I formulate a 'pseudo-paradox' in the theory of a dilute Bose gas with repulsive interactions: the standard expression for the ground state energy within the Gross-Pitaevskii (GP) approximation is lower than that in the Bogoliubov approximation, and hence, by the standard variational argument, the former should prima facie be a better approximation than the latter to the true ground state - a conclusion which is of course opposite to the established wisdom concerning this problem. It is shown that the pseudo-paradox is (unsurprisingly) resolved by a correct transcription of the two-body scattering theory to the many-body case; however, contrary to what appears to be a widespread belief, the resolution has nothing to do with any spurious ultraviolet divergences which result from the replacement of the true interatomic potential by a delta-function pseudopotential. Rather, it relates to an infrared divergence which has the consequence that (a) the most obvious form of the GP 'approximation' actually does not correspond to any well-defined ansatz for the many-body wavefunction, and (b) that the 'best shot' at such a wavefunction always produces an energy which exceeds, or at best equals, that calculated in the Bogoliubov approximation. In fact, the necessity of the latter may be seen as a consequence of the need to reduce the Fock term in the energy, which is absent in the two-particle problem but dominant in the many-body case; it does this by increasing the density correlations, at distances less than or approximately equal to the correlation length ξ, above the value extrapolated from the two-body case. As a by-product I devise an alternative formulation of the Bogoliubov approximation which does not require the explicit replacement of the true interatomic potential by a delta-function pseudopotential.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- General Physics and Astronomy