Raasakka, Matti
(Helsingin yliopisto, 2009)
Our present-day understanding of fundamental constituents of matter and their interactions is based on the Standard Model of particle physics, which relies on quantum gauge field theories. On the other hand, the large scale dynamical behaviour of spacetime is understood via the general theory of relativity of Einstein. The merging of these two complementary aspects of nature, quantum and gravity, is one of the greatest goals of modern fundamental physics, the achievement of which would help us understand the short-distance structure of spacetime, thus shedding light on the events in the singular states of general relativity, such as black holes and the Big Bang, where our current models of nature break down. The formulation of quantum field theories in noncommutative spacetime is an attempt to realize the idea of nonlocality at short distances, which our present understanding of these different aspects of Nature suggests, and consequently to find testable hints of the underlying quantum behaviour of spacetime.
The formulation of noncommutative theories encounters various unprecedented problems, which derive from their peculiar inherent nonlocality. Arguably the most serious of these is the so-called UV/IR mixing, which makes the derivation of observable predictions especially hard by causing new tedious divergencies, to which our previous well-developed renormalization methods for quantum field theories do not apply. In the thesis I review the basic mathematical concepts of noncommutative spacetime, different formulations of quantum field theories in the context, and the theoretical understanding of UV/IR mixing. In particular, I put forward new results to be published, which show that also the theory of quantum electrodynamics in noncommutative spacetime defined via Seiberg-Witten map suffers from UV/IR mixing. Finally, I review some of the most promising ways to overcome the problem. The final solution remains a challenge for the future.