Foundations of Physics

, Volume 30, Issue 3, pp 413-437

First online:

Evaluating the Effective Action

  • Barry R. HolsteinAffiliated withInstitut für Kernphysik, Forschungszentrum Jülich

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The use of effective field theory, in situations wherein the energy-momentum of light particles is much lower than the rest mass of heavy degrees of freedom, has become an important one in contemporary physics. Herein we examine various means by which this effective action can be evaluated, using the effective photon–photon interaction—the Euler–Heisenberg Lagrangian—as a pedagogical example.