Abstract:
We discuss the connection between various types of improved actions in the context of the two-dimensional sigma-model. We also discuss spectrum-improved actions showing that these actions do not have any improved behaviour. An O(a^2) on-shell improved action with all couplings defined on a plaquette and satisfying reflection positivity is also explicitly constructed.

Abstract:
We compute the corrections to finite-size scaling for the N-vector model on the square lattice in the large-N limit. We find that corrections behave as log L/L^2. For tree-level improved hamiltonians corrections behave as 1/L^2. In general l-loop improvement is expected to reduce this behaviour to 1/(L^2 \log^l L). We show that the finite-size-scaling and the perturbative limit do not commute in the calculation of the corrections to finite-size scaling. We present also a detailed study of the corrections for the RP^N-model.

Abstract:
We present high-order pertubative expansions of multi-parameter Phi^4 quantum field theories with an N-component fundamental field, containing up to 4th-order polynomials of the field. Multi-parameter Phi^4 theories generalize the simplest O(N)-symmetric Phi^4 theories, and describe more complicated symmetry breaking patterns. These notes collect several high-order perturbative series of physically interesting multi-parameter Phi^4 theories, to five or six loops. We consider the O(M)XO(N)-symmetric Phi^4 model, the so-called MN model, and a spin-density-wave Phi^4 model containing five quartic terms.

Abstract:
We study the phase diagram and multicritical behavior of anisotropic Heisenberg antiferromagnets on a square lattice in the presence of a magnetic field along the easy axis. We argue that, beside the Ising and XY critical lines, the phase diagram presents a first-order spin-flop line starting from T=0, as in the three-dimensional case. By using field theory we show that the multicritical point where these transition lines meet cannot be O(3) symmetric and occurs at finite temperature. We also predict how the critical temperature of the transition lines varies with the magnetic field and the uniaxial anisotropy in the limit of weak anisotropy.

Abstract:
We compute the beta-function and the anomalous dimension of all the non-derivative operators of the theory up to three-loops for the most general nearest-neighbour O(N)-invariant action together with some contributions to the four-loop beta-function. These results are used to compute the first analytic corrections to various long-distance quantities as the correlation length and the general spin-$n$ susceptibility. It is found that these corrections are extremely large for $RP^{N-1}$ models (especially for small values of N), so that asymptotic scaling can be observed in these models only at very large values of beta. We also give the first three terms in the asymptotic expansion of the vector and tensor energies.

Abstract:
We have considered the corrections to the finite-size-scaling functions for a general class of $O(N)$ $\sigma$-models with two-spin interactions in two dimensions for $N=\infty$. We have computed the leading corrections finding that they generically behave as $(f(z) \log L + g(z))/L^2$ where $z = m(L) L$ and $m(L)$ is a mass scale; $f(z)$ vanishes for Symanzik improved actions for which the inverse propagator behaves as $q^2 + O(q^6)$ for small $q$, but not for on-shell improved ones. We also discuss a model with four-spin interactions which shows a much more complicated behaviour.

Abstract:
We compute the four-loop contributions to the $\beta$-function and the anomalous dimension of the field for the $O(N)$-invariant $N$-vector model. These results are used to compute the second analytic corrections to the correlation length and the general spin-$n$ susceptibility.

Abstract:
We investigate the nature of the finite-temperature chiral transition in QCD with two light flavors, in the case of an effective suppression of the the U(1)_A symmetry breaking induced by the axial anomaly, which implies the symmetry breaking U(2)_L X U(2)_R -> U(2)_V, instead of SU(2)_L X SU(2)_R -> SU(2)_V. For this purpose, we perform a high-order field-theoretical perturbative study of the renormalization-group (RG) flow of the corresponding three-dimensional multiparameter Landau-Ginzburg-Wilson Phi4 theory with the same symmetry-breaking pattern. We confirm the existence of a stable fixed point (FP), and determine its attraction domain in the space of the bare quartic parameters. Therefore, the chiral QCD transition might be continuous also if the U(1)_A symmetry is effectively restored at Tc. However, the corresponding universality class differs from the O(4) vector universality class which would describe a continuous transition in the presence of a substantial U(1)_A symmetry breaking at Tc. We estimate the critical exponents of the U(2)_L X U(2)_R -> U(2)_V universality class by computing and analyzing their high-order perturbative expansions. These results are important to discriminate among the different scenarios for the scaling behavior of QCD with two light flavors close to the chiral transition.

Abstract:
We consider the critical behavior of the most general system of two N-vector order parameters that is O(N) invariant. We show that it may a have a multicritical transition with enlarged symmetry controlled by the chiral O(2)xO(N) fixed point. For N=2, 3, 4, if the system is also invariant under the exchange of the two order parameters and under independent parity transformations, one may observe a critical transition controlled by a fixed point belonging to the mn model. Also in this case there is a symmetry enlargement at the transition, the symmetry being [SO(N)+SO(N)]xC_2, where C_2 is the symmetry group of the square.

Abstract:
We consider the dynamical off-equilibrium behavior of the three-dimensional O(N) vector model in the presence of a slowly-varying time-dependent spatially-uniform magnetic field H(t) = h(t) e, where e is an N-dimensional constant unit vector, h(t)=t/t_s, and t_s is a time scale, at fixed temperature T < T_c and T = T_c, where T_c corresponds to the continuous order-disorder transition. We show that the magnetization displays an off-equilibrium universal scaling behavior close to the transition line H(t)=0, arising from the interplay among the time t, the time scale t_s, and the finite size L. The scaling behavior can be parametrized in terms of the scaling variables t_s^\kappa/L and t/t_s^{\kappa_t}, where \kappa>0 and \kappa_t > 0 are appropriate universal exponents, which differ at the critical point and for $T < T_c$. In the latter case, \kappa and \kappa_t also depend on the shape of the lattice and on the boundary conditions. We present numerical results for the Heisenberg (N=3) model under a purely relaxational dynamics. They confirm the predicted off-equilibrium scaling behaviors at and below $T_c$. We also discuss hysteresis phenomena in round-trip protocols for the time dependence of the external field. We define a scaling function for the hysteresis loop area of the magnetization that can be used to quantify how far the system is from equilibrium.