Quantum field theory and scattering amplitudes

What are the basic building blocks of Nature? What forces hold them together? These questions are at the heart of elementary particle physics. Theoretical physicists study and explore how to describe elementary particles and their interactions. There are several concrete hints that tell us that we currently know only part of the puzzle.

In order to explore what pieces are missing, and to get hints for completing the picture, it is paramount to get clues from experimental observations. The scientific approach is to compare experimental data to theoretical predictions. Obtaining the latter requires understanding of quantum field theory, which underpins the model for the known elementary particles and their interactions.

The Amplitudes research field focuses on understanding and computing probabilities of scattering processes in quantum field theory. The later are the essential building blocks for cross-sections that can be measured at particle colliders, such as the LHC at CERN, Geneva.

Apart from their phenomenological interest, scattering amplitudes also have intriguing mathematical properties. They satisfy a number of physical conditions, and have obvious and hidden symmetries. In some situations, the amplitudes can be uniquely determined from their symmetry and analytic properties. Many modern methods of computing them are based on such structural insights.

Key words for specific research directions of the group:

  • Scattering amplitudes of elementary particles
  • Feynman integrals, differential equations, and special functions
  • Infrared divergences in quantum field theory
  • Conformal symmetry and supersymmetry
  • AdS/CFT correspondence, N=4 super Yang-Mills

News Releases


Theoretical particle physicists sometimes compare Feynman integrals to “wild beasts”. Three physicists have now succeeded in partially taming these wild beasts with the help of mathematics. Their scientific achievement should make theoretical calculations of particle collisions considerably easier.

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Theoretical particle physicists are not particularly well known for their simplicity but rather for their complex research field. Yet simplicity is exactly what particle physicists strive for. The researchers in the quantum field theory group led by Prof. Dr. Johannes Henn at the Max Planck…

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Theoretical physicist Johannes M. Henn has been appointed as a new Director at the Max Planck Institute for Physics. The 37-year-old scientist conducts research into scattering amplitudes, which are used for the precise description of accelerator experiments. Henn is one of the world's leading…

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Group members

name function extension office www

Benincasa, Paolo

Scientist 284 303

Early, Nick

Postdoc 200 321

Ebert, Markus, Dr.

Postdoc 317 305

Henn, Johannes, Prof. Dr.

Director 420 316

Kudrin, Vera

Secretary 334 308

Matijasic, Antonela

PhD-Student 201 327

Miczajka, Julian, Dr.

Postdoc 405 334

Ohrberg Schreiber, Anders

Postdoc 427 336

Saller, Heinrich, Dr.

Emeritus 267 324

Scholtes, Sorana

Communication & Outreach 434 325

Seiler, Erhard, Dr.

Emeritus 267 324

Sotnikov, Vasily

Postdoc 317 335

Torres Bobadilla, William Javier

Postdoc 317 335

Tumanov, Alexander, Dr.

Postdoc 405 334

Weisz, Peter, Dr.

Emeritus 267 324

Zakharov, Valentine, Dr.

Emeritus 231 309