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A new spectral cancellation in quantum gravity
Giampiero Esposito, Guglielmo Fucci, Alexander Yu. Kamenshchik and Klaus Kirsten
A general method exists for studying Abelian and non-Abelian gauge theories, as well as Euclidean quantum gravity, at one-loop level on manifolds with boundary. In the latter case, boundary conditions on metric perturbations $h$ can be chosen to be completely invariant under infinitesimal diffeomorphisms, to preserve the invariance group of the theory and BRST symmetry. In the de Donder gauge, however, the resulting boundary-value problem for the Laplace type operator acting on $h$ is known to be self-adjoint but not strongly elliptic. The present paper shows that, on the Euclidean four-ball, only the scalar part of perturbative modes for quantum gravity is affected by the lack of strong ellipticity. Interestingly, three sectors of the scalar-perturbation problem remain elliptic, while lack of strong ellipticity is "confined" to the remaining fourth sector. The integral representation of the resulting $\zeta$-function asymptotics on the Euclidean four-ball is also obtained; this remains regular at the origin by virtue of a peculiar spectral identity obtained by the authors. There is therefore encouraging evidence in favour of the functional determinant with fully diff-invariant boundary conditions remaining well defined, at least on the four-ball, although severe technical obstructions remain in general.