Renormalizationgroup approach to interacting fermions
Abstract
The stability or lack thereof of nonrelativistic fermionic systems to interactions is studied within the renormalizationgroup (RG) framework, in close analogy with the study of critical phenomena using φ^{4} scalar field theory. A brief introduction to φ^{4} theory in four dimensions and the pathintegral formulation for fermions is given before turning to the problem at hand. As for the latter, the following procedure is used. First, the modes on either side of the Fermi surface within a cutoff Λ are chosen for study, in analogy with the modes near the origin in φ^{4} theory, and a path integral is written to describe them. Next, an RG transformation that eliminates a part of these modes, but preserves the action of the noninteracting system, is identified. Finally the possible perturbations of this freefield fixed point are classified as relevant, irrelevant or marginal. A d=1 warmup calculation involving a system of fermions shows how, in contrast to meanfield theory, which predicts a chargedensity wave for arbitrarily weak repulsion, and superconductivity for arbitrarily weak attraction, the renormalizationgroup approach correctly yields a scaleinvariant system (Luttinger liquid) by taking into account both instabilities. Application of the renormalization group in d=2 and 3, for rotationally invariant Fermi surfaces, automatically leads to Landau's Fermiliquid theory, which appears as a fixed point characterized by an effective mass and a Landau function F, with the only relevant perturbations being of the superconducting (BCS) type. The functional flow equations for the BCS couplings are derived and separated into an infinite number of flows, one for each angular momentum. It is shown that similar results hold for rotationally noninvariant (but timereversalinvariant) Fermi surfaces also, with obvious loss of rotational invariance in the parametrization of the fixedpoint interactions. A study of a nested Fermi surface shows an additional relevant flow leading to chargedensitywave formation. It is pointed out that, for small ΛK_{F}, a 1N expansion emerges, with N=K_{F}Λ, which explains why one is able to solve the narrowcutoff theory. The search for nonFermi liquids in d=2 using the RG is discussed. Bringing a variety of phenomena (Landau theory, chargedensity waves, BCS instability, nesting, etc.) under the one unifying principle of the RG not only allows us to better understand and unify them, but also paves the way for generalizations and extensions. The article is pedagogical in nature and is expected to be accessible to any serious graduate student. On the other hand, its survey of the vast literature is mostly limited to the RG approach.
 Publication:

Reviews of Modern Physics
 Pub Date:
 January 1994
 DOI:
 10.1103/RevModPhys.66.129
 arXiv:
 arXiv:condmat/9307009
 Bibcode:
 1994RvMP...66..129S
 Keywords:

 Condensed Matter;
 High Energy Physics  Theory
 EPrint:
 191 pages, Latex, Yale, July 1993