Applying the Variational Principle to (1+1)-Dimensional Quantum Field Theories

Author(s): J. Haegeman, J. I. Cirac, T. J. Osborne, H. Verschelde, F. Verstraete

Journal: Physical Review Letters

Volume: 105

Page(s): 251601

Year: 2010

DOI Number: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.105.251601

Link: Link to publication


We extend the recently introduced continuous matrix product state (cMPS) variational class to the setting of (1+1)-dimensional relativistic quantum field theories. This allows one to overcome the difficulties highlighted by Feynman concerning the variational procedure applied to relativistic theories, and provides a new way to regularize quantum field theories. A fermionic version of the continuous matrix product state is introduced which is manifestly free from fermion doubling and sign problems. We illustrate the power of the formalism with the simulation of free massive Dirac fermions, the Gross-Neveu model, and the Casimir effect. We find that cMPS can capture chiral symmetry breaking with absolute scaling of the chiral parameter, and that boundary effects can be accommodated with modest computational effort.


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