Dressing the post-Newtonian two-body problem and classical effective field theory

Barak Kol*, Michael Smolkin

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


We apply a dressed perturbation theory to better organize and economize the computation of high orders of the 2-body effective action of an inspiralling post-Newtonian (PN) gravitating binary. We use the effective field theory approach with the nonrelativistic field decomposition (NRG fields). For that purpose we develop quite generally the dressing theory of a nonlinear classical field theory coupled to pointlike sources. We introduce dressed charges and propagators, but unlike the quantum theory there are no dressed bulk vertices. The dressed quantities are found to obey recursive integral equations which succinctly encode parts of the diagrammatic expansion, and are the classical version of the Schwinger-Dyson equations. Actually, the classical equations are somewhat stronger since they involve only finitely many quantities, unlike the quantum theory. Classical diagrams are shown to factorize exactly when they contain nonlinear worldline vertices, and we classify all the possible topologies of irreducible diagrams for low loop numbers. We apply the dressing program to our post-Newtonian case of interest. The dressed charges consist of the dressed energy-momentum tensor after a nonrelativistic decomposition, and we compute all dressed charges (in the harmonic gauge) appearing up to 2PN in the 2-body effective action (and more). We determine the irreducible skeleton diagrams up to 3PN and we employ the dressed charges to compute several terms beyond 2PN.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number124044
JournalPhysical Review D - Particles, Fields, Gravitation and Cosmology
Issue number12
StatePublished - 29 Dec 2009


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