On ghost fermions

  • G. Grensing
Theoretical physics


The path integral for ghost fermions, which is heuristically made use of in the Batalin-Fradkin-Vilkovisky approach to quantization of constrained systems, is derived from first principles. The derivation turns out to be rather different from that of physical fermions since the definition of Dirac states for ghost fermions is subtle. With these results at hand, it is then shown that the nonminimal extension of the Becchi-Rouet-Stora-Tyutin operator must be chosen differently from the notorious choice made in the literature in order to avoid the boundary terms that have always plagued earlier treatments. Furthermore it is pointed out that the elimination of states with nonzero ghost number requires the introduction of a thermodynamic potential for ghosts; the reason is that Schwarz's Lefschetz formula for the partition function of the time-evolution operator is not capable, despite claims to the contrary, to get rid of nonzero ghost number states on its own. Finally, we comment on the problems of global topological nature that one faces in the attempt to obtain the solutions of the Dirac condition for physical states in a configuration space of nontrivial geometry; such complications give rise to anomalies that do not obey the Wess-Zumino consistency conditions.


Physical State Partition Function Early Treatment Number State Consistency Condition 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg / Società Italiana di Fisica 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • G. Grensing
    • 1
  1. 1.Institut für Theoretische Physik und Astrophysik Universität Kiel, 24118 Kiel, Germany DE

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