Zeta regularization is a method to treat the divergent quantities appearing in several areas of mathematical physics and, in particular, in quantum field theory; it is based on the fascinating idea that a finite value can be ascribed to a formally divergent expression via analytic continuation with respect to a complex regulating parameter.This book provides a thorough overview of zeta regularization for the vacuum expectation values of the most relevant observables of a quantized, neutral scalar field in Minkowski spacetime; the field can be confined to a spatial domain, with suitable boundary conditions, and an external potential is possibly present. Zeta regularization is performed in this framework for both local and global observables, like the stress-energy tensor and the total energy; the analysis of their vacuum expectation values accounts for the Casimir physics of the system. The analytic continuation process required in this setting by zeta regularization is deeply linked to some integral kernels; these are determined by the fundamental elliptic operator appearing in the evolution equation for the quantum field. The book provides a systematic illustration of these connections, devised as a toolbox for explicit computations in specific configurations; many examples are presented. A comprehensive account is given of the existing literature on this subject, including the previous work of the authors.The book will be useful to anyone interested in a mathematically sound description of quantum vacuum effects, from graduate students to scientists working in this area.
Publisher: World Scientific Publishing Co Pte Ltd
Number of pages: 276
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