Monday, March 5, 2012

1203.0022 (Fiorenza de Micheli et al.)

Quantum Degenerate Systems    [PDF]

Fiorenza de Micheli, Jorge Zanelli
Degenerate dynamical systems are characterized by symplectic structures whose rank is not constant throughout phase space. Their phase spaces are divided into causally disconnected, nonoverlapping regions such that there are no classical orbits connecting two different regions. Here the question of whether this classical disconnectedness survives quantization is addressed. Our conclusion is that in irreducible degenerate systems --in which the degeneracy cannot be eliminated by redefining variables in the action--, the disconnectedness is maintained in the quantum theory: there is no quantum tunnelling across degeneracy surfaces. This shows that the degeneracy surfaces are boundaries separating distinct physical systems, not only classically, but in the quantum realm as well. The relevance of this feature for gravitation and Chern-Simons theories in higher dimensions cannot be overstated.
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