Effective Hamiltonian for scalar theories in the Gaussian approximation



We use a Gaussian wave functional for the ground state to reorder the Hamiltonian into a free part with a variationally determined mass and the rest. Once spontaneous symmetry breaking is taken into account, the residual Hamiltonian can, in principle, be treated perturbatively. In this scheme we analyze the O(1) and O(2) scalar models. For the O(2)-theory we first explicitly calculate the massless Goldstone excitation and then show that the one-loop corrections of the effective Hamiltonian do not generate a mass.