Holger Gies

Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena, Jena, Thuringia, Germany

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Publications (129)279.82 Total impact

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    Holger Gies, René Sondenheimer
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    ABSTRACT: We study a chiral Yukawa model mimicking the Higgs-top-bottom sector of the standard model. We re-analyze the conventional arguments that relate a lower bound for the Higgs mass with vacuum stability in the light of exact results for the regularized fermion determinant as well as in the framework of the functional renormalization group. In both cases, we find no indication for vacuum instability nor meta-stability induced by top-fluctuations if the cutoff is kept finite but arbitrary. A lower bound for the Higgs mass arises for the class of standard bare potentials of \phi^4 type from the requirement of a well-defined functional integral (i.e., stability of the bare potential). This consistency bound can however be relaxed considerably by more general forms of the bare potential without necessarily introducing new meta-stable minima.
    07/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: We study the effect of laser photon merging, or equivalently high harmonic generation, in the quantum vacuum subject to inhomogeneous electromagnetic fields. Such a process is facilitated by the effective nonlinear couplings arising from charged particle-antiparticle fluctuations in the quantum vacuum subject to strong electromagnetic fields. We derive explicit results for general kinematic and polarization configurations involving optical photons. Concentrating on merged photons in reflected channels which are preferable in experiments for reasons of noise suppression, we demonstrate that photon merging is typically dominated by the competing nonlinear process of quantum reflection, though appropriate polarization and signal filtering could specifically search for the merging process. As a byproduct, we devise a novel systematic expansion of the photon polarization tensor in plane wave fields.
    06/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: We analyze the many-flavor phase diagram of quantum electrodynamics (QED) in 2+1 (Euclidean) space-time dimensions. We compute the critical flavor number above which the theory is in the quasi-conformal massless phase. For this, we study the renormalization group fixed-point structure in the space of gauge interactions and pointlike fermionic self-interactions, the latter of which are induced dynamically by fermion-photon interactions. We find that a reliable estimate of the critical flavor number crucially relies on a careful treatment of the Fierz ambiguity in the fermionic sector. Using a Fierz-complete basis, our results indicate that the phase transition towards a chirally-broken phase occurring at small flavor numbers could be separated from the quasi-conformal phase at larger flavor numbers, allowing for an intermediate phase which is dominated by fluctuations in a vector channel. If these interactions approach criticality, the intermediate phase could be characterized by a Lorentz-breaking vector condensate.
    04/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: Electron-positron pair production in oscillating electric fields is investigated in the nonperturbative threshold regime. Accurate numerical solutions of quantum kinetic theory for corresponding observables are presented and analyzed in terms of a proposed model for an effective mass of electrons and positrons acquired within the given strong electric field. Although this effective mass cannot provide an exact description of the collective interaction of a charged particle with the strong field, physical observables are identified which carry direct and sensitive signatures of the effective mass.
    Physical Review Letters 02/2014; 112(5):050402. · 7.73 Impact Factor
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    Alexander Blinne, Holger Gies
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    ABSTRACT: We explore Schwinger pair production in rotating time-dependent electric fields using the real-time DHW formalism. We determine the time evolution of the Wigner function as well as asymptotic particle distributions neglecting back-reactions on the electric field. Whereas qualitative features can be understood in terms of effective Keldysh parameters, the field rotation leaves characteristic imprints in the momentum distribution that can be interpreted in terms of interference and multiphoton effects. These phenomena may seed characteristic features of QED cascades created in the antinodes of a high-intensity standing wave laser field.
    11/2013; 89(8).
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    Holger Gies, Stefan Lippoldt
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    ABSTRACT: We study a formulation of Dirac fermions in curved spacetime that respects general coordinate invariance as well as invariance under local spin-base transformations. The natural variables for this formulation are spacetime-dependent Dirac matrices subject to the Clifford-algebra constraint. In particular, a coframe, i.e. vierbein field is not required. The corresponding affine spin connection consists of a canonical part that is completely fixed in terms of the Dirac matrices and a free part that can be interpreted as spin torsion. A general variation of the Dirac matrices naturally induces a spinorial Lie derivative which coincides with the known Kosmann-Lie derivative in the absence of torsion. Using this formulation for building a field theory of quantized gravity and matter fields, we show that it suffices to quantize the metric and the matter fields. This observation is of particular relevance for field theory approaches to quantum gravity, as it can serve for a purely metric-based quantization scheme for gravity even in the presence of fermions.
    10/2013; 89(6).
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    ABSTRACT: We study the functional renormalization group flow of a Higgs-Yukawa toy model mimicking the top-Higgs sector of the standard model. This approach allows for treating arbitrary bare couplings. For the class of standard bare potentials of \phi^4-type at a given ultraviolet cut-off, we show that a finite infrared Higgs mass range emerges naturally from the renormalization group flow itself. Higgs masses outside the resulting bounds cannot be connected to any conceivable set of bare parameters in this standard-model \phi^4 class. By contrast, more general bare potentials allow to diminish the lower bound considerably. We identify a simple renormalization group mechanism for this depletion of the lower bound. If active also in the full standard model, Higgs masses smaller than the conventional infrared window do not necessarily require new physics at low scales or give rise to instability problems.
    08/2013; 89(4).
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    ABSTRACT: We investigate chiral Higgs-Yukawa models with a non-abelian gauged left-handed sector reminiscent to a sub-sector of the standard model. We discover a new weak-coupling fixed-point behavior that allows for ultraviolet complete RG trajectories which can be connected with a conventional long-range infrared behavior in the Higgs phase. This non-trivial ultraviolet behavior is characterized by asymptotic freedom in all interaction couplings, but a quasi conformal behavior in all mass-like parameters. The stable microscopic scalar potential asymptotically approaches flatness in the ultraviolet, however, with a non-vanishing minimum increasing inversely proportional to the asymptotically free gauge coupling. This gives rise to nonperturbative -- though weak-coupling -- threshold effects which induce ultraviolet stability along a line of fixed points. Despite the weak-coupling properties, the system exhibits non-Gaussian features which are distinctly different from its standard perturbative counterpart: e.g., on a branch of the line of fixed points, we find linear instead of quadratically running renormalization constants. Whereas the Fermi constant and the top mass are naturally of the same order of magnitude, our model generically allows for light Higgs boson masses. Realistic mass ratios are related to particular RG trajectories with a "walking" mid-momentum regime.
    06/2013;
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    ABSTRACT: Standard Model extensions often predict low-mass and very weakly interacting particles, such as the axion. A number of small-scale experiments at the intensity/precision frontier are actively searching for these elusive particles, complementing searches for physics beyond the Standard Model at colliders. Whilst a next generation of experiments will give access to a huge unexplored parameter space, a discovery would have a tremendous impact on our understanding of fundamental physics.
    Annalen der Physik 06/2013; 525(6). · 1.51 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We show that photons subject to a spatially inhomogeneous electromagnetic field can experience quantum reflection. Based on this observation, we propose quantum reflection as a novel means to probe the nonlinearity of the quantum vacuum in the presence of strong electromagnetic fields.
    New Journal of Physics 05/2013; 15(8). · 4.06 Impact Factor
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    Holger Gies, Stefan Lippoldt
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    ABSTRACT: Catalyzed symmetry breaking arises from a parametric enhancement of critical fluctuations independently of the coupling strength. Symmetry-breaking fermionic long-range fluctuations exhibit such an enhancement on negatively curved spaces, as is known from mean-field studies. We study gravitational catalysis from the viewpoint of the functional renormalization group using the 3d Gross-Neveu model as a specific example. We observe gravitational catalysis towards a phase of broken discrete chiral symmetry both on a maximally symmetric (AdS) and on a purely spatially curved manifold for constant negative curvature (Lobachevsky plane). The resulting picture for gravitational catalysis obtained from the renormalization flow is closely related to that of magnetic catalysis. As an application, we estimate the curvature required for subcritical systems of finite length to acquire a gravitionally catalyzed gap.
    Physical review D: Particles and fields 03/2013; 87(10).
  • B. King, H. Gies, A. Di Piazza
    Physical review D: Particles and fields 03/2013; 87(6).
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    ABSTRACT: We study the phase diagram of the Gross-Neveu model in d=2+1 space-time dimensions in the plane spanned by temperature and the number of massless fermion flavors. We use a functional renormalization group approach based on a nonperturbative derivative expansion that accounts for fermionic as well as composite bosonic fluctuations. We map out the phase boundary separating the ordered massive low-temperature phase from the disordered high-temperature phase. The phases are separated by a second-order phase transition in the 2d Ising universality class. We determine the size of the Ginzburg region and show that it scales to zero for large $\Nf$ following a powerlaw, in agreement with large-$\Nf$ and lattice studies. We also study the regimes of local order above as well as the classical regime below the critical temperature.
    Journal of Physics A Mathematical and Theoretical 12/2012; 46(28). · 1.77 Impact Factor
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    B. King, H. Gies, A. Di Piazza
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    ABSTRACT: Ever since Schwinger published his influential paper [J. Schwinger, Phys. Rev. 82, 664 (1951)], the maxim that there can be no pair creation in a plane wave has been often cited. We advance an analysis that indicates that in any real situation, where thermal effects are present, in a single plane-wave field, even in the limit of zero frequency (a constant crossed field), thermal photons can seed pair creation. Interestingly, the pair-production rate is found to depend nonperturbatively on both the amplitude of the constant crossed field and on the temperature.
    Physical review D: Particles and fields 12/2012; 86(12).
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    ABSTRACT: We show that magnetic fields significantly enhance a new tunneling mechanism in quantum field theories with photons coupling to fermionic minicharged particles (MCPs). We propose a dedicated laboratory experiment of the light-shining-through-walls type that can explore a parameter regime comparable to and even beyond the best model-independent cosmological bounds. With present-day technology, such an experiment is particularly sensitive to MCPs with masses in and below the meV regime as suggested by new-physics extensions of the standard model.
    Physical Review Letters 09/2012; 109(13):131802. · 7.73 Impact Factor
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    Lukas Janssen, Holger Gies
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    ABSTRACT: We investigate chiral symmetry breaking in the (2+1)-dimensional Thirring model as a function of the coupling as well as the Dirac flavor number Nf with the aid of the functional renormalization group. For small enough flavor number Nf < Nfc, the model exhibits a chiral quantum phase transition for sufficiently large coupling. We compute the critical exponents of this second order transition as well as the fermionic and bosonic mass spectrum inside the broken phase within a next-to-leading order derivative expansion. We also determine the quantum critical behavior of the many-flavor transition which arises due to a competition between vector and chiral-scalar channel and which is of second order as well. Due to the problem of competing channels, our results rely crucially on the RG technique of dynamical bosonization. For the critical flavor number, we find Nfc ~ 5.1 with an estimated systematic error of approximately one flavor.
    Physical review D: Particles and fields 08/2012; 86(10).
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    ABSTRACT: We study the renormalization flow of axion electrodynamics, concentrating on the non-perturbative running of the axion-photon coupling and the mass of the axion (like) particle. Due to a non-renormalization property of the axion-photon vertex, the renormalization flow is controlled by photon and axion anomalous dimensions. As a consequence, momentum-independent axion self-interactions are not induced by photon fluctuations. The non-perturbative flow towards the ultraviolet exhibits a Landau-pole-type behavior, implying that the system has a scale of maximum UV extension and that the renormalized axion-photon coupling in the deep infrared is bounded from above. Even though gauge invariance guarantees that photon fluctuations do not decouple in the infrared, the renormalized couplings remain finite even in the deep infrared and even for massless axions. Within our truncation, we also observe the existence of an exceptional RG trajectory, which is extendable to arbitrarily high scales, without being governed by a UV fixed point.
    Physical review D: Particles and fields 07/2012; 86(12).
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    ABSTRACT: Integrating out virtual quantum fluctuations in an originally local quantum field theory results in an effective theory which is non-local. In this Letter we argue that tunneling of the 3rd kind - where particles traverse a barrier by splitting into a pair of virtual particles which recombine only after a finite distance - provides a direct test of this non-locality. We sketch a quantum-optical setup to test this effect, and investigate observable effects in a simple toy model.
    EPL (Europhysics Letters) 04/2012; 101(6). · 2.26 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We show that magnetic fields have the potential to significantly enhance a recently proposed light-shining-through-walls scenario in quantum-field theories with photons coupling to minicharged particles. Suggesting a dedicated laboratory experiment, we demonstrate that this particular tunneling scenario could provide access to a parameter regime competitive with the currently best direct laboratory limits on minicharged fermions below the $\mathrm{meV}$ regime. With present day technology, such an experiment has the potential to even overcome the best model-independent cosmological bounds on minicharged fermions with masses below $\mathcal{O} (10^{-4}) \mathrm{eV}$.
    Physical review D: Particles and fields 03/2012; 87(2).
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    H.gies, A.weber
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    ABSTRACT: We discuss Casimir phenomena which are dominated by long-range fluctuations. A prime example is given by "geothermal" Casimir phenomena where thermal fluctuations in open Casimir geometries can induce significantly enhanced thermal corrections. We illustrate the underlying mechanism with the aid of the inclined-plates configuration, giving rise to enhanced power-law temperature dependences compared to the parallel-plates case. In limiting cases, we find numerical evidence even for fractional power laws induced by long-range fluctuations. We demonstrate that thermal energy densities for open geometries are typically distributed over length scales of 1/T. As an important consequence, approximation methods for thermal corrections based on local energy-density estimates such as the proximity-force approximation are expected to become unreliable even at small surface separations.
    International Journal of Modern Physics A 01/2012; 25(11). · 1.13 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

3k Citations
279.82 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 2008–2014
    • Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena
      • Department of Theoretical Physics
      Jena, Thuringia, Germany
  • 2009–2011
    • Karl-Franzens-Universität Graz
      • Institute of Physics
      Graz, Styria, Austria
  • 2010
    • TRIUMF
      Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
  • 2003–2010
    • Universität Heidelberg
      • Institute of Theoretical Physics
      Heidelberg, Baden-Wuerttemberg, Germany
  • 2005
    • Heidelberger Institut für Theoretische Studien
      Heidelburg, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
  • 2001–2003
    • CERN
      Genève, Geneva, Switzerland
  • 1996–2002
    • University of Tuebingen
      • Institute of Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
      Tübingen, Baden-Wuerttemberg, Germany