Nonpertubative contributions in quantum-mechanical models: the instantonic approach. (English) Zbl 1082.81058

Summary: We review the euclidean path-integral formalism in connection with the one-dimensional non-relativistic particle. The configurations which allow construction of a semiclassical approximation classify themselves into either topological (instantons) and non-topological (bounces) solutions. The quantum amplitudes consist of an exponential associated with the classical contribution multiplied by the fluctuation factor which is given by a functional determinant. The eigenfunctions as well as the energy eigenvalues of the quadratic operators at issue can be written in closed form due to the shape-invariance property. Accordingly, we resort to the zeta-function method to compute the functional determinants in a systematic way. The effect of the multi-instantons configurations is also carefully considered. To illustrate the instanton calculus in a relevant model, we go to the double-well potential. The second popular case is the periodic-potential where the initial levels split into bands. The quantum decay rate of the metastable states in a cubic model is evaluated by means of the bounce-like solution.


81S40 Path integrals in quantum mechanics
58D30 Applications of manifolds of mappings to the sciences
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