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Quantum Field Theory and Critical Phenomena$
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Jean Zinn-Justin

Print publication date: 2002

Print ISBN-13: 9780198509233

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198509233.001.0001

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Path Integrals In Quantum Mechanics: Generalizations

Path Integrals In Quantum Mechanics: Generalizations

Quantum Field Theory and Critical Phenomena


Oxford University Press

Chapter 2 constructed a path integral representation of the matrix elements of the statistical operator e-βH. This chapter extends the construction to hamiltonians which are general functions of phase space variables. This results in integrals over trajectories or paths in phase space. When the hamiltonian is quadratic in the momentum variables, the integral over momenta is gaussian and can be performed. In the separable example, the path integral of Chapter 2 is recovered. In the case of the charged particle in a magnetic field a more general form is found, which is somewhat ambiguous, reflecting the problem of order between quantum operators. Hamiltonians which are general quadratic functions of momentum variables provide other important examples, and these are analyzed thoroughly. Such hamiltonians arise in the quantization of the motion on Riemannian manifolds. The analysis is illustrated by the quantization of the free motion on the sphere SN-1.

Keywords:   hamiltonians, phase space variables, momentum variables

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