiltonian. Since [R, H] = 0, the Hamiltonian is diagonal-

ized in the eigenvalues of R. Since R2 = 1, R has only two eigenvalues 1.

We rst study the sub-Hilbert space with R = 1. In this case the Hamiltoni-

an is a free-fermion Hamiltonian which can be block-diagonalized by Fourier

transformation:

( )

H=J ci ci+1 + ci+1 ci + ci+1 ci + ci ci+1 2h ni

i i

[ ( )]

= (2J cos k 2h) ck ck + iJ sin k ck ck ck ck

k

( ) ( J cos k h iJ sin k

)(

ck

)

= ck , ck (2.84)

iJ sin k J cos k + h ck

k

This is the fermionic counter-part of Eq. (2.66) which is 2 and involves pair-

ing terms ck ck and ck ck . Similar to the boson case this Hamiltonian can be

diagonalized by Bogoliubov transformation. The fermionic Bogoliubov trans-

formation is simpler than boson because

{( ) } ( )

ck 10

, (ck , ck ) = (2.85)

ck 01

2.2 Applications of second quantization 37

Hamiltonian is diagonalized to

2

H= ak ak 2 (J cos k h) + J 2 sin2 k (2.86)

k

with

( ) ( )( )

ak uk vk ck

= (2.87)

ak vk uk ck

with

1 k

uk = +

2 2Ek

1 k

vk = isgn (J sin k) (2.88)

2 2Ek

2

with Ek = (J cos k h) + J 2 sin2 k, k = J cos k h

The energy Ek is usually gapped, for both large and small h/J, but it is

gapless for h = J. Going back to the spin model, the critical value h = J

corresponds to the phase transition we expected from the two limiting cases

h = 0 and J = 0.

It should be noticed that the Fermion model has a unique ground state de-

termined by occupation number ak ak = 0, while the spin model with |h| < J

has two degenerate ground states. Such a dierence comes from the require-

ment R = 1 we take when reducing the spin model to the fermion model.

If we take R = 1 we will get a slightly dierent Fermion model with also

a unique ground state. These two ground states are eigenstates of R. Since

the R operator ips between the two fully polarized states, its eigenstates are

superpositions of the fully polarized states | ... and | ... :

1

|G(R = 1) = (| ... | ... ) (2.89)

2

The open boundary system is also interesting. With open boundary, the

last term in Eq. (2.83) is absent, and the mapping to fermion is straight-

forward. As we know from the h = 0 limit, the phase with |h| < J has two

degenerate ground states. Correspondingly, the fermion system must also have

two degenerate ground

states. In a free fermion system the energy eigenval-

ues are given by m nm Em with Em the single particle energy eigenvalues

and nm the occupation number. Thus the ground state is degenerate only if

some Em = 0. Thus we obtain the conclusion that the Fermion Hamiltonian

(2.83) with open boundary should have a zero energy quasi-particle state for

|h| < J. This statement can be directly veried by solving the open boundary

Hamiltonian numerically or analytically. The zero mode has a wave-function

38 2 Second quantization and its applications

localized on the two edges of the chain. Such zero modes are called Majo-

rana zero modes because their relation to Majorana fermion, which is its own

anti-particle.

2.2.6 Bosonization

From the example of transverse-eld Ising model we have seen the special

property of one-dimensional system which makes boson (spin) and fermion

systems equivalent to each other. Another consequence of such equivalence

is the bosonization method which describes the low energy excitations of an

interacting fermion system by bosons. The intuitive reason why bosonization is

possible is that fermions do not penetrate into each other, so that the fermionic

statistics is not important. Thus the fermion with interaction behaves similarly

as coupled harmonic oscillators.

To be more precise, consider a one-d tight-binding Hamiltonian

( )

H = t ci ci+1 + h.c. ci ci

i i

1

+ V (ri rj ) (ni n) (nj n) (2.90)

2 i,j

in which n = N1 i ni is the average fermion density. Since total electron

number is conserved, we can consider n as a classical number. We use ni

n instead of ni in the interaction term so that the interaction term wont

change the fermion density for xed chemical potential . For simplicity we

consider spinless fermions so that the interaction only contains density-density

interaction. If we instead introduce an interaction term V ni nj , the fermion

density will depend on V , so that Fermi momentum kF and Fermi velocity

vF will be interaction dependent.

Consider the Fourier transformation of density operator ni which corre-

sponds to density uctuation:

1 1

(q) = ni eiqri = ck ck+q (2.91)

N i N k

tron at k + q and create one at k. The free fermion energy spectrum is

k = 2t cos k (2.92)

For 2t < < 2t there is a lled Fermi sea with Fermi surface consisting of

two points kF and kF . The states kF k kF are lled. Thus for the

ground state ck ck+q |G = 0 only if

2.2 Applications of second quantization 39

This leads to

kF q < k < kF , if q > 0

kF < k < kF + q, if q < 0 (2.94)

Consequently, for small q satisfying |q| kF , the operator (q) acting on

the ground state |G only creates some excitation around kF (kF ) if q > 0

(q < 0). Moreover, the energy of the excited state ck ck+q |G is given by

Ekq = k k+q . For q > 0 and kF q < k < kF we have approximately

k vF k, so that Ekq = vF q. Similarly for q < 0 we have Ekq = vF q.

Consequently the energy of the excited state (q) |G is simply Eq = vF |q|.

Such an observation strongly indicate that the density uctuations created

by (q) are linear dispersing bosons, just like phonons in a one-dimensional

chain. From the argument above one can see clearly that such a property is

special for 1d. For higher dimensions Ekq = k k+q depends on both k and

q even if |q| kF . To describe the density uctuations as bosons, we rst

separate the left movers and right movers.

1 1

(q) = ck ck+q =

ck ck+q +

ck ck+q + ck ck+q

N k N |k+k |< |kk |< other k

F F

= L + R + H (2.95)

with L and R containing the excitations near left and right Fermi surfaces,

and H the higher energy parts which are not important in low energy behav-

ior of the system. kF is a cut-o in momentum. The following treatment

is only correct for long wavelength limit q < . According to the discus-

sion above, L (q) creates particle-hole excitation for q > 0 and R (q) creates

excitation for q < 0. Thus we can naturally dene

L (q) = f (q)bq , q > 0

R (q) = f (q)bq , q < 0 (2.96)

The function f (q) can be determined by commutation relations.

[ ] 1 [ ] 1 ( )

L (q), L (q) = ck ck+q , ck +q ck = ck ck ck+q ck+q (2.97)

L L

k,k k

[ ] q

L (q), L (q) (2.98)

2

The same is true for R (q). Thus f (q) = |q| /2. As analyzed above, the

boson has the energy vF |q| so that the kinetic energy is eectively written as

Ht vF |q| bq bq (2.99)

|q|<

40 2 Second quantization and its applications

1 1

HV = V (ri rj ) (ni n) (nj n) = (q)(q)V (q)(2.100)

2 i,j 2

q=0

V (q) = V (ri )eiri q

i

Thus

1

HV (L (q) + R (q)) (L (q) + R (q)) V (q)

2

q=0

1 q ( )( ) 1 q ( )( )

= V (q) bq + bq bq + bq V (q) bq + bq bq + bq

2 q>0 2 2 q<0 2

( ) ( )

1 ( ) g4 g2 bq

= q bq , bq (2.101)

2 g2 g4 bq

q>0

in the last line we have dened the parameters g2 and g4 . For this interaction

g2 = g4 = V (q) but its helpful to keep it general since other type of interaction

may make them dierent. Physically, g4 corresponds to forward scattering and

g2 corresponds to back-scattering.

Once we get this form we can take H = Ht +HV and apply the Bogoliubov

transformation

( ( )( )

) vF + g4 /2 g2 /2 bq

H= q bq , bq

g2 /2 vF + g4 /2 bq

q>0

= Eq aq aq (2.102)

q=0

with

(

g4 )2 ( g2 )2

Eq = |q| vF + (2.103)

2 2

The relation between aq and bq can be obtained in the same way as in Eq.

(2.66). From this result we see that the interacting system is similar to non-

interacting system, with a renormalized Fermi velocity. However, it should be

remember that the ground state is not the non-interacting ground state any

more, because of the Bogoliubov transformation. (Recall that the same thing

happens for anti-ferromagnet, where the ground state is dierent from the

classical Neel ground state because of the Bogoliubov transformation.)

3

Path integral

3.1.1 Introduction to single-particle path integral

by R. P. Feynman. The advantage of path integral approach is its intuitive

relation to classical mechanics and its ability to provide some important non-

perturbative methods.

The idea of path integral is to focus on the time-evolution operator:

The time evolution of any given state | is given by |(t) = U (t) |. Cer-

tainly, U (t) for a given t contains all information about the Hamiltonian H,

so that U (t) contains full information of a quantum mechanical system.

Now consider the decomposition

( )N

U (t) = eiHt/N = U ()N , = t/N (3.2)

If we write down the matrix of operator U () and U (t) in some given basis |j

we see

UjN j0 (t) = UjN jN 1 ()UjN 1 jN 2 ()UjN 2 jN 3 ()...Uj1 j0 () (3.3)

j1 ,j2 ,...jN 1

a summation over all paths j0 j1 ...jN which ends at j0 and jN . This is the

simplest example of a path integral. What we really use in path integral is

a bit dierent, using overcomplete basis rather than complete ones, but the

idea is the same as above: the time-evolution operator U (t) can be obtained

by splitting into small time slices and summing over paths. This is possible

because the linearity of quantum mechanics.

42 3 Path integral

p2

H= + V (x) (3.4)

2m

The time-evolution operator U () for a small time is

U () = eiH I iH (3.5)

agonal, and hard to write down. Instead, we use both momentum and position

eigenstates. The completeness of each basis requires

dx |x x| = I, dp |p p| = I (3.6)

1 eipx . We insert the basis

2

dxdp ipx

I= dxdp |x x| p p| = e |x p| (3.7)

2

N

1

N

N

xN | U (t) |x0 = dxi dpi eipi xi pi | U () |xi1 (3.8)

i=1 i=1 i=1

The advantage of using both |p and |x is that both kinetic energy and

potential energy terms in the Hamiltonian has a simple form in the matrix

element pi | U () |xi1 .

eipi xi1 iH(pi ,xi1 ) (3.9)

Thus

N

1

{ }

N

N

xN | U (t) |x0 = dxi dpi exp i [pi (xi xi1 ) H(pi , xi1 )]

i=1 i=1 i=1

D[x(t)]|x(0)=x0 ,x(t)=xN D[p(t)]ei dt(pxH(p,x))

(3.10)

One can see that the term appears on the exponential is nothing but La-

grangian in classical mechanics. However Lagrangian is usually a function of

x, x but here we have L as a function of p and x, x. In the last step we have take

the approximation 0, N . The integral over xi , pi has been replaced

by functional integral which is integrated over the spaces of all paths. This

3.1 Single-particle path integral 43

The functional on the exponential

S[p(t), x(t)] = dt (px H(p, x)) (3.11)

An alternative representation can be obtained by integrating over pi ex-

p2i

plicitly. Since H(pi , xi1 ) = 2m + V (xi1 ), the action only contains quadratic

and linear terms in p so that the integration over p can be done explicitly to

obtain

N1

{ N [ ( 2 )]}

N pi

xN | U (t) |x0 = dxi dpi exp i pi (xi xi1 ) + V (xi1 )

i=1 i=1 i=1

2m

N1 ( )N/2 { N ( )}

2m m (xi xi1 )2

= dxi exp i V (xi1 )

i=1

i=1

2

= Const D[x(t)]ei dtL(x,x) (3.12)

with L(x, x) the Lagrangian. In this form, S = dtL(x, x) is exactly the same

quantity as the classical action. This expression tells us that the possibility

amplitude of a particle at x0 (at time t = 0) to appear at position xN at

time t is given by a superposition of innite number of phase factors, each

of which is determined by the action of a classical path. One nice property

of path integral approach is that the classical limit is explicitly recovered.

In the derivation above we have omitted the Planck constant h. Recovering

h the phase factor in the integrand should be eiS/h . In the classical limit

of h 0 (which physically means action S is very large compared to h),

the main contribution comes from stationary point of S[x(t)], since all other

contributions are oscillating in very fast frequency. The stationary point of

S[x(t)] recovers the classical path correctly.

Generically, a system with Hamiltonian H at temperature T is described by

the following partition function

( )

Z = Tr eH (3.13)

with = 1/T the inverse temperature. The partition function describes the

thermodynamic properties of the system, such as the specic heat we com-

puted in the rst Chapter. One can easily see the similarity between eH

and eitH , so that eH can also be expressed in path integral, with it .

For the same single particle system

44 3 Path integral

( H ) d L(p,x,x)

Z = Tr e = D[p( )]D[x( )]e 0 (3.14)

( 2 )

p

L(p, x, x) = ipx + + V (x) (3.15)

2m

Due to the trace in the denition of Z, the path integral in this case is carried

over p( ), x( ) with periodic boundary condition. Dierent from the unitary

evolution case, L is not real. If we integrate over momentum p, the sign of

kinetic energy term is changed:

d 1 mx2 +V (x))

Z = Const D[x( )]e 0 ( 2 (3.16)

The path integral expressions (3.15) and (3.16) can be obtained from substi-

tution dt id in the real time expressions (3.10) and (3.12) respectively.

We consider the imaginary time path integral

d 1 mx2 + 12 m 2 x2 )

Z = D[x( )]e 0 ( 2 (3.17)

The action is quadratic in x and x so that the integral can be exactly com-

puted. Take a fourier transform

1 in 2n

x( ) = e xn , n (3.18)

nZ

Then

Z= dxn e n

( 21 mn2 |xn |2 + 12 m2 |xn |2 ) (3.19)

n

( 2

)1/2 1

Z= = Const. (3.20)

m ( 2 + n2 ) + in

nZ nZ

log Z = log ( + in ) (3.21)

n

up to a constant, so that

log Z 1

= (3.22)

n

+ in

3.1 Single-particle path integral 45

The function

1

f () = (3.23)

n

+ in

sion

( )

1 1

f () = + = coth (3.24)

e 1 2

2 2

(The constant 1/2 is determined by the requirement of no pole at = .)

Thus

( )

1

log Z = log sinh Z= (3.25)

2 sinh

2

This is consistent with the direct calculation of trace

[ ] [ ] e/2 1

Z = Tr eH = Tr e(n+1/2) = = (3.26)

1 e 2 sinh

2

It should be noticed that a constant in front of Z does not change any physical

quantity, which can always be omitted.

For more general potential V (x), the path integral is not Gaussian and

cannot be calculated rigorously. In the semi-classical limit, the most important

path is the classical path xcl (t), so that we can expand around xcl (t) as x(t) =

xcl (t) + x(t). The action can be expanded to the second order

S[x(t)] = S[xcl (t) + x(t)] = dtL(x, x)

[ ( ( ))

L L

dt L(xcl , xcl ) + t x

x x

( 2 ( 2 ) ( 2 ))]

L 2 2 L L

+ x + x + 2x x (3.27)

x2 x2 x x

where the second line vanishes according to Lagrange equation. In this expan-

sion, one obtains a quadratic approximate action for which the path integral

can be calculated. For real time, the result is

( [ 2 ( 2 ) ( 2 ) ])1/2

L L L

xf | U (t) |xi e iS(xcl )

Det + 2

t + 2 t (3.28)

x2 x2 x x

where the determinant comes from the Gaussian integral. For the action L =

2 mx V (x), the determinant is dened as

1 2

[ ]

Det mt2 V (x) = n

n

( 2 )

mt V (x) fn (x) = n fn (x)

46 3 Path integral

particle in the double well potential V (x) with two minima at x = a. We

want to calculate the possibility of a particle tunneling from one well to the

other, given by

a| U (t) |a (3.29)

The stationary phase approximation does not apply since there is no classical

path connecting the two minima. This is an example where the property

we are interested (quantum tunneling) cannot be obtained from semi-classical

picture. The trick to solve this problem is to introduce a Wick rotation t i

which rotates the time-evolution operator U (t) = eitH to the imaginary time

evolution operator U ( ) = e H . In the imaginary time the Lagrangian

1

LE = mx2 + V (x) (3.30)

2

so that the barrier between the two wells becomes a potential trap, and there

is a classical path from a to a, satisfying the equation of motion

mx = x V (x) (3.31)

which is dierent from the real time equation of motion by a 1 on the right

side. This equation has a classical solution starting from a and ending at a.

According to the equation of motion

mxx = x V (x)x

(m )

d x2 = dxx V (x)

2

m

x2cl = V (x) (3.32)

2

in the last step we have used V (a) = 0 and xcl = 0 when x = a. Thus the

classical action

( ) a a

m 2

S= d x + V (xcl ) = dxmx = dx 2mV (x) (3.33)

0 2 cl a a

This proves that the action of this classical path is determined by the potential

V (x). Near x = a and x = a, V (x) is quadratic. Near x = a V (x)

1 2 2

2 m (x + a) , so that the dierential equation

m 2

x = V (x) xcl = a + ce (3.34)

2 cl

and similar for the neighborhood of a. Thus we see that the solution stays near

x = a and x = +a for most of the time, and only for a time window of the

3.1 Single-particle path integral 47

in the treatment of this problem. In the imaginary time, the simplest path

from a to a is thus such a fast transition which is localized in time. Such a

process is called an instanton. Since the instanton process happens in a time

window of 1/, if we are interested in much longer time scale there can be

processes of multiple instantons. If we make an analogy from the imaginary

time to a one-dimensional space, the instantons are like particles and the

multiple instanton process is like a gas of multiple particles. (The instanton

going from a to a are called anti-instantons.) The tunneling amplitude can

be obtained by summing over the instanton contributions. There are always

odd number of instantons so that the particle goes from a to a.

a| U ( ) |a A2n1 (3.35)

n=1

t1 t2n2

A2n1 = dt1 dt2 ... dt2n1 K 2n1 e(2n1)Sins

0 0 0

1 ( )2n1

= KeSins U0 ( ) (3.36)

(2n 1)!

a

where Sins = a dx 2mV (x) is the single instanton contribution to the ac-

tion. U0 ( ) is the evolution amplitude without instanton U0 ( ) a| U ( ) |a

which can be approximated by a harmonic oscillator. K is the determinant

from the stationary phase approximation. The integral over time is done over

2n 1 instantons and anti-instantons which are aligned alternatively at time

t1 , t2 , ...t2n1 . Thus

1 ( )2n1

a| U ( ) |a U0 ( ) KeSins

n

(2n 1)!

( )

= U0 ( ) sinh KeSins (3.37)

|a| n| e(n+1/2) e /2 |a| 0| e /2

2 2

U0 ( ) = a| U ( ) |a =

n

Thus

( )

a| U ( ) |a e /2 sinh KeSins (3.38)

Sins

a| U (t) |a eit( 2 Ke

) + eit( 2 +KeSins ) (3.39)

48 3 Path integral

The two Fourier components with frequency 2 KeSins are the bounding

and anti-bounding states of the ground states of the two well.

Although in this simple problem the overlap can be obtained by simpler

approach, the instanton approach is generally more helpful in more compli-

cated theories such as eld theories with nontrivial instanton congurations.

The path integral formulism is useful for both perturbative and nonpertur-

bative treatments to a quantum system. Although we will study more about

the perturbation theory in the next Chapter, its helpful to show how physi-

cal quantities are calculated in path integral formulism in a simple example.

We consider a single electron in a harmonic oscillator potential and apply

an external electric eld. We know that if we apply a static electric eld, a

charge dipole moment will be induced because the electron position is shifted.

However, if we apply a time-dependent electric eld and want to know the

response, it is not so straightforward to see the answer. In the following we

will show how to obtain the answer in path integral.

The system has the time-dependent Hamiltonian

p2 1

H= + m 2 x2 E(t)x (3.40)

2m 2

Here we have taken the electron charge e = 1. The electric eld has a generic

time dependence. The problem we want to solve is the charge polarization,

which is also time dependent and given by

assume the electric eld is turned on gradually starting from time , the

time-evolution is

t

i H(t )dt

|G(t) = T e |G0 U (t, ) |G0 (3.42)

t

i H(t )dt

Te = lim eiH(t) eiH(t) eiH(t2) ... (3.43)

0

time does not commute. Then

to the linear order of the eld E(t). In general the linear response has the

form

3.1 Single-particle path integral 49

P (t) = dt D(t, t )E(t ) (3.45)

with

P (t)

D(t, t ) = (t t ) (3.46)

E(t )

tion, we notice that

U (t, )

= U (t, t )ixU (t , ) (3.47)

E(t )

Thus

G0 | U (, t )ixU (t , t)xU (t, ) |G0 ] (3.48)

so that

Eq. (3.50) is a very generic result. From the derivation we can see that this

kind of expression occurs for a generic linear response problem. In general, an

external eld F is included in the Hamiltonian H = H(F ). The response of

some physical quantity O to the external eld F is given by

O(t) = G| O(t) |G = O0 + dt D(t t )F (t )

[ ]

H(F )

D(t t ) = i(t t ) G| O(t), (t ) |G (3.51)

F

To relate this expression to path integral, we assume that the electric eld

is gradually turned on starting from t = , and also gradually turned o at

t +. Then the ground state |G0 will nally return to the ground state.

In other words,

G0 | U (+, t)xU (t, ) |G0

P (t) = (3.53)

G0 | U (+, ) |G0

50 3 Path integral

we still need to input |G0 . To further simplify the calculation, we introduce

the following operator

t2

i dtH(t)(1i)

U (t2 , t1 ) = T e t1

, for t2 > t1 , = 0+ (3.54)

of this modication, we take E = 0 case as a simplest example, in which case

t1

since all excitation states are suppressed exponentially. When electric eld is

considered, but the electric eld goes to zero for t , the term does not

change anything during the time interval where the electric eld is important,

but it provides the projection to the ground state near , where electric

eld is absent and the discussion above applies.

Thus we can write

Tr [U (+, t)xU (t, )]

P (t) = (3.57)

Tr [U (+, )]

Z[E(t)] = Tr [U (+, )]

{ + ( ( 2 ) )}

p 1

= D[x(t)]D[p(t)] exp i dt px + m 2 x2 E(t)x ei

2m 2

+

i dtL (t)

= Const. D[x(t)]e (3.58)

( )

1 1

L (t) = mx2 ei m 2 x2 E(t)x ei

2 2

dierent from the denominator by inserting a x at time t. It is helpful to write

it as a variation to the denominator:

+

i dtL (t)

Tr [U (+, t)xU (t, )] = D[x(t)]x(t)e

1 Z[E(t)]

= (3.59)

i E(t)

Thus

3.1 Single-particle path integral 51

P (t) = = i (3.60)

iZ[E(t)] E(t) E(t)

P (t) for any time t depends on the electric eld E(t ) for all time t . In other

words, it is a functional of E(t). For the harmonic oscillator, the path integral

is Gaussian, so that we can obtain the functional P (t) = P (t)[E(t )] rigorously.

However it is helpful to keep the discussion general so that it can be applied

to other systems. In general, we can expand P (t) to the linear order of E(t).

Since P = 0 if E = 0, the zeroth order vanishes. In the linear order,

P (t) dt G(t, t )E(t )

with D(t, t ) = = i (3.61)

E(t ) E(t )E(t)

is the second order coecient.

1

Se [E(t)] i log Z[E(t)] dtdt G(t, t )E(t)E(t ) (3.62)

2

The quantity Se is called eective action which governs the response of

the system to electric eld. Eq. (3.61) can be written as

( )

2 log Z[E(t)] 1 Z

G(t, t ) = i = i

E(t )E(t) E(t ) Z E(t)

[ ( )( )]

1 2Z 1 Z 1 Z

= i

Z E(t )E(t) Z E(t) Z E(t )

= i (T x(t)x(t ) x(t) x(t )) (3.63)

with (x) the step function dened by (x) = 1 for x > 0 and (x) = 0 for

x < 0. It should be noticed that now all average values are calculated in the

ground state with E = 0 since the E dependence has been expanded to the

second order and so that the second order coecient G(t, t ) is calculated at

E = 0.

Now the question is how to relate the time-ordered Green function (3.64)

which can be obtained from the path integral and the response coecient

(3.50). D(t, t ) can be rewritten as

= 2ReGR (t, t ) (3.65)

52 3 Path integral

Thus we can obtain the time-ordered Green function and take the retarded

sector to obtain the physical quantity we want.

For the harmonic oscillator, the eective action Se can be obtained ex-

plicitly by integrating over x(t).

{ [ ( ) ]}

1 1

Z[E(t)] = D[x(t)] exp i dt mx2 ei m 2 x2 E(t)x ei

2 2

{ [ ]}

1 ( )

= D[x ] exp i d m 2 ei 2 ei x x + ei E x

2

{ }

e2i

= Const. exp i d E E (3.67)

2m ( 2 ei 2 ei )

Thus

1

Se = i log Z[E(t)] = d E E (3.68)

2m ( e 2 e3i )

2 i

d 1

D(t, t ) = e3i 2i

ei (tt ) (3.69)

2

2 m ( e )

2

The overall e3i factor goes to 1 at 0+ limit and can be omitted, but

the e2i at the denominator cannot be omitted because the function has

singularity at = where the regularization is important.

( )

1 d 1 1

G(t, t ) = i

i

ei (tt ) (3.70)

2m 2 e + e

The rst term

1 d 1

GR (t, t ) = i

ei (tt )

2m 2 e

i i(tt )

= e (t t ) (3.71)

2m

The factor (t t ) appears because for t t > 0, ei(tt ) is analytic at

lower half plane of , so that the integration path can be closed at lower

half plane and obtain the result from the residual theorey. For t t < 0 the

integration path can be closed at upper half plane and the result is 0 because

the pole of the function is at ei below the real axis. Due to the factor

(t t ) this part is called retarded correlation function, or Green function.

Similarly the second term in Eq. (3.70)

1 d 1

GA (t, t ) = i

ei (tt )

2m 2 + e

i i(t t)

= e (t t) (3.72)

2m

3.2 Functional path integral 53

Thus we have

1

D(t, t ) = 2ReGR (t t ) = sin (t t )(t t ) (3.73)

m

There is a nice expression of this relation between D(t, t ) and G(t, t )

in the Fourier transformed frequency space. This expression can be obtained

generally using the following general mathematical fact:

For a function f (t), t R, dene f () = d 2 f (t)e

it

. f () can be ana-

lytically continuated to the complex plane. Dene f () = fR () + fA (),

with fR () analytical on the top half plane, and fA () analytical on the

bottom half plane. Thus we have

fR (t) f (t)(t) = dtfR ()eit ,

fA (t) f (t)(t) = dtfA ()eit , (3.74)

= GR (t t ) + [GR (t t )] (3.75)

D() = GR () + [GR ()] (3.76)

G(t , t) because of the time-ordering. (It should be noticed that this is only true

when the two operators in the Green function are the same.) Thus GR (t, t ) =

GA (t , t) and GR () = GA (). Consequently

D() = GR () + [GA ()] (3.77)

from G() by taking conjugation to the advanced part GA (). In other words,

D() can be obtained by moving all the poles of G() above the real axis to

the mirror position below the real axis.

3.2.1 Boson coherent state path integral

alized to many-body systems. For boson systems such as the coupled har-

monic oscillators, the generalization is straight forward. For example the one-

dimensional phonon problem with the Lagrangian density

54 3 Path integral

m

L (, ) = (3.78)

2

which corresponds to the path integral

f

f | U (t) |i = D[]e dtdxL

(3.79)

i

basiscoherent state basis, which also helps the generalization to fermion sys-

tems. We start from a single harmonic oscillator. The path integral (3.10) is

integrated over both momentum p and position x. The harmonic oscillator

operator is dened by

( )

1 1

a= mx + i p (3.80)

2 m

Now in the path integral formulism x and p become classical numbers, so that

we can also group them into a and a . The transformation from x, p to a, a

is unitary, so that no additional factors appear from Jacobian. The harmonic

oscillator action can be transformed as

p2 m 1

(a a ) t (a + a )

2

L = px V (x) = i |a|

2m 2 2m

= a (it ) a (3.81)

In the last step, integration by part has been applied. One can check straight-

forwardly that this expression leads to the same partition function as Eq.

(3.26).

Such a unitary transformation from (x, p) to (a, a ) corresponds to a basis

change in the denition of path integral. Instead of inserting p and x eigen-

states, eigenstates of the operator a are used, which are called coherent states.

The coherent states are dened by

a | = | (3.82)

Since each state in the harmonic oscillator Hilbert space can be written as

| = A(a ) |0, the function A(a ) satises

[ ]

a, A(a ) = A(a ) (3.83)

[ ]

Due to a, a = 1 we have the general expression

[ ]

a, A(a ) = A(a ) (3.84)

a

Thus the function A(a ) satises the dierential equation

3.2 Functional path integral 55

A(a ) = A(a )

a

A(a ) = Cea (3.85)

The state

1

| = Cea |0 = C n |n (3.86)

n=0 n!

C = e 2 ||

1 2

(3.87)

1 ||2 +||2 ||2 +||2

( ) e 2

n

| = = e 2 (3.88)

n

n!

2 1

d d | | = d de|| n m |n m|

n,m n!m!

1

d de|| || |n n|

2 2n

=

n

n!

= |n n| = I (3.89)

n

d d

I= | | (3.90)

we can obtain the path integral of a generic harmonic oscillator system with

the Hamiltonian H = H(a, a ). Dene H in normal order so that a is always

on the left of a, then

N

1

dn dn ( )

N

f | U (t) |i = n | I iH(a , a) |n1

n=1

n=1

t

i 0 dt ( t H( ,))

= DD e (3.91)

and thus the quantum bosonic eld theories, such as Maxwell theories.

56 3 Path integral

integral expression of fermion systems. We consider the eigenstates of fermion

annihilation operator:

c | = | (3.92)

Since for fermion there are only two states, | = a |0 + b |1, then

c | = b |0 = (a |0 + b |1) (3.93)

From this equation it seems that the only eigenstate of c is |0 with eigenvalue

0. To obtain a nontrivial coherent state for fermions, we dene the formal

Grassman numbers which satisfy the Grassman algebra: = , 2 =

0. Such an algebra allows a nontrivial solution of the eigenvalue equation:

b = , a = 1. The state

( )

| = |0 |1 = 1 c |0 = ec |0 (3.94)

) The overlap

| = + 1 (3.95)

( )

1

| = 1 |0 |1 = e /2 ec |0 (3.96)

2

To use these eigenstates in the path integral we dene the integral over Grass-

man number

d = 0, d = 1 (3.97)

d d | | = d d [(1 /2) |0 |1] [0| (1 /2) 1| ]

=I (3.98)

number, dierentiation and integral are equivalent.

In this formulation, a fermion system with Hamiltonian H = H(c , c)

(normal ordered in the same way as boson case) has the path integral repre-

sentation

t

dt ( t H( ,))

f | eitH |i = D[(t)]e 0

i

(3.99)

3.2 Functional path integral 57

Similar expression can be obtained for imaginary time path integral repre-

sentation of eH . However there is one important dierence from the boson

case

[ when] we consider the imaginary time path integral representation of

Tr eH . We have

[ ]

Tr eH = 0| eH |0 + 1| eH |1

= d d | eH | (3.100)

1 sign coming from exchanging and in | and |. Consequently,

the path integral representation is integrated over ( ) with anti-periodic

boundary condition () = (0). This is the key dierence between boson

and fermion.

Similar to boson case, the Gauss integral for fermions can be obtained

explicitly:

d dea = d (1 a ) = a (3.101)

Aij j

di di e i,j i = det A (3.102)

i

H = c c (3.103)

( +)

Z= D De 0

= dn dn e n

n n (in +)

n

= (in + ) (3.104)

n

(2n 1)

with n = ,n Z (3.105)

Notice the frequency shift of / compared to the boson case, which leads to

dierent behavior of the partition function

Z = 1 + e (3.106)

4

Perturbation Theory and Beyond

The free boson and free fermion theories can be solved exactly by diagonal-

ization. In the path integral formulism, they corresponds to the Gaussian

integral which can be carried out

( exactly. For

) example a free boson theory

with Lagrangian density L = 2m 1

2 has the partition function

[ ( )]1/2

d dxL 1 2

Z= De 0 = Det (4.1)

2m

If there is a non-harmonic term, for example

( )

1 2 4

L = + g || (4.2)

2m

If we interpret this theory as the massive phonon modes for two chain system

we studied in Homework 1, such an 4 term corresponds to a non-harmonic

interaction between the atoms in the two chains.

With the 4 term we cannot obtain the partition function and other phys-

ical quantities rigorously. Thus the simplest thing is to expand the partition

function Z(, g) in g, which is the perturbation theory that we are going to

study in this Chapter. However, this expansion is a bit tricky. To understand

whether this perturbation is well-dened, we study a simple example by re-

placing the path integral by a nite dimensional integral of the same form.

Consider the integral

Z(g) = dxe 2 x gx

a 2 4

(4.3)

1 ( )n

dxe 2 x

a 2

Z(g) = gn x4 fn g n (4.4)

n=0

n! n

60 4 Perturbation Theory and Beyond

The coecient

( )

n

(1) a x 2

4n (1)n 2n a 2

x 2n (1)n 22n 2n 2

fn = dxe 2 x = dxe 2 (2) =

n! n! a2n n! a2n a

2 2n (4n 1)!!

= (1)n a (4.5)

a n!

To see if this expansion converges, we notice that the error of n-th order

expansion is

n 2 ( )m

m m 1 a

Dn+1 (g) = Z(g) fm g = g dxe 2 x

x 4

m!

m=0 m=n+1

1 a 2 ( )n+1

g n+1 dxe 2 x x4 = g n+1 |fn+1 |

(4.6)

(n + 1)!

The function Dn (g) vs n is not monotonously decreasing:

g

log Dn (g) = n log 2 + log ((4n 1)!!) log n!

a

g ( )

= n log 2 + log ((4n 1)!) log 22n1 (2n 1)! log n!(4.7)

a

A constant has been omitted in the last step. Use the asymptotic formula

log(n!) n (log n 1) we have

( g)

log Dn (g) 6 log 2 + log 2 n + n (log n 1) (4.8)

a

Thus

( g)

log Dn (g) 6 log 2 + log 2 + log n (4.9)

n a

Consequently the minimal occurs at

26 a2

n= (4.10)

g

where

26 a2

Dn = en = e g (4.11)

This derivation shows that the error of the expansion decreases until the order

6 2

of n = 2 g a , and then starts to increase again. It is understandable that the

perturbation theory does not converge, because we see that the function Z(g)

6 2

diverges for g < 0. However if 2 g a 1, the minimal error we can get is

exponentially small. Since high order perturbation theory is usually dicult,

for small g all calculations we can do will be safely in the perturbative

region where the expansion look like converging. However for large value of

g, this derivation above shows that the expansion does not make sense even

if you can calculate to high order of perturbation.

4.2 More general cases and Feyman diagram 61

To see the general structure of the perturbation theory, we consider a simple

generalization of the 1d integral given above:

n

dxi e 2 ai x2i gijkl xi xj xk xl

1

Z(g) = i (4.12)

i=1

the deviation from Gaussian integral. The same perturbative expansion can

be made as above:

2 (g

n n

ijkl xi xj xk xl )

dxi e 2 i ai xi

1

Z(g) =

i=1 n

n!

n

1 n

( )

= Z(0) gi4a3 i4a2 i4a1 i4a xi4a3 xi4a2 xi4a1 xi4a

n

n! a=1 a=1

(4.13)

n

1

n 2

n

dxi e 2 i ai xi

1

xi4a3 xi4a2 xi4a1 xi4a = xi4a3 xi4a2 xi4a1 xi4a

a=1

Z(0) i=1 a=1

(4.14)

Instead of directly calculate the integral which is not as easy as the single

avor case, we introduce a general formulism:

1 ( 4

)n n

21

ai x2i +

Ji xi

Z(g) = gijkl dxi e i i

n

n! Ji Jj Jk Jl

i=1

n

J=0

1 n 4n

2 J /2ai

2

= gi4a3 i4a2 i4a1 i4a e i i

n! J i b i=1

a i

n a=1 b=1

J=0

1 ( ) Ji2 /2ai

n 4n

= Z(0) gi4a3 i4a2 i4a1 i4a e i (4.15)

n

n! Jib

a=1 b=1 J=0

In this way, each term in the expansion is a derivative to the Gaussian function

of the source eld Ji . According to the property of the Gaussian function,

the derivative is only nonzero if the derivative to each Ji is done even number

of times.

Ji2 /2ai

4n

i1 i2 i3 i4 i4n1 i4n

e i = ... + permutations (4.16)

Jib ai1 ai3 ai4n1

b=1 J=0

62 4 Perturbation Theory and Beyond

where permutations stands for all other ways of pairing up the 4n indices

ib into 2n pairs. This is the Wick Theorem:

2n

n

1

xib = ic ic (4.17)

a

c=1 ic

b=1 pairing

Applying the Wick theorem, the perturbative expansion (4.15) can be

represented by Feynman diagrams. The 4n indices of n interaction terms need

to be paired up. Thus we can simply draw each interaction gijkl as a vertex

with four lines meeting. Pairing up the indices is done by connecting lines

pairwise, as shown in Fig. 4.2 (a). For each of such diagrams D we have 1/ai

for each line, and gijkl for each vertex, as shown in Fig. 4.2 (b). The factor

n! can be canceled by the permutation of dierent interaction vertices. In

other words if we dene the diagrams without a labeling of the vertices, the

perturbation expansion becomes

Z(g) = Z(0) V (D) (4.18)

Diagrams D

where V (D) = Ivertex of D giI jI kI lI IJ link of D a1i .

I

One interesting observation from the diagrammatic point of view is that

a diagram which is disconnected denoted by D = D1 D2 simply contributes

as V (D) = V (D1 )V (D2 ). Consequently each connected diagram is counted

many times in higher order. This can be written as an equation

V (D) = exp V (D) (4.19)

Diagrams D connected diagrams D

Consequently

log Z(g) = log Z(0) + V (D) (4.20)

connected diagrams D

the two-point function

2 log Z(g, J)

xi xj xi xj = (4.21)

Ji Jj J=0

Similar diagrammatic expansion can be made, but with two more derivatives

in each term. This corresponds to the diagrams with external lines which

are not contracted.

2

Z(g, J)|J=0 = V (Dij ) (4.22)

Ji Jj

Dij

4.2 More general cases and Feyman diagram 63

with V (Dij ) the diagram with external lines i, j, as shown in Fig. 4.2 (c). In

general, we have the Taylor expansion

[ ]

1 1 ( ) Ji2 /2ai

m n 4n

Z(g, J) = Jj Z(0) gi4a3 i4a2 i4a1 i4a e i

m

m! a=1 a Jja n

n! a=1 Jib

b=1 J=0

1 m

= Jj V (Dj1 j2 ...jm ) (4.23)

m

m! a=1 a

D

Similar to the case without external lines, we can also relate the diagrammatic

sum to summation over connected diagrams:

64 4 Perturbation Theory and Beyond

1 m

log Z(g, J) = Jj V (Dj1 j2 ...jm ) (4.24)

m

m! a=1 a

connected diagrams

n log Z(g, J)

= V (Di1 ...in ) (4.25)

Ji1 Ji2 ...Jin J=0

connected Di1 ..in

case of functional path integral. For example for the theory in Eq. (4.2), we

can diagonalize the quadratic part by Fourier transformation, so that

(i+p2 /2m)|p |2

dp dp e

d dxL

Z(g = 0) = De 0 = ,p

,p

(4.26)

1

1 p1 2 p2 3 p3 4 p4 ei(1 +2 3 4 ) (p1 +p2 p3 p4 )x

4

d dx || = 2

d dx

(L) i ,pi

1

= p p (p1 + p2 p3 p4 )(1 + 2 3 4 )

L ,p 1 p1 2 p2 3 3 4 4

i i

(4.27)

Thus the lines in the Feynman diagrams are labeled by Green functions

1

Gp = p2

(4.28)

i + 2m

g

gpi i = (p1 + p2 p3 p4 )(1 + 2 3 4 ) (4.29)

L

with the function determined by the energy and momentum conservation

law. It should be noticed that the lines in the Feynman diagram now has an

arrow, to distinguish and . The Feynman rule in this case is summarized

in Fig. 4.2 (d).

In the discussion above we have been using imaginary time path integral.

For the real time the formulas look similar, but we need to remember the

regulator ei we introduced before. The lines correspond to the time-ordered

Green function

1

Gp = p2 i

(4.30)

2m e

4.3 Perturbative approach to interacting electron gas 65

Instead of studying the boson theory above in more details, we study the

interacting electron gas as a more physical example to apply the perturbation

theory. The perturbation theory and diagrammatic representation above can

be generalized to Fermion system straightforwardly.

n

di di e 2 i ai i i gijkl i j k l

1

Z(g) =

i=1

1 ( 4

)n n

i i +i i )

= gijkl di di e i

ai i i +

i

(

n

n! i j k l

i=1

J=0

1 n

( )

2n

i i /ai

= Z(0) gi4a3 i4a2 i4a1 i4a e i (4.31)

n

n! a=1 ib jb

b=1 J=0

It should be noticed that we have to use and in the quadratic term rather

than 2 because i2 = 0. The source terms i is coupled to the Grassman eld

i so that i must be also Grassman-valued.

The derivative to Gaussian function can be calculated by Wick theorem in

the same way as boson case, but the Fermi sign needs to be treated carefully.

Since the derivative operators /i and / i are all anti-commuting to each

other, the dierent terms in the Wick theorem expansion is assigned dierent

sign:

n

n n

1

ia jb = (1)NP ic P (jc ) (4.32)

a

c=1 ic

a=1 b=1 P pairing

Here P labels the way to pair the indices ia of i with the indices jb of i . NP

is the number of permutations for a given pairing P respecting to a reference

conguration. P (jc ) stands for the label which is paired with ic . For example,

1 2 3 4 = 1 4 2 3 1 3 2 4

1

= (14 23 13 24 ) (4.33)

a1 a2

Now we apply this mechanism to the electron gas with Coulomb interac-

tion. In the coherent state path integral,

Z = DDeS[,]

{ [ ( ) ]

2

S[, ] = d d x +

3

(x)

0 2m

}

1

+ d xd yV (x y) (x) (y) (y) (x)

3 3

(4.34)

2

66 4 Perturbation Theory and Beyond

( )

p2 1

S[, ] = p in + p + 3

p+q, p q, V (q)p p,

2m 2L

p,n , p,p ,q,,

with V (q) = d3 xV (x)eiqx (4.35)

p. The momentum and energy conservation condition in the interaction term

has been explicitly assured. Similar to the discussion for the boson eld theory,

the perturbation theory to the interacting electron gas can be described by

Feynman diagrams. Each line stands for the free fermion Greens function

1

G(p, in ; ) = (4.36)

in + p2 /2m

term is a degree-4 vertex with the value of V (q). The Feynman rule is

summarized in Fig. 4.3.1 (a).

1 1

F = log Z = V (D) (4.37)

Dconnecteddiagrams

with only one interaction vertex, which include the two diagrams as shown in

Fig. 4.3.1 (b). It should be noticed that these two diagrams are not equivalent

because the outer two lines have the same spin index while the inner two

lines have a dierent spin . The two diagrams correspond to the values

1

V (D1 ) = 3

V (q = 0) G(p, in , )G(p , in , )

2L p,p

1

V (D2 ) = V (q)G(p + q, in , )G(p, in , ) (4.38)

2L3 p,q,in ,

Going back to the real space, the rst term is proportional to d3 xd3 yV (x

y) (x) (y) which only depends on V (q = 0) because (x) is independent

from x in a uniform system. This term is called Hartree term which only plays

a role in an inhomogeneous system.

The second term is called Fock term which is non-vanishing and gives a

correction to the free energy

4.3 Perturbative approach to interacting electron gas 67

1

F (1) = V (q)G(p + q, in + in , )G(p, in , )

2 2 L3

p,q,in ,in ,

1 1 1

= V (q) (4.39)

2 L3 i (n + n ) + p+q in + p

p,q,in ,in

in which the sum over spin simply gives a factor of 2, and p p2 /2m .

Using

1

= nF (), (4.40)

in + e +1

n =(2n1)/

with nF () = e1+1 the Fermi distribution function, the sum over frequency

can be done explicitly:

1

F (1) = nF (p+q )nF (p )V (q) (4.41)

L3 p,q

which is 1 for p2 /2m < 0 or equivalently |p| < kF = 2m, and 0

otherwise. Thus

d3 p d3 p

F (1) = L3 3 3

V (p p ) (4.42)

|p|<kF (2) |p |<kF (2)

e2 4e2

V (q) = d3 xeiqx = (4.43)

|x| |q|

2

which leads to

e2 L3 kF4

F (1) = (4.44)

(2)4

To understand this result more physically, we compare it with the free electron

kinetic energy

d3 p p2

kF

p4 kF5

F (0) = L3 3

= L 3

dp 2

= L3 (4.45)

|p|<kF (2) 2m 0 2m 10m 2

(One may wonder whether there is an ambiguity in the denition of the kinetic

energy because the arbitrary choice of zero point. The zero point is dened

with reference to the band bottom, i.e the lowest energy of each fermion. )

Thus the ratio between interaction and kinetic energy is given by

(1)

F 5e2 m

rs = (4.46)

F (0) 8 2 kF

68 4 Perturbation Theory and Beyond

As has been discussed in the second chapter, the electron density is given by

the volume enclosed by the Fermi surface:

4 1 kF3

ne = 2 kF3 3 = (4.47)

3 (2) 3 2

( )1/3 1

r0 = n1/3

e = 3 2 kF (4.48)

so that

r0

rs =

a0

8 2 ( 2 )1/3 1

with a0 = 2 3 2 (Bohr radius) (4.49)

5e m e m

The comparison of the length scale a0 and the average distance r0 determines

whether the interaction energy is large or small compared to the kinetic en-

ergy. Qualitatively, we can understand this result intuitively. The interaction

energy per particle F (1) /L3 ne e2 /r0 while the kinetic energy per particle

1/3

F (0) /L3 ne kF2 /2m r02 , which leads to the ratio rs r0 ne . Conse-

quently, the lower is the density of electrons, the stronger is the interaction.

Interestingly, from this estimation one can see that this behavior rs r0 is

independent from spatial dimension, but determined by the parabolic disper-

sion p = p2 /2m. For graphene with linear dispersion, F (0) /L3 ne kF r01

so that the ratio rs is independent from the electron density.

Besides the ground state energy, one can also compute other physical proper-

ties of the interacting electron gas. In the last chapter we have computed the

linear response of the harmonic oscillator to an external eld. Similarly, we can

compute the charge polarization of an interacting electron gas induced by an

external electric eld. The interaction to electric eld is given by the coupling

to the scalar potential. Now we need to use the real time path integral:

Z[] = DDeiS[,]

{ [ ( ) ]

2

S[, ] = dt d3 x it (x, t) (x)

2m

}

1

d3 xd3 yV (x y) (x) (y) (y) (x) (4.50)

2

sponse of charge density (x, t) = (x, t) to a generic potential (x, t):

4.3 Perturbative approach to interacting electron gas 69

Fig. 4.2. (a) Feynman rule for interacting electron gas. (b) First order correction

to the ground state energy. (c) Feyman diagrams for the density-density correlation

function defined in Eq. 4.53. (d) The diagrams included in RPA approximation.

(x, t) dt d3 x D(x x , t t )(x , t ) (4.51)

[ ]

D(x x , t t ) = i(t t ) (x, t), (x , t )

= 2(t t )Re(x x , t t ) (4.52)

with

(x x , t t ) = i T (x, t) (x , t ) (4.53)

calculated from the propagator Z[] as

2 log Z[]

(x x , t t ) = i (4.54)

(x, t)(x , t ) =0

70 4 Perturbation Theory and Beyond

d3 pdd3 p d

(q, ) = i T

p+q,,+, p,, p q, , p , ,

(2)4

(4.55)

Similar to the boson case discussed in the last subsection, such correlation

function can be expressed as a summation over connected diagrams with ex-

ternal lines. Now in the action (4.50) there are two kinds of interaction vertices,

the degree-3 vertex between and and the degree-4 vertex from Coulomb

interaction. We rst consider the leading order term contributed by the free

electron gas, as shown in the rst diagram in Fig. 4.3.1 (c).

3

d pd

(q, ) = 2i

(0)

G(p + q, + )G(p, ) (4.56)

(2)4

did in Sec. 3.1.5. The only place that the regulator needs to be considered is

in the time-ordered Greens function:

1

G(p, ) = (4.57)

ei p

Thus

d3 p 1 1

(0) (q, ) = 2i d

(2)4 + ei p+q ei p

[ ]

d3 p 1 1 1

= 2i d

(2)4 + ei p+q ei p ei (p+q p )

d3 p (p+q ) (p )

= 4 (4.58)

(2)4 ei (p+q p )

( p+q ) (p )

(0)R (q, ) = 4 d3 p (p+q p ) (4.60)

ei (p+q p )

(p+q ) (p )

(0)A (q, ) = 4 d3 p (p+q + p )

ei (p+q p )

= (0)R (q, ) (4.61)

( )

D(q, ) = R (q, ) + R (q, )

( )

= R (q, ) + A (q, ) (4.62)

4.3 Perturbative approach to interacting electron gas 71

Compare the two equations above we see that the only dierence between

D(q, ) and (q, ) is that the position of poles in the retard part is above

the real axis in while below the real axis in D. Thus we can simply obtain

D(q, ) by replacing the regulator ei (p+q p ) by (p+q p i). To

the leading order

d3 p (p+q ) (p )

D(0) (q, ) = 4 (4.63)

(2)4 + i (p+q p )

Such procedure is also applicable to a generic correlation function: the re-

sponse function is related to the time-ordered correlation function by moving

all the poles of the time-ordered correlation function to the lower half plane.

p2

D(0) (q, ) for the free Fermi gas with p = 2m is the Linhard function.

At low |q| we have

d3 p p p+q

D (q, ) 4

(0)

(p )

(2) 4 + i (p+q p )

kF2 kF q cos

= d sind

3

4 mvF + i kF qmcos

[ ]

kF m 1 + i

= d (cos ) 1

2 2 1 + i kF qmcos

[ ( ) ]

mkF + i + vF q

= log 1 (4.64)

2 2vF q + i vF q

In the last step we have used vF = kF /m and also omitted the innitesimal

in the prefactor + i of the log function, since its contribution is innites-

imal. On comparison, the eect of the regulator in the log function cannot

be ignored. Dierent limits of the function D(0) (q, ) can be studied. For

example, if is nite and q 0, the asymptotic behavior is

( )

+ i + vF q 2vF q 2 ( vF q )3

log +

+ i vF q 3

k F m v F q )2

(

D(0) (q, ) (4.65)

3 2

D(q, ) determines the response of the electron gas to electric eld. More

specically, consider the dielectric constant of the system. In the Fourier space,

we have

eE(q, ) = iq(q, )

D(q, )

(q, ) = ie q E(q, )

q2

D(q, ) 1

P(q, ) = e2 2

E(q, ) V (q)D(q, )E(q, ) (4.66)

q 4

72 4 Perturbation Theory and Beyond

(q) = iq P(q). To relate this equation to dielectric constant, we need

to remember that E(q, ) here is the external electric eld acting on the

electron system (which is usually denoted by D but we wont do that here, to

avoid confusion with the response function D(q, ). The total electric eld is

E(q, ) 1

(q, ) = = (4.68)

Etot (q, ) 1 + V (q)D(q, )

[ ]

1 4kF me2 ( vF )2

lim 1 = V (q)D(q, ) = (4.69)

|q|0 (q, ) 3

that a small external electric eld can generate an arbitrarily large charge

polarization. Consequently electric eld cannot actually penetrate into the

system, which is the expected behavior of a metal.

The next terms in the perturbation theory contain one vertex of Coulomb

interaction, which contain two connected diagrams. One of the diagrams is

shown in the second diagram in Fig. 4.3.1 (c). Interestingly, the summation

over frequency and momentum in the two bubbles are completely indepen-

dent, so that the contribution of this diagram can be simply given by

D(1) (q, ) = D(0) (q, )V (q)D(0) (q, ) (4.70)

The small q behavior remains the same since the 1/q 2 in V (q) cancels the q 2

in D(0) (q, ). The correction to the dielectric constant is

[ ] ( )

1

lim 1 = V (q)D(0) (q, ) 1 + V (q)D(0) (q, )

|q|0 (q, )

( )

4kF me2 ( vF )2 4kF me2 vF2

= 1+ (4.71)

3 3 2

Due to the simple form of the rst order perturbation correction we obtained

above, such perturbation can be generalized to higher order. A series of dia-

grams with N bubbles can be summed, as shown in Fig. 4.3.1 (d). The result

is simply

4.3 Perturbative approach to interacting electron gas 73

[ ]2

DRP A (q, ) = D(0) (q, ) + D(0) (q, )V (q)D(0) (q, ) + D(0) (q, ) V (q)D(0) (q, ) + ...

D(0) (q, )

= (4.72)

1 V (q)D(0) (q, )

The summation over this particular series of diagrams is called Random Phase

Approximation (RPA). The dielectric constant in this approximation is

1

RP A (q, ) = = 1 V (q)D(0) (q, ) (4.73)

1 + V (q)DRP A (q, )

Thus

4kF me2 ( vF )2 p2

RP A (q = 0, ) = 1 1 2 (4.74)

3

Compared RP A with (0) and (1) from the perturbation theory, the key

dierence is that RP A has a sign change at some nite frequency named as

plasmon frequency:

4kF mvF2 e2 4ne e2

p2 = = (4.75)

3 m

For < p the dielectric constant is negative. Since the photon in the material

with dielectric constant and permeability needs to satisfy the dispersion

c2

relation 2 = (q,)(q,) q2 , for < 0 the electro-magnetic eld has an

imaginary wavevector, which cannot penetrate into the system. For > p ,

electromagnetic eld can penetrate into the system. In other words, for light

with frequency < p the electron gas is non-transparent and all lights are

reected (as we expect for a perfect metal). For light with frequency > p

the electron gas is transparent. The measurement of plasmon frequency p is

a helpful experimental way to determine the carrier density ne in the system.

The RPA approximation and the physical meaning of the plasmon frequen-

cy can be understood more physically in a dierent approachthe eective

eld theory approach. In the treatment above, the density operator (r) is a

composite operator, i.e., a function of electron creation and annihilation op-

erators. For the understanding of the electron density uctuation, it is more

convenient to treat the density eld (r) as an independent eld, just like

what we did in the bosonization approach of 1d fermions. The path integral

formalism is most suitable for this purpose. To see how this works, we rst

notice a simple identity:

[ ]

dy 4g 2

(y2igx2 ) egx4

egx =

4 1

e

4g

dy 4g 1 2

y +iyx2

= e (4.76)

4g

74 4 Perturbation Theory and Beyond

This identity holds because the bracket [..] in the rst line is equal to 1. Such

a transformation is helpful because it transforms the non-harmonic term x4

into a coupling between x and a dierent eld y. Such a transformation is

called Hubbard-Stratonovic (HS) transformation. Now we apply this to the

interacting electron gas. The interaction term in the action in Eq. (4.50) can

be written as

1

Sint = dt d3 xd3 yV (x y) (x) (y) (y) (x)

2

1

= d3 qdV (q)q, q, (4.77)

2

d3 pd

with q, = p,, p+q,+,

(2)4

(4.78)

Using the HS transformation, we have

3

eiSin = e 2 d qdV (q)q, q,

i

{ ( )}

1

= const. D [q, ] exp i d3 qd q, q, + q, q,

2V (q)

(4.79)

We rst study the propagator without the external source term in Eq.

(4.50), which can be rewritten as

Z = DDDeiS[,,]

[ ( 2 )]

p

S[, , ] = d3 pd p, p,

2m

( )

1

+ d3 qd q, q, + q, q,

2V (q)

[ ( 2 )]

p 1

= d3 pd p, p, + d3 qd q, q,

2m 2V (q)

d3 pd

+ d3 qd q, p,, p+q,+, (4.80)

(2)4

Thus we see that by HS transformation we have obtained an eective action

which describes the fermion eld , and the boson eld with a cubic

interaction term. For Coulomb interaction, V (q) 1/q2 so that the eld

has a kinetic energy term 1/2V (q) q2 . Physically, is nothing but the

scalar potential, which can be also seen from its coupling with the electrons.

The coupling of to fermions is the same as the coupling of the external

potential with fermions in Eq. (4.50).

From this equation we can see the advantage of HS transformation: the

action is now quadratic in the electron elds , so that we can carry out the

4.3 Perturbative approach to interacting electron gas 75

eld

eiSeff [] = DDeiS[,,] (4.81)

We can denote

1

Se [] = d3 qd q, q, + S0 [] (4.82)

2V (q)

since the rst term is independent from , . The second term S0 is obtained

by integrating out fermions. Since couples with the fermion in the same way

as an external scalar potential, eiS0 is actually the same as Z[] in Eq. (4.50)

with replaced by and interaction term switched o. Consequently, the

quadratic term in S0 is determined by the bare (non-interacting) correlation

function (q, ) calculated above:

1

S0 [] = d3 qdq, q, (0) (q, ) + o(2 ) (4.83)

2

Thus the eective action of the boson eld is

[ ]

1 1

Se [] = d3 qdq, q, (0) (q, ) (4.84)

2 V (q)

kF m ( vF q )2

(0) (q, ) = D(0) (q, ) (4.85)

3 2

so that

1 q2 kF m ( vF q )2

(0) (q, ) 2

V (q) 4e 3 2

( )

2

q2 p

= 2

1 2 (4.86)

4e

To see the physical meaning of this action, we rescale q, eld and dene

q, = |q|

q, , the action becomes a standard free boson action:

1 ( )

Se = 2

d3 qdq, 2 p2 q, (4.87)

8e

Thus we see that there is a well-dened collective mode with frequency p

propagating in the system, which is the plasmon. Physically, this mode is

a charge density uctuation, because the eld we introduced through HS

transformation is related to the charge density q, by q, = V (q)(q, ).

76 4 Perturbation Theory and Beyond

We can also directly see the relation of the plasmon mode to the dielectric

constant. Since q, is the scalar potential, the eective action can be written

in term of electric eld eEq, = iqq as

[ ]

1 e2 1

Se = d3 qdEq, Eq, 2 (0) (q, )

2 q V (q)

[ ]

1

= d3 qdEq, Eq, 1 V (q) (0) (q, )

8

1

d3 qdEq, Eq, q, (4.88)

8

from which we can see that the dielectric constant agrees with the RPA result

in Eq. (4.73), when the time-ordered correlation function (0) is replaced by

the retarded correlation function D(0) .

Further remarks on the eective eld theory approach

The eective eld theory approach we take above is useful in many physical

systems, and is one of the main advantages of the path integral formulation.

By introducing new elds through HS transformation (or using other integra-

tion identities) one can treat the collective modes such as density uctuation

and the fundamental degrees of freedom such as electrons at equal footing, and

obtain an eective description by integrating out some of the elds. For ex-

ample, in the ferromagnetic and anti-ferromagnetic spin models we discussed

in Chapter 2, the spins are formed by localized electrons, which is a collective

mode just like the charge density discussed here. In Chapter 2 we treat spins

as if they are fundamental degrees of freedom. In a more complicated system,

for example a system with both localized electrons and itinerant electrons

coupling to each other, one need to derive the spin model from the funda-

mental interacting electron model, where the same idea of HS transformation

and eective eld theory can be used. Compared to the Hamiltonian approach

where we deal with Hilbert space, Schrodinger equation and operators, the

path integral approach has the advantage that Hilbert space is not explicit-

ly used, so that it is easy to change variables by inserting new elds, which

eectively has changed the Hilbert space we are dealing with. For example

in the interacting electron gas we just studied, we obtain a boson eective

theory from a purely fermionic system. To be more precise, if we return to

the Hilbert space and Hamiltonian language, what we did is actually nding a

boson system which has the same dynamics as the charge density uctuation

of an interacting fermion system.

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