Gauging the boundary in field-space

Gomes, Henrique (2019) Gauging the boundary in field-space. [Preprint]

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Abstract

Local gauge theories are in a complicated relationship with boundaries. Whereas fixing the gauge can often shave off unwanted redundancies, the coupling of different bounded regions requires the use of gauge-variant elements. Therefore, coupling is inimical to gauge-fixing, as usually understood. This resistance to gauge-fixing has led some to declare the coupling of subsystems to be the \textit{raison d'\^etre} of gauge \cite{RovelliGauge2013}.

Indeed, while gauge-fixing is entirely unproblematic for a single region without boundary, it introduces arbitrary boundary conditions on the gauge degrees of freedom themselves---these conditions lack a physical interpretation when they are not functionals of the original fields.
Such arbitrary boundary choices creep into the calculation of charges through Noether's second theorem, muddling the assignment of physical charges to local gauge symmetries. The confusion brewn by gauge at boundaries is well-known, and must be contended with both conceptually and technically.

It may seem natural to replace the arbitrary boundary choice with new degrees of freedom, for using such a device we resolve some of these confusions while leaving no gauge-dependence on the computation of Noether charges \cite{DonnellyFreidel}. But, concretely, such boundary degrees of freedom are rather arbitrary---they have no relation to the original field-content of the field theory. How should we conceive of them?

Here I will explicate the problems mentioned above and illustrate a possible resolution: in a recent series of papers \cite{GomesRiello2016, GomesRiello2018, GomesHopfRiello} the notion of a connection-form was put forward and implemented in the field-space of gauge theories. Using this tool, a modified version of symplectic geometry---here called `horizontal'---is possible. Independently of boundary conditions, this formalism bestows to each region a physically salient, relational notion of charge: the horizontal Noether charge. Meanwhile, as required, the connection-form mediates an irenic composition of regions, one compatible with the attribution of horizontal Noether charges to each region.
Thes aims of this paper are to highlight the boundary issues in the treatment of gauge, and to discuss how gauge theory may be conceptually clarified in light of a resolution to these issues.

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Item Type: Preprint
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Gomes, Henriquegomes.ha@gmail.com0000-0002-9285-0090
Keywords: gauge theory, boundary problem, field-space, edge-modes
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Physics > Fields and Particles
Specific Sciences > Physics > Symmetries/Invariances
Depositing User: Dr Henrique Gomes
Date Deposited: 05 Jan 2019 18:34
Item ID: 15564
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Physics > Fields and Particles
Specific Sciences > Physics > Symmetries/Invariances
Date: 4 January 2019
URI: http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/id/eprint/15564