Journal of High Energy Physics, Jul 2017

We apply point-particle effective field theory (PPEFT) to compute the leading shifts due to finite-sized source effects in the Coulomb bound energy levels of a relativistic spinless charged particle. This is the analogue for spinless electrons of calculating the contribution of the charge-radius of the source to these levels, and our calculation disagrees with standard calculations in several ways. Most notably we find there are two effective interactions with the same dimension that contribute to leading order in the nuclear size, one of which captures the standard charge-radius contribution. The other effective operator is a contact interaction whose leading contribution to δE arises linearly (rather than quadratically) in the small length scale, ϵ, characterizing the finite-size effects, and is suppressed by (Zα)5. We argue that standard calculations miss the contributions of this second operator because they err in their choice of boundary conditions at the source for the wave-function of the orbiting particle. PPEFT predicts how this boundary condition depends on the source’s charge radius, as well as on the orbiting particle’s mass. Its contribution turns out to be crucial if the charge radius satisfies ϵ ≲ (Zα)2 a B , where a B is the Bohr radius, because then relativistic effects become important for the boundary condition. We show how the problem is equivalent to solving the Schrödinger equation with competing Coulomb, inverse-square and delta-function potentials, which we solve explicitly. A similar enhancement is not predicted for the hyperfine structure, due to its spin-dependence. We show how the charge-radius effectively runs due to classical renormalization effects, and why the resulting RG flow is central to predicting the size of the energy shifts (and is responsible for its being linear in the source size). We discuss how this flow is relevant to systems having much larger-than-geometric cross sections, such as those with large scattering lengths and perhaps also catalysis of reactions through scattering with monopoles. Experimental observation of these effects would require more precise measurement of energy levels for mesonic atoms than are now possible.

This is a preview of a remote PDF: https://link.springer.com/content/pdf/10.1007%2FJHEP07%282017%29072.pdf

C. P. Burgess, Peter Hayman, Markus Rummel, Matt Williams, László Zalavári.
*Point-particle effective field theory II: relativistic effects and Coulomb/inverse-square competition*,
Journal of High Energy Physics,
2017, 72, DOI: 10.1007/JHEP07(2017)072