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Energy-parity from a bicomplex algebra

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There is a long history of attempts to alleviate the sensitivity of quantum field theory to vacuum fluctuations and ultraviolet divergences by introducing states of negative norm or states of negative energy. This history involves early works by Dirac, Pauli, Pontrjagin and Krein, as well as more recent suggestions by Linde, Kaplan and Sundrum, and ‘t Hooft and Nobbenhuis. In this talk, we will attempt to construct viable scalar quantum field theories that permit positive- and negative-energy states by replacing the field of complex numbers by the commutative ring of bicomplex numbers. The two idempotent zero divisors of the bicomplex numbers partition the algebra into two ideal subalgebras, and we associate one with positive-energy modes and the other with negative-energy modes. In so doing, we avoid destabilising negative-energy cascades, while realising a discrete energy-parity symmetry that eliminates the vacuum energy. The probabilistic interpretation is preserved by associating expectation values with the Euclidean inner product of the bicomplex numbers, and both the positive- and negative-energy Fock states have positive-definite Euclidean norms. We consider whether this construction can yield transition probabilities consistent with the usual scattering theory and highlight potential limitations. We conclude by commenting on the extension to spinor, vector and tensor fields.

This talk is part of the HEP phenomenology joint Cavendish-DAMTP seminar series.

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