Towards the QFT on curved spacetime limit of QGR: I. A general scheme

Journal article
(Original article)

Publication Details

Author(s): Sahlmann H, Thiemann T
Journal: Classical and Quantum Gravity
Publisher: Institute of Physics: Hybrid Open Access
Publication year: 2006
Volume: 23
Journal issue: 3
Pages range: 867-908
ISSN: 0264-9381


In this paper and the companion paper (Sahlmann and Thiemann 2006 Towards the QFT on curved spacetime limit of QGR: II. A concrete implementation Class. Quantum Grav. 23 909), 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 programme. In the first paper of this series of two, we propose a general scheme of logical steps that one has to take 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'! Such problems have, to the best of our knowledge, not been discussed in the literature before, we are facing squarely one aspect of the deep conceptual difference between a background-dependent and a background-free theory. 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 γ-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. © 2006 IOP Publishing Ltd.

FAU Authors / FAU Editors

Sahlmann, Hanno Prof. Dr.
Professur für Theoretische Physik
Thiemann, Thomas Prof. Dr.
Chair for Theoretical Physics III (Quantum Gravity)

How to cite

Sahlmann, H., & Thiemann, T. (2006). Towards the QFT on curved spacetime limit of QGR: I. A general scheme. Classical and Quantum Gravity, 23(3), 867-908.

Sahlmann, Hanno, and Thomas Thiemann. "Towards the QFT on curved spacetime limit of QGR: I. A general scheme." Classical and Quantum Gravity 23.3 (2006): 867-908.


Last updated on 2018-31-10 at 13:50