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UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Functional integral representations for quantum many-particle systems Blois, Cindy Marie


Formal functional integrals are commonly used as theoretical tools and as sources of intuition for predicting phase transitions of many-body systems in Condensed Matter Physics. In this thesis, we derive rigorous versions of these functional integrals for two types of quantum many-particle systems. We begin with a brief review of quantum statistical mechanics in Chapter 2 and the formalism of coherent states in Chapter 3, which form the basis for our analysis in Chapters 4 and 5. In Chapter 4, we study a mixed gas of bosons and/or fermions interacting on a finite lattice, with a general Hamiltonian that preserves the total number of particles in each species. We rigorously derive a functional integral representation for the partition function, which employs a large-field cutoff for the boson fields. We then expand the resulting “action” in powers of the fields and find a recursion relation for the coefficients. In the case of a two-body interaction (such as the Coulomb interaction), we also find bounds on the coefficients, which give a domain of analyticity for the action. This domain is large enough for use of the action in the functional integral, provided that the large-field cutoffs are taken to grow not too quickly. In Chapter 5, we study a system of electrons and phonons interacting in a finite lattice, using the Holstein Hamiltonian. Again, we rigorously derive a coherent-state functional integral representation for the partition function of this system and then prove that the “action” in the functional integral is an entire-analytic function of the fields. However, since the Holstein Hamiltonian does not preserve the total number of bosons, the approach from Chapter 4 requires some modification. In particular, we repeatedly use Duhamel expansions in powers of the interaction, rather than sums over particle numbers.

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