Journal of High Energy Physics

, 2019:126 | Cite as

Asymptotic renormalization in flat space: symplectic potential and charges of electromagnetism

  • Laurent Freidel
  • Florian Hopfmüller
  • Aldo RielloEmail author
Open Access
Regular Article - Theoretical Physics


We present a systematic procedure to renormalize the symplectic potential of the electromagnetic field at null infinity in Minkowski space. We work in D ≥ 6 spacetime dimensions as a toy model of General Relativity in D ≥ 4 dimensions. Total variation counterterms as well as corner counterterms are both subtracted from the symplectic potential to make it finite. These counterterms affect respectively the action functional and the Hamiltonian symmetry generators. The counterterms are local and universal. We analyze the asymptotic equations of motion and identify the free data associated with the renormalized canonical structure along a null characteristic. This allows the construction of the asymptotic renormalized charges whose Ward identity gives the QED soft theorem, supporting the physical viability of the renormalization procedure. We touch upon how to extend our analysis to the presence of logarithmic anomalies, and upon how our procedure compares to holographic renormalization.


Field Theories in Higher Dimensions Gauge Symmetry Anomalies in Field and String Theories Global Symmetries 


Open Access

This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC-BY 4.0), which permits any use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author(s) and source are credited


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Perimeter Institute for Theoretical PhysicsWaterlooCanada

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