State sum invariants of compact 3-manifolds with boundary and 6j-symbols

  • M. Karowski
  • W. Müller
  • R. Schrader
Part of the Mathematical Physics Studies book series (MPST, volume 13)


In a recent article Turaev and Viro [TV] have constructed nontrivial “quantum” invariants of closed compact 3-manifolds M 3 in the form of state sums (called partition functions in statistical physics and vacuum functionals in quantum field theory) associated with the quantized universal enveloping algebra Uq(sl(2, C)) when q is a complex root of unity of a certain degree 2r > 4. The state sum is first defined for a given triangulation X of M and then shown to be independent of the triangulation X of M thus giving rise to a well defined invariant of M, which thus depends on q. This result may be viewed as a rigorous mathematical construction of what is called a topological quantum field theory. In fact, in the language of physicists, a triangulation corresponds to the introduction of a high-energy cut-off. Now topological quantum field theories have trivial dynamics, in other words they only deal with the vacuum sector, are scale invariant and more generally independent of any metrics. Invariance under subdivision is just the statement that the associated renormalization group transformation is trivial. This result suggests that the familiar techniques from algebraic topology should become useful to construct and discuss other topological quantum field theories. Moreover, similar combinatorial techniques could become helpful in discussing particle structures of low dimensional quantum field theories, whose vacuum sector is given in terms of a topological quantum field theory.


Conformal Field Theory Edge Colouring Vacuum Sector Topological Quantum Field Theory Trivial Dynamic 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. Karowski
    • 1
  • W. Müller
    • 2
  • R. Schrader
    • 1
  1. 1.Institut für Theoretische PhysikFreie Universität BerlinGermany
  2. 2.Max Planck Institut für MathematikBonnGermany

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