Spontaneous Symmetry-Breaking

  • Masud Chaichian
  • Nikolai F. Nelipa
Part of the Texts and Monographs in Physics book series (TMP)


As we have seen in Chap. 2, the gauge-invariant theories include massless gauge fields. From the viewpoint of physical applications both massless and massive gauge fields are relevant. Just adding a mass term to the Lagrangian for the gauge field is not allowed since it would lead to the violation of the gauge-invariance of the Lagrangian. Therefore, a different approach has been proposed in which gauge fields acquire a mass by breaking of the gauge-invariance of the vacuum, while the Lagrangian of the gauge field remains gauge invariant (spontaneous symmetry-breaking). Symmetry-breaking of the vacuum may be incomplete. A part of the gauge fields then remains massless. This makes it possible to build theories including both massive and massless gauge fields, a circumstance used in unifying the short-range and the long-range interactions (e.g., the weak and the electromagnetic interactions), whose mediators are massive intermediate bosons and massless photons, respectively.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1984

Authors and Affiliations

  • Masud Chaichian
    • 1
  • Nikolai F. Nelipa
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of High Energy PhysicsUniversity of HelsinkiHelsinki 17Finland
  2. 2.Institute for Nuclear PhysicsMoscow State UniversityMoscowUSSR

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