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Particles QFT for condensed matter physicist (should I?)

  1. Sep 18, 2013 #1
    Hi, I would like to ask whether if a course in Quantum Field Theory (in particle physics context) would be of any use to future condensed matter physicist. Is it beneficial to be exposed to things like Canonical Quantization, Interacting Fields, Dirac Equation, Quantizing Dirac field and QED? I mean it is all fun and challenge, but is it useful enough to go for it?
     
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  3. Sep 18, 2013 #2

    atyy

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    Yes! QFT theory is a formalism for treating many identical particles, so it is used in condensed matter. The BCS theory is quite often formulated using second quantization.

    Richard Mattuck's fun book, and Xiao-Gang Wen's textbook are examples.
     
  4. Sep 18, 2013 #3

    ZapperZ

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    Is it specified that the QFT course is geared towards particle physics? And is this the only QFT course available?

    If it is, then there's no harm in taking it. You will need to know QFT, but to varying degree depending on if you're planning on being an experimentalist or a theorist in condensed matter. Choosing the latter will make it a must that you know QFT.

    The plus side here is that a lot of stuff that we do in condensed matter transcends that field. One only need to look at the Higgs mechanism, for example, that came out of condensed matter. So having a knowledge of particle physics is quite an advantage for a condensed matter physicist. One can also see the reverse. Physicist such as S.C. Zhang at Stanford came out of particle physics to become a well-known condensed matter theorist.

    Zz.
     
  5. Sep 18, 2013 #4
    It is a QFT in particle physics and includes subtopics such as Vacuum energy, Feynman diagrams/rules, Lorentz invariant propagators - things that condensed matter physicists doesn't need as I would guess. I would like to do theory by the way and my uni does provide a course called Q Condensed Matter FT that covers topics on Second quantization, Path Integral Methods and Many-Body Field Integral. The problem is that the amount of courses to take is limited and taking QFT for particle physicist means dropping a course in Condensed Matter or Atomic and Optical physics which seem more necessary or I am wrong?
     
  6. Sep 18, 2013 #5

    ZapperZ

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    You WILL make use of Feynman diagram in condensed matter. And you will need to know the concept of vacuum energy. Not sure about Lorentz invariant propagators.

    I'm a bit puzzled that you have to choose between QFT and another condensed matter course. Is this a restriction put on by your school?

    Zz.
     
  7. Sep 19, 2013 #6
    Good to know - thanks for the reply. There is no restriction on the amount of courses a student can take, but in terms of workload - well, we have to choose three courses for the coming trimester and take more if you want to - only best three exams of the trimester go into transcript, but then, to me at least, it makes more sense to do three things well than bet doing well in more.
     
  8. Sep 21, 2013 #7

    radium

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    I am applying to graduate programs for condensed matter theory and have done research in the field.
    I am actually taking a quantum field theory class this semester.
    From what I have seen quantum field theory is very important in modern condensed matter physics, especially in areas like topological phases, systems in the presence of disorder, and strongly correlated systems. There is actually quite a bit of use of things like Chern-Simons gauge theory, the renormalization group, feynmann diagrams, Dirac scattering, and conformal field theory. Many condensed matter physicists have started to use techniques from high energy physics to solve problems.
     
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