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In local scalar quantum field theories at finite temperature correlation functions are known to satisfy certain nonperturbative constraints, which for two-point functions in particular implies the existence of a generalization of the standard Källén-Lehmann representation. In this work, we use these constraints in order to derive a spectral representation for the shear viscosity arising from the thermal asymptotic states, η0. As an example, we calculate η0 in ϕ4 theory, establishing its leading behavior in the small and large coupling regimes.

In BRST-quantised Yang-Mills theory the existence of BRST symmetry imposes significant constraints on the analytic structure of the continuum theory. In particular, the presence of this symmetry in the non-perturbative regime implies that any on-shell state with vanishing norm must have an associated partner state with identical mass, but negative inner product. In this work we demonstrate that for quantum chromodynamics (QCD) this constraint gives rise to an interconnection between the ghost and gluon spectra, and in doing so provides a non-trivial test of whether BRST symmetry is realised non-perturbatively. By analysing infrared lattice data for the minimal Landau gauge ghost propagator in pure SU(3) Yang-Mills theory, and comparing this with previous results for the gluon propagator, we show that this interconnection is violated, and hence conclude that continuum and current lattice formulations of Yang-Mills theory in Landau gauge represent two distinct realisations of the theory.

Recently, an approximate SU(4) chiral spin-flavour symmetry was observed in multiplet patterns of QCD meson correlation functions, in a temperature range above the chiral crossover. This symmetry is larger than the chiral symmetry of massless QCD, and can only arise effectively when colour-electric quark-gluon interactions dynamically dominate the quantum effective action. At temperatures about three times the crossover temperature, these patterns disappear again, indicating the screening of colour-electric interactions, and the expected chiral symmetry is recovered. In this contribution we collect independent evidence for such an intermediate temperature range, based on screening masses and the pion spectral function. Both kinds of observables behave non-perturbatively in this window, with resonance-like peaks for the pion and its first excitation disappearing gradually with temperature. Using symmetry arguments and the known behaviour of screening masses at small densities, we discuss how this chiral spin symmetric band continues into the QCD phase diagram.

Spectral functions encode a wealth of information about the dynamics of any given system, and the determination of their non-perturbative characteristics is a long-standing problem in quantum field theory. Whilst numerical simulations of lattice QCD provide ample data for various Euclidean correlation functions, the inversion required to extract spectral functions is an ill-posed problem. In this work, we pursue previously established constraints imposed by field locality at finite temperature T, namely that spectral functions possess a non-perturbative representation which generalises the well-known Källén-Lehmann spectral form to T > 0. Using this representation, we analyse lattice QCD data of the spatial pseudo-scalar correlator in the temperature range 220–960 MeV, and obtain an analytic expression for the corresponding spectral function, with parameters fixed by the data. From the structure of this spectral function we find evidence for the existence of a distinct pion state above the chiral pseudo-critical temperature Tpc, and contributions from its first excitation, which gradually melt as the temperature increases. As a non-trivial test, we find that the extracted spectral function reproduces the corresponding temporal lattice correlator data for T = 220 MeV.

In quantum field theories at finite temperature spectral functions describe how particle systems behave in the presence of a thermal medium. Although data from lattice simulations can in principle be used to determine spectral function characteristics, existing methods rely on the extraction of these quantities from temporal correlators, which requires one to circumvent an illposed inverse problem. In these proceedings we report on a recent approach that instead utilises the non-perturbative constraints imposed by field locality to extract spectral function information directly from spatial correlators. In particular, we focus on the application of this approach to lattice QCD data of the spatial pseudo-scalar meson correlator in the temperature range 220−960 MeV, and outline why this data supports the conclusion that there exists a distinct pion state above the chiral pseudo-critical temperature Tpc.