nLab
confinement

Contents

Context

Physics

physics, mathematical physics, philosophy of physics

Surveys, textbooks and lecture notes


theory (physics), model (physics)

experiment, measurement, computable physics

Differential cohomology

Contents

Idea

Confinement (e.g Espiru 94) is the (expected) phenomenon in Yang-Mills theory generally and especially in quantum chromodynamics that the fundamental quarks, which the YM/QCD-Lagrangian density actually describes, must form baryonic bound states which are neutral under the color charge – the mesons and hadrons (protons, neutrons). Hence confinement in particular concerns the emergence and existence of atomic nuclei, hence of ordinary matter, which is not manifest at all in the quark-model.

Part of the issue is that confinement is a non-perturbative effect (e.g Espiru 94) outside the range of validity of perturbative quantum field theory.

Open problem

While experiment as well as lattice gauge theory-computer simulation clearly show that confinement takes place, a real theoretical understanding is missing (see also at mass gap problem).

Here are quotes from some references highlighting the open problem:

  • Robert Kutschke, section 3.1 Heavy flavour spectroscopy, in D. Bugg (ed.), Hadron Spectroscopy and the Confinement Problem, Proceedings of a NATO Advanced Study Institute, Plenum Press 1996 (doi:10.1007/978-1-4613-0375-6)

While it is generally believed that QCD is the correct fundamental theory of the strong interactions there are, as yet, no practical means to produce full QCD calculations of hadron masses and their decay widths.

Because of the great importance of the standard model, and the central role it plays in our understanding of particle physics, it is unfortunate that, in one very important respect, we don’t really understand how it works. The problem lies in the sector dealing with the interactions of quarks and gluons, the sector known as Quantum Chromodynamics or QCD. We simply do not know for sure why quarks and gluons, which are the fundamental fields of the theory, don’t show up in the actual spectrum of the theory, as asymptotic particle states. There is wide agreement about what must be happening in high energy particle collisions: the formation of color electric flux tubes among quarks and antiquarks, and the eventual fragmentation of those flux tubes into mesons and baryons, rather than free quarks and gluons. But there is no general agreement about why this is happening, and that limitation exposes our general ignorance about the workings of non-abelian gauge theories in general, and QCD in particular, at large distance scales.

QCD is a perennially problematic theory. Despite its decades of experimental support, the detailed low-energy physics remains beyond our calculational reach. The lattice provides a technique for answering nonperturbative questions, but to date there remain open questions that have not been answered.

  • Brambilla et al., QCD and strongly coupled gauge theories: challenges and perspectives, Eur Phys J C Part Fields. 2014; 74(10): 2981 (doi:10.1140/epjc/s10052-014-2981-5)

The success of the technique does not remove the challenge of understanding the non-perturbative aspects of the theory. The two aspects are deeply intertwined. The Lagrangian of QCD is written in terms of quark and gluon degrees of freedom which become apparent at large energy but remain hidden inside hadrons in the low-energy regime. This confinement property is related to the increase of α s\alpha_s at low energy, but it has never been demonstrated analytically.

We have clear indications of the confinement of quarks into hadrons from both experiments and lattice QCD. Computations of the heavy quark–antiquark potential, for example, display a linear behavior in the quark–antiquark distance, which cannot be obtained in pure perturbation theory. Indeed the two main characteristics of QCD: confinement and the appearance of nearly massless pseudoscalar mesons, emergent from the spontaneous breaking of chiral symmetry, are non-perturbative phenomena whose precise understanding continues to be a target of research.

Even in the simpler case of gluodynamics in the absence of quarks, we do not have a precise understanding of how a gap in the spectrum is formed and the glueball spectrum is generated.

[][\cdots] the QCD Lagrangian does not by itself explain the data on strongly interacting matter, and it is not clear how the observed bound states, the hadrons, and their properties arise from QCD. Neither confinement nor dynamical chiral symmetry breaking (DCSB) is apparent in QCD’s lagrangian, yet they play a dominant role in determining the observable characteristics of QCD. The physics of strongly interacting matter is governed by emergent phenomena such as these, which can only be elucidated through the use of non-perturbative methods in QCD [4, 5, 6, 7]

Experimentally, there is a large number of facts that lack a detailed qualitative and quantitative explanation. The most spectacular manifestation of our lack of theoretical understanding of QCD is the failure to observe the elementary degrees of freedom, quarks and gluons, as free asymptotic states (color con- finement) and the occurrence, instead, of families of massive mesons and baryons (hadrons) that form approximately linear Regge trajectories in the mass squared. The internal, partonic structure of hadrons, and nucleons in particular, is still largely mysterious. Since protons and neutrons form almost all the visible matter of the Universe, it is of basic importance to explore their static and dynamical properties in terms of quarks and gluons interacting according to QCD dynamics.

  • Hideo Suganuma, Yuya Nakagawa, Kohei Matsumoto, 1+1 Large N cN_c QCD and its Holographic Dual -Soliton Picture of Baryons in Single-Flavor World, Proceedings of the 14th International Conference on Meson-Nucleon Physics and the Structure of the Nucleon (MENU2016) (arxiv:1610.02074)

Since 1973, quantum chromodynamics (QCD) has been established as the fundamental theory of the strong interaction. Nevertheless, it is very difficult to solve QCD directly in an analytical manner, and many effective models of QCD have been used instead of QCD, but most models cannot be derived from QCD and its connection to QCD is unclear. To analyze nonperturbative QCD, the lattice QCD Monte Carlo simulation has been also used as a first-principle calculation of the strong interaction. However, it has several weak points. For example, the state information (e.g. the wave function) is severely limited, because lattice QCD is based on the path-integral formalism. Also, it is difficult to take the chiral limit, because zero-mass pions require infinite volume lattices. There appears a notorious “sign problem” at finite density.

On the other hand, holographic QCD has a direct connection to QCD, and can be derived from QCD in some limit. In fact, holographic QCD is equivalent to infrared QCD in large N cN_c and strong ‘t Hooft coupling λ\lambda, via gauge/gravity correspondence. Remarkably, holographic QCD is successful to reproduce many hadron phenomenology such as vector meson dominance, the KSRF relation, hidden local symmetry, the GSW model and the Skyrme soliton picture. Unlike lattice QCD simulations, holographic QCD is usually formulated in the chiral limit, and does not have the sign problem at finite density.

  • V. A. Petrov, Asymptotic Regimes of Hadron Scattering in QCD (arXiv:1901.02628)

This is a commonplace that so far we do not have a full-fledged theory of interaction of hadrons, derived from the first principles of QCD and having a regular way of calculating of hadronic amplitudes, especially at high energies and small momentum transfers. The problem is related to a more general problem that QCD Lagrangian would yield colour confinement with massive colourless physical states (hadrons).

  • Christian Drischler, Wick Haxton, Kenneth McElvain, Emanuele Mereghetti, Amy Nicholson, Pavlos Vranas, André Walker-Loud, Towards grounding nuclear physics in QCD (arxiv:1910.07961)

the entirety of the rich field of nuclear physics emerges from QCD: from the forces binding protons and neutrons into the nuclear landscape, to the fusion and fission reactions between nuclei, to the prospective interactions of nuclei with BSM physics, and to the unknown state of matter at the cores of neutron stars.

How does this emergence take place exactly? How is the clustering of quarks into nucleons and alpha particles realized? What are the mechanisms behind collective phenomena in nuclei as strongly correlated many-body systems? How does the extreme fine-tuning required to reproduce nuclear binding energies proceed? – are big open questions in nuclear physics.

Potential solutions

Via Calorons

It has been argued that, after Wick rotation, confinement may be derived from the behaviour of instantons (Schaefer-Shuryak 96, section III D), or rather their positive temperature-incarnations as calorons, Greensite 11, section 8.5:

it is natural to wonder if confinement could be derived from some semiclassical treatment of Yang–Mills theory based on the instanton solutions of non-abelian gauge theories. The standard instantons, introduced by Belavin et al. (40), do not seem to work; their field strengths fall off too rapidly to produce the desired magnetic disorder in the vacuum.

In recent years, however, it has been realized that instanton solutions at finite temperature, known as calorons, might do the job. These caloron solutions were introduced independently by Kraan and van Baal (41, 42) and Lee and Lu (43) (KvBLL), and they have the remarkable property of containing monopole constituents which may, depending on the type of caloron, be widely separated.

[...][...]

The caloron idea is probably the most promising current version of monopole confinement in pure non-abelian gauge theories, but it is basically (in certain gauges) a superposition of monopoles with spherically symmetric abelian fields, and this leads to the same questions raised in connection with monopole Coulomb gases.

See also at glueball.

Via Skyrmions and D4-brane models

A good qualitative and moderate quantitative explanation of confinement in quantum chromodynamics is found in intersecting D-brane models, specifically in the Witten-Sakai-Sugimoto model which geometrically engineers QCD on D4-D8 brane bound states.

(Witten 98, followed up on in Sakai-Sugimoto 04, Sakai-Sugimoto 05)

graphics grabbed from Erlich 09, section 1.1

graphics grabbed from Rebhan 14

In this Witten-Sakai-Sugimoto model for strongly coupled QCD the hadrons in QCD correspond to string-theoretic-phenomena in the bulk field theory:

  1. the mesons (bound states of 2 quarks) correspond to open strings in the bulk, whose two endpoints on the asymptotic boundary correspond to the two quarks

  2. baryons (bound states of N cN_c quarks) appear in two different but equivalent (Sugimoto 16, 15.4.1) guises:

    1. as wrapped D4-branes with N cN_c open strings connecting them to the D8-brane

      (Witten 98b, Gross-Ooguri 98, Sec. 5, BISY 98, CGS98)

    2. as skyrmions

      (Sakai-Sugimoto 04, section 5.2, Sakai-Sugimoto 05, section 3.3, see Bartolini 17).

For review see Sugimoto 16, also Rebhan 14, around (18).

graphics grabbed from Sugimoto 16

Equivalently, these baryon states are the Yang-Mills instantons on the D8-brane giving the D4-D8 brane bound state (Sakai-Sugimoto 04, 5.7) as a special case of the general situation for Dp-D(p+4)-brane bound states (e.g. Tong 05, 1.4).

For more on this see at

and at

In 𝒩=2\mathcal{N}=2 super Yang-Mills theory via Seiberg-Witten theory

While confinement in plain Yang-Mills theory is still waiting for mathematical formalization and proof (see Jaffe-Witten), there is a variant of Yang-Mills theory with more symmetry, namely supersymmetry, where the phenomenon has been giving a decent argument, namely in N=2 D=4 super Yang-Mills theory (Seiberg-Witten 94).

Also a strategy for a proof for N=1 D=4 super Yang-Mills theory has been proposed, see below.

In 𝒩=1\mathcal{N} = 1 super Yang-Mills theory via M-theory on G 2G_2-manifolds

An idea for a strategy towards a proof of confinement in N=1 D=4 super Yang-Mills theory via two different but conjecturally equivalent realizations as M-theory on G2-manifolds has been given in Atiyah-Witten 01, section 6, review is in Acharya-Gukov 04, section 5.3.

The idea here is to consider a KK-compactification of M-theory on fibers which are G2-manifolds that locally around a special point are of the form

X 1,Γ(S 3/Γ)×Cone(S 3)AAorAAX 2,ΓS 3×Cone(S 3/Γ) X_{1,\Gamma} \;\coloneqq\; \big( S^3 / \Gamma \big) \times Cone\big(S^3\big) \phantom{AA} \text{or} \phantom{AA} X_{2,\Gamma} \;\coloneqq\; S^3 \times Cone\big(S^3/\Gamma\big)

where

This means that X 1,ΓX_{1,\Gamma} is a smooth manifold, but X 2,ΓX_{2,\Gamma}, as soon as Γ\Gamma is not the trivial group, Γ1\Gamma \neq 1, is an orbifold with an ADE singularity.

Now the lore of M-theory on G2-manifolds predicts that KK-compactification

  1. on X 1,ΓX_{1,\Gamma} yields a 4d theory without massless fields (since there are no massless modes on the covering space S 3S^3 of X 1,ΓX_{1,\Gamma})

  2. on the ADE-singularity X 2,ΓX_{2,\Gamma} yields non-abelian Yang-Mills theory in 4d coupled to chiral fermions.

So in the first case a mass gap is manifest, while non-abelian gauge theory is not visible, while in the second case it is the other way around.

But if there were an argument that M-theory on G2-manifolds is in fact equivalent for compactification both on X 1,ΓX_{1,\Gamma} and on X 2,ΓX_{2,\Gamma}. To the extent that this is true, it looks like an argument that could demonstrate confinement in non-abelian 4d gauge theory.

This approach is suggested in Atiyah-Witten 01, pages 84-85. An argument that this equivalence is indeed the case is then provided in sections 6.1-6.4, based on an argument in Atiyah-Maldacena-Vafa 00

References

In Yang-Mills theory

General

Textbook accounts include

  • Jeff Greensite, An Introduction to the Confinement Problem, Lecture Notes in Physics, Volume 821, 2011 (doi:10.1007/978-3-642-14382-3)

  • Robert Iengo, section 9.1 of Quantum Field Theory (pdf)

  • D. Bugg (ed.), Hadron Spectroscopy and the Confinement Problem, Proceedings of a NATO Advanced Study Institute, Plenum Press 1996 (doi:10.1007/978-1-4613-0375-6)

Introductions and surveys include

Discussion includes

A formulation of confinement as an open problem of mathematical physics, together with many references, is in

Other technical reviews include

  • G. M. Prosperi, Confinement and bound states in QCD (arXiv:hep-ph/0202186)

  • Christian Drischler, Wick Haxton, Kenneth McElvain, Emanuele Mereghetti, Amy Nicholson, Pavlos Vranas, André Walker-Loud, Towards grounding nuclear physics in QCD (arxiv:1910.07961)

Via monopole condensation

An original suggestion that confinement in Yang-Mills theory may be understood via monopole condensation as a dual Meissner effect? is due to

  • Gerard 't Hooft, in Proceed.of the Europ.Phys.Soc. 1975, ed.by A.Zichichi (Editrice Compositori, Bologna, 1976), p.1225.

  • S. Mandelstam, Phys.Rep. 23C (1976) 145;

(That this is indeed the case has not yet been demonstarted for plain Yang-Mills theory, but it was later shown for N=2 D=4 super Yang-Mills theory in (Seiberg-Witten 94). What this does or does not imply for the case of QCD is discussed in (Yung 00) ).

The relation to QCD instantons/monopoles in the QCD vacuum is discussed in

and analogously (at positive temperature) relation to calorons:

For further developments see

  • Dimensional Transmutation by Monopole Condensation in QCD (arXiv:1206.6936)

Interacting field vacuum

Discussion of confinement as a result of the interacting vacuum includes

  • Johann Rafelski, Vacuum structure – An Essay, in pages 1-29 of H. Fried, Berndt Müller (eds.) Vacuum Structure in Intense Fields, Plenum Press 1990 (GBooks)

See also

In super-Yang-Mills theory

Confinement in N=2 D=4 super Yang-Mills theory by a version of the monopole condensation of (t Hooft 75, Mandelstam 76) was demonstrated in

Reviews with discussion of the impact on confinement in plain YM include

  • Alexei Yung, What Do We Learn about Confinement from the Seiberg-Witten Theory (arXiv:hep-th/0005088)

Under the AdS/CFT correspondence

Discussion in the context of the AdS-CFT correspondence is in

  • Edward Witten, Anti-de Sitter Space, Thermal Phase Transition, And Confinement In Gauge Theories, Adv. Theor. Math. Phys.2:505-532, 1998 (arXiv:hep-th/9803131)

  • David Berman, Maulik K. Parikh, Confinement and the AdS/CFT Correspondence, Phys.Lett. B483 (2000) 271-276 (arXiv:hep-th/0002031)

  • Henrique Boschi Filho, AdS/QCD and confinement, Seminar at the Workshop on Strongly Coupled QCD: The confinement problem, November 2011 (pdf)

In M-theory on G 2G_2-manifolds

An idea for how to demonstrate confinement in models of M-theory on G2-manifolds is given in

based on

See also

For review see

Last revised on November 4, 2019 at 15:58:13. See the history of this page for a list of all contributions to it.