Carl M. Bender - Department of Physics, Washington University St. Louis

Carl M. Bender
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Carl M. Bender
Department of Physics, Washington University St. Louis
Saint Louis
United States

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Mathematics - Mathematical Physics (43)
Mathematical Physics (43)
High Energy Physics - Theory (37)
Quantum Physics (36)
High Energy Physics - Phenomenology (3)
General Relativity and Quantum Cosmology (2)
Nonlinear Sciences - Chaotic Dynamics (2)
Physics - Classical Physics (2)
Nonlinear Sciences - Pattern Formation and Solitons (2)
Physics - Materials Science (1)
High Energy Astrophysical Phenomena (1)
Physics - Optics (1)
Mathematics - Functional Analysis (1)
Physics - Mesoscopic Systems and Quantum Hall Effect (1)
Mathematics - Number Theory (1)
High Energy Physics - Experiment (1)

Publications Authored By Carl M. Bender

The aim of this review, based on a series of four lectures held at the 22nd "Saalburg" Summer School (2016), is to cover selected topics in the theory of perturbation series and their summation. The first part is devoted to strategies for accelerating the rate of convergence of convergent series, namely Richardson extrapolation, and the Shanks transformations, and also covers a few techniques for accelerating the convergence of Fourier series. The second part focuses on divergent series, and on the tools allowing one to retrieve information from them. Read More

Working within the context of PT-symmetric quantum mechanics, we begin by describing a non-Hermitian extension of QED that is both Lorentz invariant and consistent with unitarity. We show that the non-Hermitian Dirac mass matrix of this theory exhibits an exceptional point, corresponding to an effectively massless theory whose conserved current is either right- or left-chiral dominated. With this inspiration, we are able to construct a non-Hermitian model of light Dirac neutrino masses from Hermitian and anti-Hermitian Yukawa couplings that are both of order unity. Read More

PT-symmetric quantum mechanics began with a study of the Hamiltonian $H=p^2+x^2(ix)^\varepsilon$. When $\varepsilon\geq0$, the eigenvalues of this non-Hermitian Hamiltonian are discrete, real, and positive. This portion of parameter space is known as the region of unbroken PT symmetry. Read More

By analytically continuing the coupling constant $g$ of a coupled quantum theory, one can, at least in principle, arrive at a state whose energy is lower than the ground state of the theory. The idea is to begin with the uncoupled $g=0$ theory in its ground state, to analytically continue around an exceptional point (square-root singularity) in the complex-coupling-constant plane, and finally to return to the point $g=0$. In the course of this analytic continuation, the uncoupled theory ends up in an unconventional state whose energy is lower than the original ground state energy. Read More

In two space dimensions and one time dimension a wave changes its shape even in the absence of a dispersive medium. However, this anomalous dispersive behavior in empty two-dimensional space does not occur if the wave dynamics is described by a linear homogeneous wave equation in two space dimensions and {\it two} time dimensions. Wave propagation in such a space can be realized in a three-dimensional anisotropic metamaterial in which one of the space dimensions has a negative permittivity and thus serves as an effective second time dimension. Read More

A Hamiltonian operator $\hat H$ is constructed with the property that if the eigenfunctions obey a suitable boundary condition, then the associated eigenvalues correspond to the nontrivial zeros of the Riemann zeta function. The classical limit of $\hat H$ is $2xp$, which is consistent with the Berry-Keating conjecture. While $\hat H$ is not Hermitian in the conventional sense, ${\rm i}{\hat H}$ is ${\cal PT}$ symmetric with a broken ${\cal PT}$ symmetry, thus allowing for the possibility that all eigenvalues of $\hat H$ are real. Read More

The upside-down $-x^4$, $-x^6$, and $-x^8$ potentials with appropriate PT-symmetric boundary conditions have real, positive, and discrete quantum-mechanical spectra. This paper proposes a straightforward macroscopic quantum-mechanical scattering experiment in which one can observe and measure these bound-state energies directly. Read More

The study of PT-symmetric physical systems began in 1998 as a complex generalization of conventional quantum mechanics, but beginning in 2007 experiments began to be published in which the predicted PT phase transition was clearly observed in classical rather than in quantum-mechanical systems. This paper examines the PT phase transition in mathematical models of antigen-antibody systems. A surprising conclusion that can be drawn from these models is that a possible way to treat a serious disease in which the antigen concentration is growing out of bounds (and the host will die) is to inject a small dose of a second (different) antigen. Read More

It is shown how to construct a time-independent Hamiltonian having only one degree of freedom from which an arbitrary linear constant-coefficient evolution equation of any order can be derived. Read More

An extension of QED is considered in which the Dirac fermion has both Hermitian and anti-Hermitian mass terms, as well as both vector and axial-vector couplings to the gauge field. Gauge invariance is restored when the Hermitian and anti-Hermitian masses are of equal magnitude, and the theory reduces to that of a single massless Weyl fermion. An analogous non-Hermitian Yukawa theory is considered, and it is shown that this model can explain the smallness of the light-neutrino masses and provide an additional source of leptonic CP violation. Read More

In the present work, we consider a prototypical example of a PT-symmetric Dirac model. We discuss the underlying linear limit of the model and identify the threshold of the PT-phase transition in an analytical form. We then focus on the examination of the nonlinear model. Read More

The conventional interpretation of the one-loop effective potentials of the Higgs field in the Standard Model and the gravitino condensate in dynamically broken supergravity is that these theories are unstable at large field values. A PT-symmetric reinterpretation of these models at a quantum-mechanical level eliminates these instabilities and suggests that these instabilities may also be tamed at the quantum-field-theory level. Read More

This paper examines chains of $N$ coupled harmonic oscillators. In isolation, the $j$th oscillator ($1\leq j\leq N$) has the natural frequency $\omega_j$ and is described by the Hamiltonian $\frac{1}{2}p_j^2+\frac{1}{2}\omega_j^2x_j^2$. The oscillators are coupled adjacently with coupling constants that are purely imaginary; the coupling of the $j$th oscillator to the $(j+1)$st oscillator has the bilinear form $i\gamma x_jx_{j+1}$ ($\gamma$ real). Read More

Unstable separatrix solutions for the first and second Painlev\'e transcendents are studied both numerically and analytically. For a fixed initial condition, say $y(0)=0$, there is a discrete set of initial slopes $y'(0)=b_n$ that give rise to separatrix solutions. Similarly, for a fixed initial slope, say $y'(0)= 0$, there is a discrete set of initial values $y(0)=c_n$ that give rise to separatrix solutions. Read More

Two Non-Hermitian fermion models are proposed and analyzed by using Foldy-Wouthuysen transformations. One model has Lorentz symmetry breaking and the other has a non-Hermitian mass term. It is shown that each model has real energies in a given region of parameter space, where they have a locally conserved current. Read More

A detailed study of a PT-symmetric zero-dimensional quartic theory is presented and a comparison between the properties of this theory and those of a conventional quartic theory is given. It is shown that the PT-symmetric quartic theory evades the consequences of the Mermin-Wagner-Coleman theorem regarding the absence of symmetry breaking in d<2 dimensions. Furthermore, the PT-symmetric theory does not satisfy the usual Bogoliubov limit for the construction of the Green's functions because one obtains different results for the $h\to0^-$ and the $h\to0^+$ limits. Read More

In 1980 Englert examined the classic problem of the electromagnetic self-force on an oscillating charged particle. His approach, which was based on an earlier idea of Bateman, was to introduce a charge-conjugate particle and to show that the two-particle system is Hamiltonian. Unfortunately, Englert's model did not solve the problem of runaway modes, and the corresponding quantum theory had ghost states. Read More

In some recent experiments the distinction between synthetic magnetic monopoles and Dirac monopoles has been blurred. A case in point is the work in a letter by Ray {\it et al.} [arXiv:1408. Read More

Logarithmic time-like Liouville quantum field theory has a generalized PT invariance, where T is the time-reversal operator and P stands for an S-duality reflection of the Liouville field $\phi$. In Euclidean space the Lagrangian of such a theory, $L=\frac{1}{2}(\nabla\phi)^2-ig\phi\exp(ia\phi)$, is analyzed using the techniques of PT-symmetric quantum theory. It is shown that L defines an infinite number of unitarily inequivalent sectors of the theory labeled by the integer n. Read More

The Hamiltonian for a PT-symmetric chain of coupled oscillators is constructed. It is shown that if the loss-gain parameter $\gamma$ is uniform for all oscillators, then as the number of oscillators increases, the region of unbroken PT-symmetry disappears entirely. However, if $\gamma$ is localized in the sense that it decreases for more distant oscillators, then the unbroken-PT-symmetric region persists even as the number of oscillators approaches infinity. Read More

Complex trajectories for Hamiltonians of the form H=p^n+V(x) are studied. For n=2 time-reversal symmetry prevents trajectories from crossing. However, for n>2 trajectories may indeed cross, and as a result, the complex trajectories for such Hamiltonians have a rich and elaborate structure. Read More

This paper proposes a very simple perturbative technique to calculate the low-lying eigenvalues and eigenstates of a parity-symmetric quantum-mechanical potential. The technique is to solve the time-independent Schroedinger eigenvalue problem as a perturbation series in which the perturbation parameter is the energy itself. Unlike nearly all perturbation series for physical problems, for the ground state this perturbation expansion is convergent and, even though the ground-state energy is in general not small compared with 1, the perturbative results are numerically accurate. Read More

This paper presents a detailed asymptotic study of the nonlinear differential equation y'(x)=\cos[\pi xy(x)] subject to the initial condition y(0)=a. Although the differential equation is nonlinear, the solutions to this initial-value problem bear a striking resemblance to solutions to the time-independent Schroedinger eigenvalue problem. As x increases from x=0, y(x) oscillates and thus resembles a quantum wave function in a classically allowed region. Read More

Optical systems combining balanced loss and gain profiles provide a unique platform to implement classical analogues of quantum systems described by non-Hermitian parity-time- (PT-) symmetric Hamiltonians and to originate new synthetic materials with novel properties. To date, experimental works on PT-symmetric optical systems have been limited to waveguides in which resonances do not play a role. Here we report the first demonstration of PT-symmetry breaking in optical resonator systems by using two directly coupled on-chip optical whispering-gallery-mode (WGM) microtoroid silica resonators. Read More

In an earlier paper it was argued that the conventional double-scaling limit of an O(N)-symmetric quartic quantum field theory is inconsistent because the critical coupling constant is negative and thus the integral representing the partition function of the critical theory does not exist. In this earlier paper it was shown that for an O(N)-symmetric quantum field theory in zero-dimensional spacetime one can avoid this difficulty if one replaces the original quartic theory by its PT-symmetric analog. In the current paper an O(N)-symmetric quartic quantum field theory in one-dimensional spacetime [that is, O(N)-symmetric quantum mechanics] is studied using the Schroedinger equation. Read More

The inspiration for this theoretical paper comes from recent experiments on a PT-symmetric system of two coupled optical whispering galleries (optical resonators). The optical system can be modeled as a pair of coupled linear oscillators, one with gain and the other with loss. If the coupled oscillators have a balanced loss and gain, the system is described by a Hamiltonian and the energy is conserved. Read More

The C operator in PT-symmetric quantum mechanics satisfies a system of three simultaneous algebraic operator equations, $C^2=1$, $[C,PT]=0$, and $[C,H]=0$. These equations are difficult to solve exactly, so perturbative methods have been used in the past to calculate C. The usual approach has been to express the Hamiltonian as $H=H_0+\epsilon H_1$, and to seek a solution for C in the form $C=e^Q P$, where $Q=Q(q,p)$ is odd in the momentum p, even in the coordinate q, and has a perturbation expansion of the form $Q=\epsilon Q_1+\epsilon^3 Q_3+\epsilon^5 Q_5+\ldots$. Read More

It was shown recently that a PT-symmetric $i\phi^3$ quantum field theory in $6-\epsilon$ dimensions possesses a nontrivial fixed point. The critical behavior of this theory around the fixed point is examined and it is shown that the corresponding phase transition is related to the existence of a nontrivial solution of the gap equation. The theory is studied first in the mean-field approximation and the critical exponents are calculated. Read More

The interplay of dilatonic effects in dilaton cosmology and stochastic quantum space-time defects within the framework of string/brane cosmologies is examined. The Boltzmann equation describes the physics of thermal dark-matter-relic abundances in the presence of rolling dilatons. These dilatons affect the coupling of stringy matter to D-particle defects, which are generic in string theory. Read More

The paper by Bowen, Mancini, Fessatidis, and Murawski (2012 Phys. Scr. {\bf 85}, 065005) demonstrates in a dramatic fashion the serious difficulties that can arise when one rushes to perform numerical studies before understanding the physics and mathematics of the problem at hand and without understanding the limitations of the numerical methods used. Read More

It is shown that if the C operator for a PT-symmetric Hamiltonian with simple eigenvalues is not unique, then it is unbounded. Apart from the special cases of finite-matrix Hamiltonians and Hamiltonians generated by differential expressions with PT-symmetric point interactions, the usual situation is that the C operator is unbounded. The fact that the C operator is unbounded is significant because, while there is a formal equivalence between a PT-symmetric Hamiltonian and a conventionally Hermitian Hamiltonian in the sense that the two Hamiltonians are isospectral, the Hilbert spaces are inequivalent. Read More

In this work we analyze PT-symmetric double-well potentials based on a two-mode picture. We reduce the problem into a PT-symmetric dimer and illustrate that the latter has effectively two fundamental bifurcations, a pitchfork (symmetry-breaking bifurcation) and a saddle-center one, which is the nonlinear analog of the PT-phase-transition. It is shown that the symmetry breaking leads to ghost states (amounting to growth or decay); although these states are not true solutions of the original continuum problem, the system's dynamics closely follows them, at least in its metastable evolution. Read More

The conventional double-scaling limit of an O(N)-symmetric quartic quantum field theory is inconsistent because the critical coupling constant is negative. Thus, at the critical coupling the Lagrangian defines a quantum theory with an upside-down potential whose energy appears to be unbounded below. Worse yet, the integral representation of the partition function of the theory does not exist. Read More

Non-Hermitian PT-symmetric quantum-mechanical Hamiltonians generally exhibit a phase transition that separates two parametric regions, (i) a region of unbroken PT symmetry in which the eigenvalues are all real, and (ii) a region of broken PT symmetry in which some of the eigenvalues are complex. This transition has recently been observed experimentally in a variety of physical systems. Until now, theoretical studies of the PT phase transition have generally been limited to one-dimensional models. Read More

If a Hamiltonian is PT symmetric, there are two possibilities: Either the eigenvalues are entirely real, in which case the Hamiltonian is said to be in an unbroken-PT-symmetric phase, or else the eigenvalues are partly real and partly complex, in which case the Hamiltonian is said to be in a broken-PT-symmetric phase. As one varies the parameters of the Hamiltonian, one can pass through the phase transition that separates the unbroken and broken phases. This transition has recently been observed in a variety of laboratory experiments. Read More

The PT-symmetric Hamiltonian $H=p^2+x^2(ix)^\epsilon$ ($\epsilon$ real) exhibits a phase transition at $\epsilon=0$. When $\epsilon\geq0$, the eigenvalues are all real, positive, discrete, and grow as $\epsilon$ increases. However, when $\epsilon<0$ there are only a finite number of real eigenvalues. Read More

This paper examines the complex trajectories of a classical particle in the potential V(x)=-cos(x). Almost all the trajectories describe a particle that hops from one well to another in an erratic fashion. However, it is shown analytically that there are two special classes of trajectories x(t) determined only by the energy of the particle and not by the initial position of the particle. Read More

The non-Hermitian PT-symmetric quantum-mechanical Hamiltonian $H=p^2+x^2(ix)^\epsilon$ has real, positive, and discrete eigenvalues for all $\epsilon\geq 0$. These eigenvalues are analytic continuations of the harmonic-oscillator eigenvalues $E_n=2n+1$ (n=0, 1, 2, 3, .. Read More

In a previous paper it was shown that a one-turning-point WKB approximation gives an accurate picture of the spectrum of certain non-Hermitian PT-symmetric Hamiltonians on a finite interval with Dirichlet boundary conditions. Potentials to which this analysis applies include the linear potential $V=igx$ and the sinusoidal potential $V=ig\sin(\alpha x)$. However, the one-turning-point analysis fails to give the full structure of the spectrum for the cubic potential $V=igx^3$, and in particular it fails to reproduce the critical points at which two real eigenvalues merge and become a complex-conjugate pair. Read More

This paper presents an asymptotic analysis of the Boltzmann equations (Riccati differential equations) that describe the physics of thermal dark-matter-relic abundances. Two different asymptotic techniques are used, boundary-layer theory, which makes use of asymptotic matching, and the delta expansion, which is a powerful technique for solving nonlinear differential equations. Two different Boltzmann equations are considered. Read More

In quantum mechanics the time operator $\Theta$ satisfies the commutation relation $[\Theta,H]=i$, and thus it may be thought of as being canonically conjugate to the Hamiltonian $H$. The time operator associated with a given Hamiltonian $H$ is not unique because one can replace $\Theta$ by $\Theta+ \Theta_{\rm hom}$, where $\Theta_{\rm hom}$ satisfies the homogeneous condition $[\Theta_{\rm hom},H]=0$. To study this nonuniqueness the matrix elements of $\Theta$ for the harmonic-oscillator Hamiltonian are calculated in the eigenstate basis. Read More

Most studies of PT-symmetric quantum-mechanical Hamiltonians have considered the Schroedinger eigenvalue problem on an infinite domain. This paper examines the consequences of imposing the boundary conditions on a finite domain. As is the case with regular Hermitian Sturm-Liouville problems, the eigenvalues of the PT-symmetric Sturm-Liouville problem grow like $n^2$ for large $n$. Read More

A quantum-mechanical theory is PT-symmetric if it is described by a Hamiltonian that commutes with PT, where the operator P performs space reflection and the operator T performs time reversal. A PT-symmetric Hamiltonian often has a parametric region of unbroken PT symmetry in which the energy eigenvalues are all real. There may also be a region of broken PT symmetry in which some of the eigenvalues are complex. Read More

An expected source of gravitational waves for future detectors in space are the inspirals of small compact objects into much more massive black holes. These sources have the potential to provide a wealth of information about astronomy and fundamental physics. On short timescales the orbit of the small object is approximately geodesic. Read More

All of the PT-symmetric potentials that have been studied so far have been local. In this paper nonlocal PT-symmetric separable potentials of the form $V(x,y)=i\epsilon[U(x)U(y)-U(-x)U(-y)]$, where $U(x)$ is real, are examined. Two specific models are examined. Read More

In nonrelativistic quantum mechanics and in relativistic quantum field theory, time t is a parameter and thus the time-reversal operator T does not actually reverse the sign of t. However, in relativistic quantum mechanics the time coordinate t and the space coordinates x are treated on an equal footing and all are operators. In this paper it is shown how to extend PT symmetry from nonrelativistic to relativistic quantum mechanics by implementing time reversal as an operation that changes the sign of the time coordinate operator t. Read More

A recent paper by Jones-Smith and Mathur extends PT-symmetric quantum mechanics from bosonic systems (systems for which $T^2=1$) to fermionic systems (systems for which $T^2=-1$). The current paper shows how the formalism developed by Jones-Smith and Mathur can be used to construct PT-symmetric matrix representations for operator algebras of the form $\eta^2=0$, $\bar{\eta}^2=0$, $\eta\bar{\eta}+\bar {\eta} =\alpha 1$, where $\bar{eta}=\eta^{PT} =PT \eta T^{-1}P^{-1}$. It is easy to construct matrix representations for the Grassmann algebra ($\alpha=0$). Read More

In a recent Comment [arXiv: 1101.3980] Shalaby criticised our paper "Families of Particles with Different Masses in PT-Symmetric Quantum Field Theory" [arXiv:1002.3253]. Read More

This paper revisits earlier work on complex classical mechanics in which it was argued that when the energy of a classical particle in an analytic potential is real, the particle trajectories are closed and periodic, but that when the energy is complex, the classical trajectories are open. Here it is shown that there is a discrete set of eigencurves in the complex-energy plane for which the particle trajectories are closed and periodic. Read More

Suppose that a system is known to be in one of two quantum states, $|\psi_1 > $ or $|\psi_2 >$. If these states are not orthogonal, then in conventional quantum mechanics it is impossible with one measurement to determine with certainty which state the system is in. However, because a non-Hermitian PT-symmetric Hamiltonian determines the inner product that is appropriate for the Hilbert space of physical states, it is always possible to choose this inner product so that the two states $|\psi_1 > $ and $|\psi_2 > $ are orthogonal. Read More