LSZ Reduction Formula
A Derivation
Sine of Psi
February 9, 2016
0. References
The arguments presented in these notes are based on the “LSZ Reduction Formula” Wikipedia article,
Srednicki’s “Quantum Field Theory”, Peskin & Schroeder’s “An Introduction to Quantum Field Theory”,
and Schwartz’s “Quantum Field Theory and the Standard Model”.
1. Single Particle and Multiparticle States
Previously ^{1} we showed that if we choose our Lorentzinvariant Lagrangian ^{2} to be,
L _{0} =
1
_{2} ∂ _{µ} φ∂ ^{µ} φ −
1 2
2 ^{m}
_{0}
φ ^{2} ,
then we get the KleinGordon equation (KG eq) from the EulerLagrange equations (EL eq):
(∂ ^{2} + m _{0} )φ(x) = 0
2
Note: I’m using subscript zeroes to denote certain quantities as corresponding to “the free theory”–that is,
the theory as it appears without interactions. We found a Lorentzinvariant solution to the KG eq that we
called a ﬁeld,
φ _{0} (x, t) =
d ^{3} k (2π) ^{3}
1
2ω k ^{} _{a} _{k} _{e} −ikx _{+} _{a}
∗ _{e} +ikx ^{}
k
k ^{2} and the Fourier coeﬃcients a _{k} , a _{k} are independent of time. In particular,
because φ _{0} transforms as a scalar under Lorentz transformations, we call this ﬁeld the free massive real
scalar ﬁeld and call its Lagrangian the free massive real scalar Lagrangian. We subsequently quantized
the ﬁeld, yielding the notationallysimilar expression,
where k _{0} = w _{k} ≡ m
0 2 ^{+}
∗
φ _{0} (x, t) =
ˆ
d ^{3} k (2π) ^{3}
_{2}_{ω} k aˆ _{0} ( ^{} k)e ^{−}^{i}^{k}^{x} + aˆ _{0} ( ^{} k)e ^{+}^{i}^{k}^{x}
†
1
^{1} I will be using the “mostlyminus” metric, following the typical highenergy convention. ^{2} This is technically a Lagrangian density; however, it’s conventional in QFT to call L a Lagrangian because we rarely care about the Lagrangian L but frequently talk about the Lagrangian density L.
2
where our Fourier coeﬃcients are now creation/annihilation operators on a Hilbert space. We say that
ˆ
φ _{0} (x, t) is a quantum ﬁeld and, in particular, is the free massive real scalar quantum ﬁeld. The Fourier
coeﬃcients are creation/annihilation operators in the sense that they satisfy the commutation relations of
(the continuumequivalent of) a simple harmonic oscillator,
[ˆa _{0} ( k _{1} ),
[ˆa
†
0 ^{(}
k _{1} ),
[ˆa _{0} ( k _{1} ),
aˆ _{0} ( k _{2} )] =
0
aˆ
†
0 ^{(}
k _{2} )] = 0
aˆ _{0} ( ^{} k _{2} )] = (2π) ^{3} (2ω _{k} _{1} )δ ^{3} ( k _{1} − k _{2} )
†
We have yet to tie this to a physical interpretation. Let’s do so now. We ﬁrst postulate the existence of
the free vacuum. A theory’s vacuum is what the universe looks like according to that theory when no
particles are present. ^{3} In the free theory, it’s usually denoted by 0 , and it corresponds to an eigenstate of
ˆ
the 4momentum operator P ^{µ} with eigenvalue p ^{µ} = 0. We’ll normalize 0 so that 00 = 1. Furthermore,
we assume that the vacuum is Lorentzinvariant. That is, you can’t make particles appear by boosting
yourself into a new reference frame. ^{4}
Let’s deﬁne a ket k to describe the universe with a single particle of momentum k and demand it satisfy,
k ≡ aˆ
†
0 ^{(}
k) 0
With this deﬁnition, we have the following normalization for singleparticle states ^{5} :
k _{1} k _{2} = (2π) ^{3} 2ω _{k} _{1} δ( k _{1} − k _{2} )
k) act as a cre
ation operator that creates a singleparticle with momentum k, it must be the case that aˆ _{0} ( k) acts as an
In perfect analogy with the simple harmonic oscillator, because we have deﬁned that ˆa
† 0 ^{(}
k. If there is no such particle to
annihilate, then the annihilation operator spits out zero. This means that the vacuum is also deﬁned to be
annihilation operator that destroys a single particle with momentum
^{3} QFT calls any excitation of the vacuum a particle, even if that excitation is not a particle in the colloquial sense. Addi tionally, a vacuum state might be empty of particles only in the sense that whatever stuﬀ the vacuum is made of lacks any excitations. For example, in manybody physics, the vacuum could be the ground state of a multimolecular compound and the particles could be complicated vibrational modes of the compound. In highenergy physics, the vacuum is often spacetime itself. ^{4} There’s a nontrivial technicality here: a theory can sometimes have more than one vacuum. Not only is this possible, but the Standard Model of particle physics requires a degenerate vacuum in order for particles to gain mass.
^{5} Exercise: Prove this equation using the deﬁnition of k and the properties of aˆ
† 0 ^{(}
k).
3
Figure 1: Each curve represents values of (p , E) for invariant masses available in the free theory. The lowest curve corresponds to singleparticle states, each of which has a mass m _{0} . The next highest curve
corresponds to twoparticle states with mass 2m _{0} . Above the twoparticle curve lies a continuum of states.
P = ^{} _{i} p _{i} but
This is because, for instance, there exist many multiparticle states with total momentum
diﬀering total energies E = ^{} _{i} E _{i} (due to relative motions of particles) thereby yielding every invariant
mass M ≡ ^{} E ^{2} − P ^{2} larger than 2m _{0} .
the state that is annihilated by every annihilation operator: ˆa _{0} ( k) 0 = 0 for all k.
A multiparticle state is constructed by applying multiple creation operators. Unlike introductory quantum
mechanics, we need not worry about symmetrizing or antisymmetrizing any states. The commutation rela
tions of the operators ensure the appropriate statistics are obeyed. Figure 1 summarizes the mass spectrum
of a free theory.
2. SMatrix Elements and the Far Past, Far Future
Experiments often involve setting up an initial state, letting it evolve over time, and then extracting some
kind of physical information from the ﬁnal state. QFT is often played with scattering experiments, with the
following progression of events:
1. Initial State: Fire known particles at oneanother at some given energy. ^{6}
^{6} The particles might be fundamental particles like electrons or eﬀective particles such as nuclei and atoms. So long as whatever we’re throwing doesn’t break into a new realm of physics during the experiment (e.g. throwing protons at low enough energies as to not care about their quark structure), it’s good enough to be a particle.
4
2. ???: Particles near each other. Interactions between diﬀerent particles cause quantumweirdness.
3. Final State: New particles ﬂy out and we measure their 4momentum, charge, etc.
As we might expect from quantum mechanics, the probabilty of getting a certain ﬁnal state from a certain
initial state is related to the overlap of their corresponding wavefunctions. If i describes our initial incoming
particles, then the probability that we end up with a ﬁnal state f of ﬁnal outgoing particles is related to
the quantum amplitude,
S _{f}_{i} ≡ fi _{H}
which we call an Smatrix element. The subscript H indicates that this expression holds in the Heisenberg
picture, where each state is timeindependent and operators evolve in time. We could alternatively use the
Schr¨odinger picture, where each operator is timeindependent and states evolve in time. Switching from one
picture to the other requires we recast our formally timeindependent states into timedependent forms. In
this vein, suppose we deﬁne our initial state i at some initial time t _{i} . Similarly, let’s deﬁne our ﬁnal state
f at some ﬁnal time t _{f} . To complete the conversion, we must compare these states at some equal time t _{c} .
In this language, the equaltime kets become,
such that,
i(t _{c} ) =
exp −i H(t _{c} − t _{i} ) i ≡ U(t _{c} , t _{i} ) i
ˆ
ˆ
f(t _{c} ) = exp −i H(t _{f} − t _{c} ) f ≡ U(t _{f} , t _{c} ) f
ˆ
ˆ
ˆ
ˆ
ˆ
fi _{H} = f(t _{c} )i(t _{c} ) _{S} = f U(t _{f} , t _{c} ) U(t _{c} , t _{i} ) i _{S} = f U(t _{f} , t _{i} ) i _{S}
where the subscript S indicates when we’re using the Shr¨odinger picture. A natural followup question
becomes: when should our initial time and ﬁnal time occur? This is tricky because such a choice is inherently
framedependent. QFT dodges this conundrum entirely by taking the initial and ﬁnal times to t = −∞ and
t = +∞ respectively. In this context, we call t → −∞ the far past and t → +∞ the far future. ^{7} This is,
^{7} Too bad we also care about unstable particles which (by virtue of their instability) cannot survive to the far future. Handling decay phenomena requires additional care, but can be done. It’s irrelevant to our current purposes however.
5
of course, an approximation, but it’s a very good one in our region of the universe. In this approximation,
S _{f}_{i} =
lim →∓∞ ^{} ^{f}^{}
t _{i} ,t _{f}
ˆ
U(t _{f} , t _{i} ) i _{S}
Much of QFT centers around calculating Smatrix elements for various processes. However, the formulae
we’ve developed thus far are not useful for such calculations. In particular, our discussion has been limited to
Hamiltonianbased timeevolution which muddies up special relativity because of the Hamiltonian’s Lorentz
variance. It would be nice to, instead, relate the calculation of Smatrix elements to the Lorentzinvariant
ﬁelds we’ve developed over these last few weeks. Such a relation does exist, and that relation is the LSZ
reduction formula. ^{8} I will be deriving the LSZ reduction formula for interacting massive real scalar ﬁelds.
The generalization to massive complex scalar ﬁelds poses no complications. ^{9}
3. Interactions and the Mass Shift
Of course, if we want to discuss (nontrivial) scattering experiments, we need to include interaction terms
in our Lagrangian. But turning on interactions comes at a conceptual cost. In the free theory, it wasn’t
gamebreaking to leave the time at which we deﬁned our creation/annihilation operators unspeciﬁed. This
is because the creation/annihilation operators only ever gain a phase as time evolves. ^{1}^{0} When interactions
are present, an operator that creates a singleparticle at one time may create a multiparticle state at another
time. This can be traced back to timeevolution of our ﬁelds:
ˆ
φ(x) → e ^{−}^{i}
ˆ
Ht
ˆ
ˆ
φ(x)e ^{+}^{i} ^{H}^{t} ,
where
e ^{+}^{i}
ˆ
Ht _{≡} ^{}
n
(i
ˆ
Ht) ^{n}
n!
Interaction terms in our Lagrangian will combine numerous quantum ﬁelds. By introducing such interaction
terms into our Lagrangian, we cause new equallycomplicated terms in our Hamiltonian as well. Then, as
indicated, we timeevolve our ﬁelds by multiplying both sides with power series of those terms. This is how
the creation of singleparticle states at any one time becomes the creation of multiparticle states at other
times.
^{8} Sometimes this is simply called the reduction formula. ^{9} More general forms of the LSZ reduction formula hold for massive particles with nonzero spin, but will involve polariza tion elements and additional renormalization parameters. Massless particles have additional symmetries that complicate the relationship between ﬁelds and Smatrix elements. ^{1}^{0} Exercise: Show this using the Heisenberg picture. Additionally, show this is equivalent to k remaining the same up to a phase as time evolves in the Schr¨odinger picture.
6
Figure 2: A qualitative illustration of the typical mass spectrum of an interacting theory. Like the free theory, we have a singleparticle curve and a continuum of states with invariant mass M ≥ 2m. Note that these now occur at multiples of the interacting mass m which is generally not equal to the free mass m _{0} . There exist additional curves between the singleparticle and twoparticle states corresponding to 2particle bound states. These generically possess invariant masses M 2m.
Additionally, the introduction of interactions complicates our vacuum. Even the free vacuum is a background
static of quantum ﬂuctuations reminiscent of particles popping in and out of existence even when the total
particle number of the universe is zero. Interactions mean more static. This new, fuzzier vacuum is called the
interacting vacuum and is denoted Ω . Like the free vacuum, it is annihilated by annihilation operators;
however, our annihilation operators are also complicated by interactions. It is a nontrivial mess to sort out
and it’s something we’re going to have to deal with if we want to prove the LSZ reduction formula.
Lastly, I want to clarify how interactions aﬀect the masses of our particles. A free particle propagates
forever, but an interacting particle will radiate as it propagates, such that–even if it’s the only particle
in the universe–it will end up interacting with itself. This is an important eﬀect that we’ll analyze more
indepth later in the class. For now, we will only focus on a qualitative consequence of this selfinteraction:
namely, the mass of an interacting particle is diﬀerent than the free mass that shows up in the Lagrangian of
the theory. This is because interacting particles are constantly throwing out and subsequently reabsorbing
particles. This perpetual juggling alters the longterm propagation eﬀects of our particles (compared to the
free theory) and thus inﬂuences each particle’s mass. We say that there is a mass shift between the free
mass m _{0} and the interacting mass m. ^{1}^{1} We must proceed with caution.
^{1}^{1} You can think of the interacting mass as an eﬀective mass. For instance, a photon in free space is massless (m _{0} = 0) so it travels at the speed of light. We can ﬁre that same photon into a superconductor, where it’ll slow down and act like it possesses
7
4. Inverting the Inhomogeneous KG Eq
Let’s get quantitative. If we add new terms (generically called L _{i}_{n}_{t} ) to our free Lagrangian L _{0} , we can make
our scalar ﬁeld interact with itself:
L =
1
_{2}
∂ _{µ} φ∂ ^{µ} φ −
1
2 ^{m}
2
_{0} φ ^{2} + L int
Applying the EL eq to this gives us an inhomogeneous version of the KG eq,
(∂ ^{2} + m _{0} )φ(x) = j _{0} (x) ≡ ^{∂}^{L} ∂φ ^{i}^{n}^{t}
2
We begin our derivation of the LSZ reduction formula by inverting this equation. Suppose we know a Green’s
function of the KG eq. That is, suppose we have some function f (x) such that (∂ ^{2} + m _{0} )f(x) = δ ^{4} (x).
Conceptually, the Green’s function solves the inhomogeneous KG eq for a “point current”. By integrating
over point currents δ ^{4} (x − y) at each point y, we can reconstruct any current j _{0} (x) we want. This would
solve any (nonquantized) scalar theory with interactions.
2
It turns out the Green’s functions of the KG eq are related to 2point correlation functions such as
Instead, I
will simply state (to be proved another day) that there are (among others) two Green’s functions called the
retarded propagator ∆ _{r}_{e}_{t} (x) and the advanced propagator ∆ _{a}_{d}_{v} (x). The retarded propagator allows
us to express an interaction current in terms of its construction via ﬁelds at earlier times. Similarly, the
advanced propagator allows us to express an interaction current in terms of its inﬂuence on ﬁelds at later
times.
Ω φ(x _{1} ) φ(x _{2} ) Ω .
ˆ
ˆ
We will not go into details about 2point correlation functions right now.
Based on my earlier comments, we shouldn’t expect the masses of the free particles (m _{0} ) to equal the masses
of the interacting particles (m). Let’s reorganize the inhomogeneous KG eq with that in mind:
(∂ ^{2} + m _{0} )φ(x) = j _{0} (x)
2
(∂ ^{2} + m _{0} )φ(x) + (m ^{2} −
2
m _{0} )φ(x) = j _{0} (x) + (m ^{2} − m _{0} )φ(x)
2
2
(∂ ^{2} + m ^{2} )φ(x) = j _{0} (x) + (m ^{2} − m _{0} )φ(x)
2
a mass m
= 0. This eﬀective mass phenomena is responsible for the ﬁnite skindepth of magnetic ﬁelds into superconductors.
8
Hence,
(∂ ^{2} + m ^{2} )φ(x) = j(x),
where
j(x) ≡ j _{0} (x) + (m ^{2} − m _{0} )φ(x)
2
This is the equation we wish to invert. Using the retarded propagator, we can build forward in time so that
our solution to the inhomogeneous KG eq will be a sum of homogeneous KG solutions in the far past and
the speciﬁc solution corresponding to the current.
∗
The inﬁeld φ _{i}_{n} (x) _{t}_{=}_{−}_{∞} is a free ﬁeld with mass m. ^{1}^{2} The constant Z is called the wavefunction renor
malization. We can decompose the quantized form of Equation ∗ into a sum of plane waves multiplying
operators:
φ ˆ _{i}_{n} ( x)
^{} t=−∞ ^{=} ^{d} 3 ^{k} (2π) ^{3}
1
_{2}_{ω} k e ^{−}^{i}^{k}^{x} aˆ _{i}_{n} ( ^{} k) + e ^{+}^{i}^{k}^{x} aˆ _{i}_{n} ( ^{} k)
1
†
^{} t=−∞
Like we discussed earlier, we can only deﬁne one speciﬁc moment worth of creation/annihilation opera
Timeevolving will mixing those cre
ation/annihilation operators in such a way that they create/annihilate multiparticle states as well. Thus, we
tors aˆ
†
in ^{(}
k), aˆ _{i}_{n} ( k) corresponding to the full interacting ﬁeld
ˆ
φ(x).
shouldn’t expect aˆ
whole inhomogeneous solution worth of complications separating φ(x) and φ _{i}_{n} (x). We will have to check if
aˆ
section.
k), aˆ _{i}_{n} ( k) will behave like creation/annihilation operators, especially because there’s a
† in ^{(}
ˆ
ˆ
† in ^{(}
k), aˆ _{i}_{n} ( k) behave like singleparticle creation/annihilation operators, which is what we’ll do in the next
There’s also some ambiguity in the above formula because of an inﬁnite phase e ^{±}^{i}^{ω} ^{k} ^{∞} . This phase is
unimportant for proving the LSZ reduction formula. To sidestep the issue, let’s timeevolve the inﬁeld
to a ﬁnite time, but do so using the free Hamiltonian H _{0} instead of the full Hamiltonian H. Choosing
to evolve our operators with the free Hamiltonian while an interacting Hamiltonian is present is called
the interaction picture. It’s nice because we know that the free Hamiltonian doesn’t mix singleparticle
operators with multiparticle operators. Therefore, it won’t hurt us when we examine how ˆa
k), aˆ _{i}_{n} ( k)
† in ^{(}
^{1}^{2} To really drive this point home, the mass of the free ﬁeld φ _{0} (x) for this same theory is some number that we label m _{0} . Depending on the content of L _{i}_{n}_{t} , diﬀerent mass shifts will occur, and thus diﬀerent interacting theories with common m _{0} will generate diﬀerent asymptotic/physical masses m. Alternatively, we could demand several theories (each with their own L _{i}_{n}_{t} ) generate the same asymptotic mass m, in which case they’d each have to possess diﬀerent values of m _{0} .
9
relate to singleparticle operators in the next section. We deﬁne, for any time,
φ _{i}_{n} (x) = d ^{3} k
ˆ
1
_{2}_{ω} k e ^{−}^{i}^{k}^{x} aˆ _{i}_{n} ( ^{} k, t) + e ^{+}^{i}^{k}^{x} aˆ _{i}_{n} ( ^{} k, t)
†
1
(2π) ^{3}
This implies,
aˆ _{i}_{n} ( ^{} k, t) = −i d ^{3} x e ^{−}^{i}^{k}^{x} ∂
† 
ˆ 

↔ 
φ 
_{i}_{n} (x) 

0 
We recover the inﬁeld when t → −∞.
∗∗
We must do one more thing. If we proceed as we are, we’ll butt heads with fundamental quantum mechanics.
Namely, we will be at odds with the uncertainty principle. We want our particles to be spatially localized
at the far past and far future but that can only happen if there is some uncertainty in their momenta, and
right now we’re only discussing exact momentum eigenstates. What we should use instead are wavepackets
of momentum eigenstates localized about some 3momentum, say k:
aˆ _{i}_{n} ( ^{} k, t) → d ^{3} w
†
k
( )ˆa _{i}_{n} ( ^{} , t) = −i d ^{3} w
†
k
( ^{} ) d ^{3} x e ^{−}^{i} ^{} ^{x} ∂
↔
0
ˆ
φ
_{i}_{n} (x)
where w
function is vital to avoiding inﬁnities in our proof.
k
( ) is a function of momenta that is sharply peaked around
k. The smearing performed by this
5. Do aˆ
† in ^{(}
k) create singleparticle states?
If we want aˆ
to overlap only with singleparticle states. That is, ideally,
† in ^{(}
k), aˆ _{i}_{n} ( k) to behave like creation/annihilation operators in the interacting theory, they need
†
Ω aˆ _{i}_{n} Ω = 0
†
k aˆ _{i}_{n} Ω = 0
†
p, n aˆ _{i}_{n} Ω = 0
where p, n labels a multiparticle state with total 4momentum p and other quantum numbers n.
If we can manage Ω aˆ _{i}_{n} ( k) Ω = 0 for all k, then we’ll have Ω φ _{i}_{n} (0) Ω = 0. Suppose we instead have
ˆ
10
ˆ
v ≡ Ω φ _{i}_{n} (0) Ω = 0. By replacing every φ(x) in the Lagrangian with φ(x)+v, we will shift this expectation
ˆ
value and we’ll have, by construction, Ω φ _{i}_{n} (x) Ω = 0. Our creation/annihilation operators will always
appear in ﬁelds, so this is good enough.
Consider next the multiparticle states p, n . Each state will have some invariant mass M _{n}_{,}_{p} ≡ p ^{µ} p _{µ} . To
start things oﬀ, note that,
ˆ
p, n φ _{i}_{n} (x) Ω = p, n e ^{+}^{i}
ˆ
Px
ˆ
φ ˆ _{i}_{n} (0)e ^{−}^{i} ^{P}^{x} Ω ,
ˆ
= e ^{+}^{i}^{p}^{x} p, n φ _{i}_{n} (0) Ω ,
≡ e ^{+}^{i}^{p}^{x} A _{n} (p )
where A _{n} (p ) is a Lorentzinvariant product of various 4momenta that specify the state, but which cannot
have position dependence.
We hope that p, n aˆ
made us tie the incoming particles together into wave packets), we should focus on normalizable combinations
k) Ω equals zero. For mathematical consistency (and to avoid the same issues that
† in ^{(}
of p, n :
ψ _{q} _{} ≡ ^{} d ^{3} p ψ _{n}_{,}_{q} _{} (p ) p, n
n
where the ψ _{n}_{,}_{q} _{} (p ) are wave packets sharply peaked around the total threemomentum q . We perform the
calculations at ﬁnite time and then take the limit as we approach the far future. Using Equation ∗∗,
_{} ψ aˆ _{i}_{n} ( ^{} k, t) Ω = −i ^{} d ^{3} p ψ _{n}_{,}_{q} _{} (p ) d ^{3} w
_{q}
†
n
∗
k
( ^{} ) d ^{3} x e ^{−}^{i} ^{} ^{x} ∂
↔
0
ˆ
p, n φ(x) Ω ,
= −i ^{} d ^{3} p ψ _{n}_{,}_{q} _{} (p ) d ^{3} w ( ^{} ) d ^{3} x ^{} e ^{−}^{i} ^{} ^{x} ∂ e ^{+}^{i}^{p}^{x} ^{} A _{n} (p ),
n
∗
k
↔
0
= ^{} d ^{3} p ψ _{n}_{,}_{q} _{} (p ) d ^{3} w
n
∗
k
( ^{} ) d ^{3} x (p ^{0} + ^{0} )e ^{i}^{(}^{p}^{−} ^{} ^{)}^{x} A _{n} (p )
_{B}_{u}_{t} ^{} _{d} 3 _{x} _{e} −i(p −
)· x
= (2π) ^{3} δ ^{3} (p − ), so,
_{} ψ aˆ
_{q}
†
_{i}_{n} ^{(}
^{} k, t)
Ω = ^{} d ^{3} p (2π) ^{3} (p ^{0} + ^{0} )ψ _{n}_{,}_{q} _{} (p )w
n
∗
k
(p )A _{n} (p )e ^{i}^{(}^{p} ^{0} ^{−} ^{} ^{0} ^{)}^{t}
where p ^{0} ≡ p ^{2} + M _{n}_{,}_{p} and ^{0} ≡ ^{} p ^{2} + m ^{2} . Recall Figure 2, wherein we established that M _{n}_{,}_{p} 2m > m.
2
11
Given this, p ^{0} 
> ^{0} 
so that p ^{0} − ^{0} 
= 0. 
By the RiemannLebesgue Lemma, ^{1}^{3} the RHS goes to zero as 
t → +∞, so 
_{} ψ aˆ
_{q}
†
in ^{(}
k) Ω =
t→−∞ _{q} _{} ψ aˆ
lim
†
in ^{(}
k, t) Ω = 0
Hence, our aˆ _{i}_{n} operator might create multiparticle states at arbitrary times but as we go into the far past
those contributions vanish. A similar argument holds for _{q} _{} ψ aˆ _{i}_{n} ( k) Ω . This implies _{q} _{} ψ φ _{i}_{n} (x) Ω → 0
in the far past. ^{1}^{4}
†
ˆ
If we attempt to repeat the multiparticle argument for oneparticle states, we would ﬁnd there exists an
integration region where p ^{0} ≈ ^{0} , and hence the RiemannLebesgue Lemma is inapplicable. (This is good
ˆ 
ˆ 
ˆ 

because otherwise we’d be forced to conclude 
φ _{i}_{n} (x) = 
0 in the inﬁnite past, which would make 
φ 
_{i}_{n} (x) 
ˆ
useless to us.) Because φ _{i}_{n} (x)
ˆ
the case that φ
ˆ
†
ˆ
= 0 by assumption, yet Ω φ _{i}_{n} (x) Ω = 0 and _{q} _{} ψ φ
ˆ
† in ^{(}
k) is a oneparticle operator in the inﬁnite past.
†
in ^{(}
k) 0 → 0, it must be
With this result in hand, let’s return to the quantized form of Equation ∗.
φ(x) = ^{√} Z φ _{i}_{n} (x) + d ^{4} y ∆ _{r}_{e}_{t} (x − y) j(y)
ˆ
ˆ
ˆ
In 1955, the German physicists H. Lehmann, K. Symanzik, and W. Zimmermann (the L, S, and Z of LSZ)
demonstrated ^{1}^{5} that the singleparticle behavior of
the following weak asymptotic relation:
ˆ
φ _{i}_{n} (x) _{} _{t}_{=}_{−}_{∞} combined with the above equation imply
x ^{0}
lim _{→}_{−}_{∞} d ^{3} x e ^{−}^{i}^{p}^{x} β ∂
↔
0
φ(x) α = ^{√} Z d ^{3} x e ^{−}^{i}^{p}^{x} β ∂
ˆ
↔
0
ˆ
φ _{i}_{n} (x) α
where α , β are normalizable states. Note that (thanks to the limit) the lefthand side is independent of
time, while the righthand side still carries an explicit time variable. This is only consistent if the time
dependence of e ^{−}^{i}^{p}^{x} exactly counteracts the timedependence of the rest of the expression, which says the
operator on the RHS looks like a singleparticle creation operator in the interaction picture. We will use an
^{1}^{3} The RiemannLebesgue Lemme states that the integral of a smooth function against a rapidly oscillating wave goes to zero as the oscillations become inﬁnitely rapid. In the limit, the wave oscillates between positive and negative so rapidly that adjacent points cancel exactly.
^{1}^{4} Exercise: Show that _{q}
^{1}^{5} Lehmann, H.; Symanzik, K.; Zimmermann, W.; “Zur Formulierung quantisierter Feldtheorien” Nuovo Cim. 1 (1955) 205
ˆ
_{} ψ φ _{i}_{n} (x) Ω → 0
12
equivalent version of this expression. Speciﬁcally, via Equation ∗∗,
x ^{0}
_{→}_{−}_{∞} d ^{3} x e ^{−}^{i}^{p}^{x} β ∂
lim
↔
0
φ(x) α = i ^{√} Z β aˆ
ˆ
†
in ^{(}
k) α ,
which is, upon reorganizing,
β aˆ _{i}_{n} ( ^{} k) α = ^{−}^{i}
† 
ˆ 

↔ 
φ(x) α 

0 
^{√}
Z
x ^{0}
lim _{→}_{−}_{∞} d ^{3} x e ^{−}^{i}^{p}^{x} β ∂
(∗ ∗ ∗) _{1}
We can repeat this analysis (solving the inhomogeneous KG eq) using the advanced propagator to work with
states in the future called outstates,
which subsequently leads to,
φ(x) = ^{√} Zφ _{o}_{u}_{t} (x) + d ^{4} y ∆ _{a}_{d}_{v} (x − y)j(y)
β aˆ _{o}_{u}_{t} ( ^{} k) α = ^{−}^{i}
† 
lim _{→}_{+}_{∞} d ^{3} x e ^{−}^{i}^{p}^{x} β ∂ 
↔ 0 
ˆ φ(x) α 

^{√} 
Z 
x ^{0} 
6. The Proof
Consider the matrix element,
ˆ
ˆ
M ≡ f T{ φ(y _{1} ) ··· φ(y _{n} )}k; i
(∗ ∗ ∗) _{2}
The symbol T {· · · } denotes the timeordering operator which takes in some number of ﬁelds and rear
ranges them such that they are ordered with the latest times to the left and the earliest times to the right.
This ensures causality when creating/annihilating particles. We’ll see it many times in the future. As a
quick example, suppose t _{1} < t _{2} < t _{3} . Then,
ˆ
ˆ
ˆ
ˆ
ˆ
ˆ
T{ φ( y _{1} , t _{1} ) φ( y _{3} , t _{3} ) φ( y _{2} , t _{2} )} = φ(
y _{3} , t _{3} ) φ( y _{2} , t _{2} ) φ( y _{1} , t _{1} )
ˆ
The timeordering ignores the commutation relations of φ(x) because it’s really just receiving a list of what
ﬁelds are inside of it and then spitting them out in reversechronological order. Things get complicated when
13
we ask it to timeorder multiple ﬁelds that are at the same time (then you have to start worrying about
picking a convention). We can dodge that bullet by saying no two ﬁelds occur at the same time. If we later
want two ﬁelds occurring at the same time, then we can just take the limit of our result as those two times
become identical. In this way, the subtleties of timeordering need not hinder our proof.
Note that the matrix element M is notably more general than an Smatrix element. This is for the sake of
creating an inductive proof. Continuing to be careful about wavepackets transforms M into,
M =
d ^{3} p w
k
ˆ
ˆ
) f T{ φ(y _{1} ) ··· φ(y _{n} )}aˆ _{i}_{n} (p ) i
(p
†
Assume there are no other particles with momentum p in the outstate; that is, ignore forward scattering.
This assumption restricts what questions the LSZ formula can answer. However, just like the case of identical
time in the timeordering operator, the forward scattering case can be recovered afterthefact by taking the
limit of our result as an outstate momentum approaches an instate momentum. With this assumption,
d ^{3} p w
k
†
ˆ
ˆ
) f aˆ _{o}_{u}_{t} (p )T{ φ(y _{1} ) ··· φ(y _{n} )}i = 0
(p
Subtracting these and applying Equations ∗ ∗ ∗ yields,
M =
d ^{3} p w
k
) f T{ φ(y _{1} ) ··· φ(y _{n} )}aˆ _{i}_{n} (p ) − aˆ _{o}_{u}_{t} (p )T{ φ(y _{1} ) ··· φ(y _{n} )} i
(p
ˆ
ˆ
†
†
ˆ
ˆ
_{=}
√ −i Z d ^{3} p w
k
)
(p
x
^{0}
→−∞
lim
_{d} 3 _{x} _{e} −ipx _{∂} ↔
0
ˆ
ˆ
ˆ
f T{ φ(y _{1} ) ··· φ(y _{n} )} φ(x) i
_{=}
−
x ^{0}
√ −i Z d ^{3} p w
→+∞ _{d} 3 _{x} _{e} −ipx _{∂} ↔
lim
0
f φ(x)T{ φ(y _{1} ) ··· φ(y _{n} )}i
ˆ
ˆ
ˆ
k
)
(p
x
^{0}
x
^{0}
→+∞ _{d} 3 _{x} _{e} −ipx _{∂} ↔
0
lim
_{→}_{−}_{∞} − lim
ˆ
ˆ
ˆ
f T{ φ(x) φ(y _{1} ) ··· φ(y _{n} )}i
≡η(x)
=
=
^{i} Z d ^{3} p w
√
^{i} Z d ^{3} p w
√
k
k
) d(x ^{0} ) ∂ _{0} d ^{3} x e ^{−}^{i}^{p}^{x} ∂
(p
↔
0
η(x)
) d ^{4} x ^{} e ^{−}^{i}^{p}^{x} ∂
(p
2
0
η(x) − η(x)∂
2 _{e} −ipx ^{}
0
Note that e ^{−}^{i}^{p}^{x} solves the KG equation, so ∂
2 _{e} −ipx _{=} _{(}
0
∇ ^{2} − m ^{2} )e ^{−}^{i}^{p}^{x} . Using this and integrating by parts
14
yields (noting the surface terms are eliminated by the RiemannLebesgue Theorem),
Therefore,
M
=
→
^{i} Z d ^{3} p w
√
k
) d ^{4} x e ^{−}^{i}^{k}^{x} (∂ ^{2}
(p
0 −
∇ ^{2} + m ^{2} )η(x)
√ Z d ^{4} x e ^{−}^{i}^{k}^{x} (∂
i
2
0 −
∇ ^{2} + m ^{2} )η(x)
ˆ
ˆ ^{i} Z d ^{4} x e ^{−}^{i}^{k}^{x} (∂ ^{2} + m ^{2} ) f T{ φ(x) φ(y _{1} ) ··· φ(y _{n} )}i
√
ˆ
ˆ
ˆ
f T{ φ(y _{1} ) ··· φ(y _{n} )}k; i =
On the RHS we have a timeordered correlation function of the form we started with. We can follow the
same procedure to pull another particle from the instate. After we remove all of the instate particles, we
can begin removing outstate particles by a related procedure.
By induction, we obtain the LSZ reduction formula for interacting massive real scalar ﬁelds:
p _{1} ··· p _{n} q _{1} ··· q _{m} =
n 
d ^{4} x _{i} 
i √ Z e ^{i}^{q} ^{i} ^{x} ^{i} (∂ 
_{i} + m ^{2} ) 
m j=1 d 4 y j

i √ 

i=1 
2 x 
Z 
_{e} −ip _{j} y _{j} _{(}_{∂} 
2 y 
_{j} 
ˆ
+ m ^{2} ) Ω T{ φ(x _{1} ) ··· φ(x _{n} ) φ(y _{1} ) ··· φ(y _{m} )}Ω
ˆ
ˆ
ˆ
This result is strange for a few reasons. For instance, note that we have to multiply by the KG equation
for each initial or ﬁnal particle. However, we associate the initial and ﬁnal particles with essentiallyfree
particles (up to the wavefunction renormalization), so we could reasonably expect the KG equation to vanish
for each of these particles. It turns out that’s exactly what happens. The only time that the LSZ reduction
formula doesn’t return zero is when there are poles in the RHS timeordered correlation function for each
and every asymptotic particle. If the timeordered correlation functions lacks these poles, then the LSZ
reduction formula asserts i never becomes f .
Also, it turns out the result is valid beyond singleparticle excitations of the vacuum. This includes some
of the bound states illustrated in Figure 2. Despite lacking a fundamental ﬁeld, there are ways to create
appropriate ﬁeld combination that–when plugged into the LSZ reduction formula–yield information about
those bound states. The theory knows about all of its asymptotic states, we just have to ask it the appropriate
questions.
15
7. Calculating the Wavefunction Renormalization
Let’s return to Equation ∗ one more time. It implies,
Ω φ(x) p = ^{√} Z Ω φ _{i}_{n} (x) p _{} _{t}_{=}_{−}_{∞} + d ^{4} y ∆ _{r}_{e}_{t} (x − y) Ω j(y) p
ˆ
ˆ
ˆ
ˆ
We now know that both φ(x) and
equation to both sides, we get
φ _{i}_{n} (x) _{} _{t}_{=}_{−}_{∞} create singleparticle states. Hence, when we apply the KG
ˆ
0 =
d ^{4} y
δ ^{4} (x − y) Ω j(y) p = Ω j(x) p
ˆ
ˆ
for all x. Therefore,
Ω φ(x) p = ^{√} Z Ω φ _{i}_{n} (x) p
ˆ
ˆ
∗ ∗ ∗∗
Conceptually,
generally operates on multiparticle states as well. We can view the wavefunction renormalization as a sort of
reweighting to take this diﬀerence into account. After all, the interacting ﬁeld
some of its potency on singleparticle states to its interactions with multiparticle states.
φ(x) is in some sense losing
φ _{i}_{n} (x) _{} _{t}_{=}_{−}_{∞} acts like a free ﬁeld so it only operates on singleparticle states. Meanwhile, φ(x)
ˆ
ˆ
ˆ
When we originally wrote L (and L _{0} for that matter), we implicitly chose a normalization for our kinetic term:
L _{k}_{i}_{n}_{e}_{t}_{i}_{c} = ^{1} _{2} ∂ _{µ} φ∂ ^{µ} φ. While every other term in a Lagrangian L comes with a generic variable multiplying it,
we will always choose a kinetic term with coeﬃcient ^{1} _{2} . Unsurprisingly, kinetic terms dictate how particles
move in our theory such that altering that coeﬃcient will have implications on particle propagation. ^{1}^{6}
Therefore, the wavefunction renormalization Z is extremely important in ensuring the physicality of our
theory.
The ﬁnal thing I want to do in these notes is derive an expression for the wavefunction renormalization Z
^{1}^{6} Although, it aﬀects propagation in a diﬀerent sense than the mass shift. The details are technical and best saved until we have better machinery. Roughly speaking, there’s an object called the propagator that measures the likelihood a particle propagates from one momentum to another. The scalar propagator is proportional to Z/(p ^{2} + m ^{2} ). Therefore, the mass shift dictates the location of the propagator’s pole while the wavefunction renormalization dictates the intensity of the pole.
16
that we can use in the future. Note that,
ˆ
Ω φ _{i}_{n} (x) p =
=
=
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