a Derivation of the Classical Limit of Quantum Mechanics and Quantum Electrodynamics.
Instead of regarding the classical limit as the limit hbar to 0, an alternative view based on the physical interpretation of the elements of the density matrix is proposed. According to this alternative view, taking the classical limit corresponds to taking the diagonal elements and ignoring the off-diagonal elements of the density matrix. As illustrations of this alternative approach, the classical limits of quantum mechanics and quantum electrodynamics are derived. The derivation is carried out in two stages. First, the statistical classical limit is derived. Then with an appropriate initial condition, the deterministic classical limit is obtained. In the case of quantum mechanics, it is found that the classical limit of Schrodinger's wave mechanics is at best statistical, i.e., Schrodinger's wave mechanics does not reduce to deterministic (Hamilton's or Newton's) classical mechanics. In order to obtain the latter, it is necessary to start out initially with a mixture at the level of statistical quantum mechanics. The derivation hinges on the use of the Feynman path integral rigorously defined with the aid of nonstandard analysis. Nonstandard analysis is also applied to extend the method to the case of quantum electrodynamics. The fundamental decoupling problem arising from the use of Grassmann variables is circumvented by the use of c-number electron fields, but antisymmetrically tagged. The basic classical (deterministic) field equations are obtained in the classical limit with appropriate initial conditions. The result raises the question as to what the corresponding classical field equations obtained in the classical limit from the renormalized Lagrangian containing infinite counterterms really mean.
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- Physics: General