Abc of instantons

A. I. Valnshteln, V. I. Zakharov, V. A. Novikov, M. A. Shifman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

212 Scopus citations


An attempt is made to present an instanton "calculus" in a relatively simple form. The physical meaning of instantons is explained by the example of the quantum-mechanical problem of energy levels in a two-humped potential. The nonstandard solution to this problem based on instantons is analyzed and the reader is acquainted with the main technical elements used in this approach. Instantons in quantum chromodynamics are then considered. The Euclidean formulation of the theory is described. Classical solutions of the field equations (the Belavin-Polyakov-Shvarts- Tyupkin instantons) are obtained explicitly and their properties are studied. The calculation of the instanton density is described and the complete result is given for an arbitrary number of colors. The effects associated with fermion fields are briefly described.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)195-215
Number of pages21
JournalSoviet Physics - Uspekhi
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 30 1982


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