Mass renormalization

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In quantum field theory, mass renormalization refers to the quantum corrections to the mass of a particle through its self interactions, or through interactions with other particles.

The primary example of mass renormalization is that of an electron in quantum electrodynamics which gains its mass through reactions such as

e  →  e  +  γ  →  e

which may occur as virtual reactions, ie, the internal propagators are off-shell.

Image:Electron self energy.png

The photon or a gluon does not get a mass through renormalization because gauge symmetry protects it from getting a mass. Technically, this is known as a Ward identity. A W-boson or a Z-boson can get a mass through the Higgs mechanism and undergo mass renormalization.

Neutral particles with internal quantum numbers can mix with each other through virtual pair production. The primary example of this phenomenon is in the mixing of neutral kaons or neutrinos. Under appropriate simpplifying assumptions this can be described without quantum field theory.

See also

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