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  The Einstein-Klein-Gordon (EKG) equations

+ 1 like - 0 dislike

I am a little confused about a few papers I read on the Einstein-Klein-Gordon (EKG) equations.

From what I understood one takes the energy-stress-tensor of the scalar field:

$$T_{\mu\nu } = −\partial_\mu \varphi ∂_\nu \varphi − \frac12 g_{\mu\nu}∂_\alpha\varphi∂_\alpha\varphi − V(φ )$$

$$V(φ) = −\frac12 (mφ)^2 + \fracκ4φ^4$$

Where $κ$ is the usual self-interaction coupling constant .

Then this stress-tensor is plugged into Einstein's equation and solved usually with the Schwarzschild or other convenient metrics.

Now from what I know about QFT, isn't $φ$ an operator that maps the Hilbert space $H$ of particle states to $H$ itself? Doesn't that make the components of the energy-stress-tensor observables and thus operators as well? If so, then how can one equate the components of the Einstein tensor (which are purely geometric tensor fields) to operators?

I once read that people (as of today) usually plug in < $T_{μν} $ > in Einstein's equation, but in the papers I read they directly used the operator itself and not it's expectation value.

I also wondered how people plug the Maxwell stress tensor into Einstein's equations in a similar way? I get that the EM and scalar field are real valued fields, but shouldn't we use the expectation values in Einstein's equation?

What am I missing? Here is a link to one such paper: http://arxiv.org/abs/0805.3211

This post imported from StackExchange Physics at 2014-05-08 05:12 (UCT), posted by SE-user dj_mummy
asked Aug 21, 2013 in Theoretical Physics by dj_mummy (155 points) [ no revision ]
This seems to be a semantic issue. People sometimes use the phrase Klein-Gordon equation to refer to the classical wave equation with a mass term. There is nothing quantum about it. So $\phi$ is not an operator, its just a normal classical field.

This post imported from StackExchange Physics at 2014-05-08 05:12 (UCT), posted by SE-user BebopButUnsteady

1 Answer

+ 4 like - 0 dislike

This is not how I would usually go about formulating this problem. When i think of the Einstein Klein-gordon equation, I start from an action principle:

$$S = \int d^{4}x\sqrt{|g|}\left(\frac{1}{16\pi G}R -\left[\nabla_{a}\phi\nabla^{a}\phi + V(\phi)\right]\right)$$

Which will then yield EOM:

$$R_{ab} - \frac{1}{2}Rg_{ab} = 8\pi G\left(\nabla_{a}\phi\nabla_{b}\phi -\frac{1}{2}g_{ab}\left[\nabla_{c}\phi\nabla^{c}\phi + V(\phi)\right]\right)$$


$$\nabla^{c}\nabla_{c}\phi - V'(\phi) = 0$$

From here, the question is what are you doing with these equations?

Are you looking at general relativity in the context of a classical Klein-Gordon source? If so, you just solve these equations.

Are you trying to do semi-classical gravity? Well, then, you set your metric to a fixed background metric, and just analyze the Klein-Gordon EOM using the appropriate $\nabla$ for this background metric, quantizing the field using a scheme like you'll find in Wald's book.

Are you looking to work through the back-reaction of semi-classical effects on the background metric? Well, then you need to write down $g_{ab} = g^{0}_{ab} + g^{1}_{ab}$ where $g^{1}_{ab} \ll g^{0}_{ab}$, assume that $\phi$ is first-order, and substitute the expectation value of your solved $\phi$ in on the right hand side, and solve for $g^{1}_{ab}$ in this limit.

Or are you trying to do something else? If you want to treat this as a fully quantum problem, you're going to need to first quantize gravity.

This post imported from StackExchange Physics at 2014-05-08 05:12 (UCT), posted by SE-user Jerry Schirmer
answered Aug 21, 2013 by Jerry Schirmer (130 points) [ no revision ]
The equations you wrote reduce to the above in any case, since the covariant derivative is equal to the partial derivative in this case. Without quantizing gravity as you said, shouldn't the writers of the paper have used the expectation value instead? Do you agree that their approach seems a little confused?

This post imported from StackExchange Physics at 2014-05-08 05:12 (UCT), posted by SE-user dj_mummy
@dj_mummy: I do agree that the approach seems a little confused. I tell them to use the expectation value if they're looking to solve the semi-classical problem. And it's a little pedantic, but $\phi_{a}\phi_{a}$, as notation, seems to imply the use of a Minkowski background, and starting with an action was an attempt on my part to say "no, there really is an enveloping 4-geometry, and this affects the KG EOM, and needs to be thought about throughout the problem." And, if you just treat the whole thing classically, of course, you can just think of the KG equation as a classical equation.

This post imported from StackExchange Physics at 2014-05-08 05:12 (UCT), posted by SE-user Jerry Schirmer
Yeah, :) I realized while writing the question that I needed an upper index, but I don't really know how to add that. I am really bad with formatting.

This post imported from StackExchange Physics at 2014-05-08 05:12 (UCT), posted by SE-user dj_mummy

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