• Register
PhysicsOverflow is a next-generation academic platform for physicists and astronomers, including a community peer review system and a postgraduate-level discussion forum analogous to MathOverflow.

Welcome to PhysicsOverflow! PhysicsOverflow is an open platform for community peer review and graduate-level Physics discussion.

Please help promote PhysicsOverflow ads elsewhere if you like it.


New printer friendly PO pages!

Migration to Bielefeld University was successful!

Please vote for this year's PhysicsOverflow ads!

Please do help out in categorising submissions. Submit a paper to PhysicsOverflow!

... see more

Tools for paper authors

Submit paper
Claim Paper Authorship

Tools for SE users

Search User
Reclaim SE Account
Request Account Merger
Nativise imported posts
Claim post (deleted users)
Import SE post

Users whose questions have been imported from Physics Stack Exchange, Theoretical Physics Stack Exchange, or any other Stack Exchange site are kindly requested to reclaim their account and not to register as a new user.

Public \(\beta\) tools

Report a bug with a feature
Request a new functionality
404 page design
Send feedback


(propose a free ad)

Site Statistics

204 submissions , 162 unreviewed
5,026 questions , 2,180 unanswered
5,344 answers , 22,686 comments
1,470 users with positive rep
815 active unimported users
More ...

  Does there exist a generalization of the LSZ theorem for scattering particles of any (including half-integer) spin?

+ 0 like - 0 dislike

The LSZ theorem for calculating the S-matrix

\[\begin{eqnarray} \langle f ¦ S ¦ i \rangle & = & \left [ i \int d^4x_1 e^{-ip_1x_1}(\square + m^2 ) \right ] \dotsc \left [ i \int d^4x_n e^{-ip_nx_n}(\square + m^2 ) \right ] \\ & & \times \langle \Omega¦ T(\phi(x_1) \dotsc \phi(x_n)) ¦ \Omega \rangle \end{eqnarray} \]

is as I understand it only valid for Klein-Gordon fields as can for example be seen by the appearance of the operator $(\square + m^2)$.

Is there a generalization of this theorem which allows to calculate the S-matrix for scattering events of particles of any (including half-integer) spin?

Looking at the derivation of the LSZ formula in chapter 6.1 of this book, it seems that the following things should be considered to derive an LSZ formula for fermions for example:

  • The initial $¦ i\rangle$ and final $¦f\rangle$ asymptotic state should be constracted by using fermionic creation and annihilaton operators
  • The Fourier decomposition of scalar fields should be replaced by the decomposition of spinorial fields
  • The dispersion relation $\omega_p = \sqrt{\vec{p}^2 + m^2}$ would still be valid (?)
  • In the imporant relation $i\int d^4 x e^{ipx}(\square + m^2 ) \phi(x) = \sqrt{2\omega_p}[a_p(\infty)] -a_p[-\infty]$ the the operator $\square + m^2$ should additionally be replaced by $i\gamma^{\mu}\partial_{\mu} -m$
  • When time-ordering the fermionic creation and annihilation operators (or spinorial fields) one would need to carefully keep track of sign changes

Just from these naive considerations I would expect an LSZ formula for fermions to look like something as

\(\begin{eqnarray} \langle f ¦ S ¦ i \rangle & = & \left [ i \int d^4x_1 e^{-ip_1x_1}(i\gamma^{\mu}\partial_{\mu} -m) \right ] \dotsc \left [ i \int d^4x_n e^{-ip_nx_n}(i\gamma^{\mu}\partial_{\mu} -m ) \right ] \\ & & \times \langle \Omega¦ T(\psi(x_1) \dotsc \psi(x_n)) ¦ \Omega \rangle \end{eqnarray} \)

asked Apr 18, 2015 in Theoretical Physics by Dilaton (6,240 points) [ revision history ]
edited Apr 19, 2015 by Dilaton

Yes there does, LSZ is one of the corner stones of any modern teaching of QFT, so you should expect it to have enough generality. The proof given in Weinberg's textbook covers arbitrary spin, but somewhat obscures the connection with asymptotic states, and given the bullet points you presented, you are probably more comfortable with the proof given in these slides, fermion case starts from page 29.

Yes, of course there exist generalisations of LSZ reduction to other spins, see e.g. [1] for Dirac fields. edit: @JiaYiyang Oops, I was writing at the same time.

As far as the usual QM can be cast into the occupation number representation, there should be some analogue to LSZ formula for scattering in QM. What may be the difference between QM and QFT in this respect?

The question was asked for arbitrary spin.

What happens in the spin 1 case? Slide 46 of Romao's slides pointed to by Yiyang gives the answer for photons, massless U(1) spin 1 particles. What in the massive case? For nonabelian gauge theories?

What happens for asymptotic composite states? These are good asymptotic states, so there should be S-matrix elelemts. In particular, hadrons in QCD can have quite high spin content. So there should be a formula for massive particles of arbitrary spin.

Your answer

Please use answers only to (at least partly) answer questions. To comment, discuss, or ask for clarification, leave a comment instead.
To mask links under text, please type your text, highlight it, and click the "link" button. You can then enter your link URL.
Please consult the FAQ for as to how to format your post.
This is the answer box; if you want to write a comment instead, please use the 'add comment' button.
Live preview (may slow down editor)   Preview
Your name to display (optional):
Privacy: Your email address will only be used for sending these notifications.
Anti-spam verification:
If you are a human please identify the position of the character covered by the symbol $\varnothing$ in the following word:
Then drag the red bullet below over the corresponding character of our banner. When you drop it there, the bullet changes to green (on slow internet connections after a few seconds).
To avoid this verification in future, please log in or register.

user contributions licensed under cc by-sa 3.0 with attribution required

Your rights