It is some time I am not writing posts but the good reason is that I was in Leipzig to IRS 2011 Conference, a very interesting event in a beautiful city. It was inspiring to be in the city where Bach spent a great part of his life. Back to home, I checked as usual my dailies from arxiv and there was an important review by Boucaud, Leroy, Yaouanc, Micheli, Péne and Rodríguez-Quintero. This is the French group that produced striking results in the analysis of Green functions for Yang-Mills theory.
In this paper they do a great work by reviewing the current situation and clarifying the main aspects of the analysis carried out using Dyson-Schwinger equations. These are a tower of equations for the n-point functions of a quantum field theory that can be generally solved by some truncation (with an exception, see here) that cannot be completely controlled. The reason is that the equation of lower order depends on n-point functions of higher orders and so, at some point, we have to decide the behavior of some of these higher order functions truncating the hierarchy. But this choice is generally not under control.
About these techniques there is a main date, Reigensburg 2007, when some kind of wall just went down. Since then, the common wisdom was a scenario with a gluon propagator going to zero when momenta go to zero while, in the same limit, the ghost propagator should go to infinity faster than the free case: So, the gluon propagator was suppressed and the ghost propagator enhanced at infrared. On the lattice, such a behavior was never explicitly observed but was commented that the main reason was the small volumes considered in these computations. On 2007, volumes reached a huge extension in lattice computations, till (27fm)^4, and so the inescapable conclusion was that lattice produced another solution: A gluon propagator reaching a finite non-zero value and the ghost propagator behaving exactly as that of a free particle. This was also the prevision of the French group together with other researchers as Cornwall, Papavassiliou, Aguilar, Binosi and Natale. So, this new solution entered into the mainstream of the analysis of Yang-Mills theory in the infrared and was dubbed “decoupling solution” to distinguish it from the former one, called instead “scaling solution”.
In this review, the authors point out an important conclusion: The reason why authors missed the decoupling solution and just identified the scaling one was that their truncation forced the Schwinger-Dyson equation to a finite non-zero value of the strong coupling constant. This is a crucial point as this means that authors that found the scaling solution were admitting a non-trivial fixed point in the infrared for Yang-Mills equations. This was also the recurring idea in that days but, of course, while this is surely true for QCD, a world without quarks does not exist and, a priori, nothing can be said about Yang-Mills theory, a theory with only gluons and no quarks. Quarks change dramatically the situation as can also be seen for the asymptotic freedom. We are safe because there are only six flavors. But about Yang-Mills theory nothing can be said in the infrared as such a theory is not seen in the reality if not interacting with fermionic fields.
Indeed, as pointed out in the review, the running coupling was seen to behave as in the following figure (this was obtained by the German group, see here)
This result is quite shocking and completely counterintuitive. It is pointing out, even if not yet confirming, that a pure Yang-Mills theory could have an infrared trivial fixed point! This is something that defies common wisdom and can explain why former researchers using the Dyson-Schwinger approach could have missed the decoupling solution. Indeed, this solution seems properly consistent with a trivial fixed point and this can also be inferred by the goodness of the fit of the gluon propagator with a Yukawa-like propagator if we content ourselves with the best agreement just in the deep infrared and the deep ultraviolet where asymptotic freedom sets in. In fact, with a trivial fixed point the theory is free in this limit but you cannot pretend agreement on all the range of energies with a free propagator.
Currently, the question of the right infrared behavior of the two-point functions for Yang-Mills theory is hotly debated yet and the matter that is at stake here is the correct understanding and management of low-energy QCD. This is one of the most fundamental physics problem and something I would like to know the answer.
Ph. Boucaud, J. P. Leroy, A. Le Yaouanc, J. Micheli, O. Péne, & J. Rodríguez-Quintero (2011). The Infrared Behaviour of the Pure Yang-Mills Green Functions arXiv arXiv: 1109.1936v1
Marco Frasca (2009). Exact solution of Dyson-Schwinger equations for a scalar field theory arXiv arXiv: 0909.2428v2
I. L. Bogolubsky, E. -M. Ilgenfritz, M. Müller-Preussker, & A. Sternbeck (2009). Lattice gluodynamics computation of Landau-gauge Green’s functions in
the deep infrared Phys.Lett.B676:69-73,2009 arXiv: 0901.0736v3