Asymptotic Symmetries and Faddeev-Kulish states in QED and Gravity
Sammanfattning: When calculating scattering amplitudes in gauge and gravitational theories one encounters infrared (IR) divergences associated with massless fields. These are known to be artifacts of constructing a quantum field theory starting with free fields, and the assumption that in the asymptotic limit (i.e. well before and after a scattering event) the incoming and outgoing states are non-interacting. In 1937, Bloch and Nordsieck provided a technical procedure eliminating the IR divergences in the cross-sections. However, this did not address the source of the problem: A detailed analysis reveals that, in quantum electrodynamics (QED) and in perturbative quantum gravity (PQG), the interactions cannot be ignored even in the asymptotic limit. This is due to the infinite range of the massless force-carrying bosons. By taking these asymptotic interactions into account, one can find a picture changing operator that transforms the free Fock states into asymptotically interacting Faddeev- Kulish (FK) states. These FK states are charged (massive) particles surrounded by a “cloud” of soft photons (gravitons) and will render all scattering processes infrared finite already at an S-matrix level. Recently it has been found that the FK states are closely related to asymptotic symmetries. In the case of QED the FK states are eigenstates of the large gauge transformations – U(1) transformations with a non-vanishing transformation parameter at infinity. For PQG the FK states are eigenstates of the Bondi-Metzner-Sachs (BMS) transformations – the asymptotic symmetry group of an asymptotically flat spacetime. It also appears that the FK states are related the Wilson lines in the Mandelstam quantization scheme. This would allow one to obtain the physical FK states through geometrical or symmetry arguments. We attempt to clarify this relation and present a derivation of the FK states in PQG from the gravitational Wilson line in the eikonal approximation, a result that is novel to this thesis.
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