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Quantum Anomalies in Non-Gauge Theories?

+ 6 like - 0 dislike
96 views

I'm reading about quantum anomalies in QFT and all the examples seem to arise in gauge theories. Is it true that theories without a local gauge invariance don't have quantum anomalies? I can't think of examples of symmetry violation in any non-gauge theories, particularly the free theories. Then again, there might be a well-known example I'm not aware of!


This post imported from StackExchange Physics at 2014-04-05 04:42 (UCT), posted by SE-user Edward Hughes

asked Aug 20, 2013 in Theoretical Physics by Edward Hughes (130 points) [ revision history ]
edited Apr 6, 2014 by Xiao-Gang Wen
In fact, I would say that anomalies have relatively little to do with gauge theories, although they are commonly studied there. As Prof. Wen says they are about the impossibility to construct a UV complete quantum theory, because the low energy degrees of freedom cannot be quantized consistently. Therefore there must be other degrees of freedom above the cutoff. Example; there are restrictions on fermion hilbert spaces because of time reversal. The axial anonmaly keeps track of the violation of these restrictions.

This post imported from StackExchange Physics at 2014-04-05 04:42 (UCT), posted by SE-user BebopButUnsteady

2 Answers

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There are things called sigma model anomalies, see papers listed in a sample inspire database query here.

Here, the anomaly is associated to the general coordinate invariance in the target space of the non-linear sigma model: the fields take values in a nontrivial manifold (and its associated vector bundles), rather than vector spaces. Classically, the action is independent of the coordinates used to describe the target manifold. But this independence can be lost via quantization.

This post imported from StackExchange Physics at 2014-04-05 04:42 (UCT), posted by SE-user Yuji
answered Aug 20, 2013 by Yuji (1,390 points) [ no revision ]
+ 5 like - 0 dislike

A more general definition of anomaly: A QFT that has no UV completion in the same dimension is anomalous.

In other words, a QFT that has no well defined short distance regularization in the same dimension is anomalous.

Example: A 1+1D QFT with only one right moving fermion mode is anomalous.

We conjectured that an anomalous QFT, although not well defined in the same dimension, can always be realized as a boundary of a well-defined STP state (for gauge anormaly) or a well-defined topologically ordered state (for gravitational anomaly) in one higher dimension. This leads to a classification of gauge and gravitational anomalies (see arXiv:1303.1803 ) . The above  UV completion definition of anomaly and the above classification include the usual ABJ chiral anomalies, global gauge anormalies, gravitational anomalies, and global gravitational anomalies. Most of the global gauge/gravitational anomalies are new.


This post imported from StackExchange Physics at 2014-04-05 04:42 (UCT), posted by SE-user Xiao-Gang Wen

answered Aug 21, 2013 by Xiao-Gang Wen (3,319 points) [ revision history ]
edited Apr 6, 2014 by Xiao-Gang Wen
Many thanks for your answer. So am I right in thinking that anomalies only arise because of regularization then? But if so, what about the chiral anomaly? That's just a result of the measure not being invariant, I think.

This post imported from StackExchange Physics at 2014-04-05 04:42 (UCT), posted by SE-user Edward Hughes
The UV completion definition of anomaly include the ABJ chiral anomaly (see my recent paper arXiv:1303.1803 )

This post imported from StackExchange Physics at 2014-04-05 04:42 (UCT), posted by SE-user Xiao-Gang Wen
Thank you very much - I'll have a good read of it.

This post imported from StackExchange Physics at 2014-04-05 04:42 (UCT), posted by SE-user Edward Hughes
In regard to this answer and your interesting recent paper, you could perhaps be interested in writing an answer to my question physics.stackexchange.com/questions/33195/… . I would love to read it.

This post imported from StackExchange Physics at 2014-04-05 04:42 (UCT), posted by SE-user drake
@drake: I am writing a related long paper. I will try to write an answer to your very interesting question after I finished the paper.

This post imported from StackExchange Physics at 2014-04-05 04:42 (UCT), posted by SE-user Xiao-Gang Wen
@Xiao-GangWen I look forward to it.

This post imported from StackExchange Physics at 2014-04-05 04:42 (UCT), posted by SE-user drake

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