Heat Kernel Asymptotics, Path Integrals and Infinite-Dimensional Determinants

Autoren: Matthias Ludewig (2018)

We compare the short-time expansion of the heat kernel on a Riemannian manifold with the formal stationary phase expansion of its representing path integral and prove that these asymptotic expansions coincide. Besides shedding light on the formal properties of quantum mechanical path integrals, this shows that the lowest order term of the heat kernel expansion is given by the Fredholm determinant of the Hessian of the energy functional on the space of finite energy paths. We also relate this to the zeta determinant of the Jacobi operator, considering both the near-diagonal asymptotics as well as the behavior at the cut locus.

Journal of Geometry and Physics

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