Algebraic Quantum Field Theory: An introduction

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Title of host publicationProgress and Visions in Quantum Theory in View of Gravity
DateAccepted/In press - 22 Aug 2019
Number of pages57
EditorsFelix Finster, Domenico Giulini, Johannes Kleiner, Jürgen Tolksdorf
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

We give a pedagogical introduction to algebraic quantum field theory (AQFT), with the aim of explaining its key structures and features. Topics covered include: algebraic formulations of quantum theory and the GNS representation theorem, the appearance of unitarily inequivalent representations in QFT (exemplified by the van Hove model), the main assumptions of AQFT and simple models thereof, the spectrum condition, Reeh--Schlieder theorem, split property, the universal type of local algebras, and the theory of superselection sectors. The abstract discussion is illustrated by concrete examples. One of our concerns is to explain various ways in which quantum field theory differs from quantum mechanics, not just in terms of technical detail, but in terms of physical content.
The text is supplemented by exercises and appendices that enlarge on some of the relevant mathematical background. These notes are based on lectures given by CJF for the International Max Planck Research School at the Albert Einstein Institute, Golm (October, 2018) and by KR at the Raman Research Institute, Bangalore (January, 2019).

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