nLab
ghost field

Context

Physics

physics, mathematical physics, philosophy of physics

Surveys, textbooks and lecture notes


theory (physics), model (physics)

experiment, measurement, computable physics

Contents

Idea

In gauge theory the configuration space/phase space is not in general a smooth space, but a smooth groupoid: the gauge transformations between gauge fields are the morphisms of this groupoid.

The infinitesimal approximation to this smooth groupoid is a Lie algebroid. The dg-algebra of functions on this is called the BRST complex of the gauge theory. It contains in degree-0 the (duals to) the gauge fields and in degree-1 the cotangents to the gauge transformations. These degree-1 elements that appear here alongside the physical fields in degree 0 are called ghost fields in the physics literature.

If there are higher gauge transformationsgauge-of-gauge transformations” then the BRST complex has generators in higher degree, too, the cotangents to these higher gauge transformations. These are then called ghost-of-ghost fields.

For more details and further pointers see at BRST complex and in particular at BV-BRST formalism.

Revised on February 19, 2013 14:34:07 by Urs Schreiber (80.81.16.253)