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Journal Article

Towards the QFT on Curved Spacetime Limit of QGR. 1: A General Scheme


Thiemann,  Thomas
Quantum Gravity & Unified Theories, AEI-Golm, MPI for Gravitational Physics, Max Planck Society;

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Sahlmann, H., & Thiemann, T. (2006). Towards the QFT on Curved Spacetime Limit of QGR. 1: A General Scheme. Classical and Quantum Gravity, 23(3), 867-908.

Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-0013-4AC7-C
In this article and a companion paper we address the question of how one might obtain the semiclassical limit of ordinary matter quantum fields (QFT) propagating on curved spacetimes (CST) from full fledged Quantum General Relativity (QGR), starting from first principles. We stress that we do not claim to have a satisfactory answer to this question, rather our intention is to ignite a discussion by displaying the problems that have to be solved when carrying out such a program. In the present paper we propose a scheme that one might follow in order to arrive at such a limit. We discuss the technical and conceptual problems that arise in doing so and how they can be solved in principle. As to be expected, completely new issues arise due to the fact that QGR is a background independent theory. For instance, fundamentally the notion of a photon involves not only the Maxwell quantum field but also the metric operator - in a sense, there is no photon vacuum state but a "photon vacuum operator"! While in this first paper we focus on conceptual and abstract aspects, for instance the definition of (fundamental) n-particle states (e.g. photons), in the second paper we perform detailed calculations including, among other things, coherent state expectation values and propagation on random lattices. These calculations serve as an illustration of how far one can get with present mathematical techniques. Although they result in detailed predictions for the size of first quantum corrections such as the gamma-ray burst effect, these predictions should not be taken too seriously because a) the calculations are carried out at the kinematical level only and b) while we can classify the amount of freedom in our constructions, the analysis of the physical significance of possible choices has just begun