Plasmons, Gauge Invariance, and Mass

Phys. Rev. 130, 439 – Published 1 April 1963
P. W. Anderson


Schwinger has pointed out that the Yang-Mills vector boson implied by associating a generalized gauge transformation with a conservation law (of baryonic charge, for instance) does not necessarily have zero mass, if a certain criterion on the vacuum fluctuations of the generalized current is satisfied. We show that the theory of plasma oscillations is a simple nonrelativistic example exhibiting all of the features of Schwinger's idea. It is also shown that Schwinger's criterion that the vector field m0 implies that the matter spectrum before including the Yang-Mills interaction contains m=0, but that the example of superconductivity illustrates that the physical spectrum need not. Some comments on the relationship between these ideas and the zero-mass difficulty in theories with broken symmetries are given.


  • Received 8 November 1962
  • Published in the issue dated April 1963

© 1963 The American Physical Society

Authors & Affiliations

P. W. Anderson

  • Bell Telephone Laboratories, Murray Hill, New Jersey

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