A sound confirmation of Yang-Mills scenario


Today arxiv contains a very interesting paper by Attilio Cucchieri and Tereza Mendes (see here). They do a significant lattice computation for a SU(2) Yang-Mills theory in 3 and 4 dimensions. Quarks are absent (quenched approximation). Their aim is to verify the current emerging scenario in a particular situation where the coupling on the lattice is taken to go to infinity (\beta=0). This case, as pointed out by the authors, is unphysical but is a quite interesting test-bed for the behavior of the two-point functions of the theory (gluon and ghost propagators). They do not aim to check the running coupling as this, currently, is matter of hot debate yet.

I would like to remember what is at stake today about this question.  For some years there has been the strong conviction that the gluon propagator should go to zero and ghost propagator should go to infinity faster than the free propagator (conformal solution). This was needed to confirm two confining scenarios that were commonly accepted by the community. Most of these results emerged from an idea due to Gribov that there remains an ambiguity in the gauge also after it is fixed. Taking into account Gribov ambiguity provoked a flourishing of papers all reaching similar conclusions. At that time, due to the small achievable volumes, lattice computations were not able to clarify the situation even if the gluon propagator was never seen to tend to zero in a significant way. As increasing volumes made available a completely new scenario emerged. People obtained that the gluon propagator indeed reaches a finite value at zero momentum while the ghost propagator is seen to behave as that of a free particle (decoupling solution). A commonly accepted definition of running coupling was seen to converge to zero making the theory trivial.

This emerging data prompted several explanations. People started to criticize these lattice computations as maybe there was an accumulation of Gribov copies that modify the right results into the observed ones. Maybe the fixing gauge algorithms should be better analyzed and so on. People from Australia (see here and here) claimed that low energy data should not be trusted. Discarding them one finds again the conformal solution. Cucchieri and Mendes give a sound answer to all these doubts. Indeed, it is not clear why in 2 dimensions one gets the conformal solutions but not in 3 and 4 dimensions, notwithstanding the code used to do these computations is always the same. Further, any reason adduced by Australian group to remove low energy data is proved substantially unfounded and the results obtained by Cucchieri and Mendes represent a correct picture of the case \beta=0 for 3 and 4 dimensions. Indeed, Cucchieri and Mendes show that Gribov copies play no role in the scenario seen at low energies for Yang-Mills theory. This is a crucial point that has been source for misleading research for a lot of years.

So, let us take a look at the scenario found by Cucchieri and Mendes. These authors consider a maximum lattice dimensions of 100^3 for 3 dimensions and 64^4 for 4 dimensions. They show without any doubt that one gets the decoupling solution: The gluon propagator reaches a finite value at zero momentum and the ghost propagator is that of a free particle. What is more interesting here are the fits. For the propagator they fit to a sum of Stingl-forms

D(x)=\sum_{i=1,2}c_i\cos(b_i+\lambda_i x)e^{-\lambda_i x}

and for the ghost propagator


being m the gluon mass. The authors tried to avoid to fix the values of their computations with experimental data. As you know, the relevant parameter here is \sqrt{\sigma}, the string tension. Notwithstanding this operative choice, they get for the gluon mass the following values

m=0.499 GeV

using only data with p^2<4 GeV and

m=0.466 GeV

using all data. I hope that now some bell is ringing for you as this is the mass of the \sigma resonance. This resonance is not seen by people doing quenched computations to obtain the spectrum of a pure Yang-Mills theory. Why? What are they missing with respect to Cucchieri and Mendes? This should not become a longstanding question. We need an answer right now.

Now, take a look at the fit of the gluon propagator. Try to do a Fourier transform and you will get back something like


and this is shockingly similar to my propagator having the general form


that is a sum of free particle propagators!

I should say that I am somewhat impressed by Cucchieri and Mendes results. They showed that the decoupling scenario is the right one in the physical case of 4 dimensions. My view is that we should move on from the current position and try to find the theoretical framework that better fits the data. It goes without saying what is the one I am supporting.

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