Renormalization in the theory of a quantized scalar field interacting with a robertson-walker spacetime Academic Article uri icon


  • We demonstrate the possibility of removing the divergences in the energy-momentum tensor by identifying divergent terms with renormalizations of the coupling constants in the gravitational field equation, modified to include a cosmological term and terms quadratic in the curvature. The model studied is that of a classical Robertson-Walker metric and a quantized minimally coupled neutral scalar field. The theory is constructed first with an ultraviolet cutoff as a phenomenological ansatz. The cutoff is then removed in an attempt to obtain a more fundamental theory, whereupon the question arises of the covariance and uniqueness of the resulting renormalized energy-momentum tensor. In the case of a massless field in a spatially flat universe, an apparent infrared divergence is discussed from the point of view of operational determination of the renormalized coupling constants. In the other cases, although the divergences are successfully accounted for by renormalization, we are left with finite leading terms which do not appear to be identifiable with geometrical tensors; the significance of this result is under investigation. If these anomalous terms are dropped, the renormalized energy-momentum tensor agrees with that defined by adiabatic regularization, provided that the limit of slow time variation taken in that method is generalized to a limit of "spacetime flatness.". 1974.

published proceedings

  • Annals of Physics

author list (cited authors)

  • Fulling, S. A., & Parker, L.

citation count

  • 147

complete list of authors

  • Fulling, SA||Parker, Leonard

publication date

  • September 1974