In the renormalization group analysis of phase transitions in physics, a critical dimension is the dimensionality of space at which the character of the phase transition changes. Below the lower critical dimension there is no phase transition. Above the upper critical dimension the critical exponents of the theory become the same as that in mean field theory. An elegant criterion to obtain the critical dimension within mean field theory is due to V. Ginzburg.
Since the renormalization group sets up a relation between a phase transition and a quantum field theory, this also has implications for the latter. Above the upper critical dimension, the quantum field theory which belongs to the model of the phase transition is a free field theory. Below the lower critical dimension, there is no field theory corresponding to the model.
In the context of string theory the meaning is more restricted: the critical dimension is the dimension at which string theory is consistent assuming a constant dilaton background. The precise number may be determined by the required cancellation of conformal anomaly on the worldsheet; it is 26 for the bosonic string theory and 10 for superstring theory.
Other articles related to "dimension, critical dimension":
... is an electrode that has at least one dimension (the critical dimension) smaller than 25 μm ... of 5 μm are commercially available and electrodes with critical dimension of 0.1 μm have been made ... Electrodes with even smaller critical dimension have been reported in the literature, but exist mostly as proofs of concept ...
... There appears to be no generic formal way for deriving the lower critical dimension of a field theory ... Space dimension d=1 thus is a lower bound for the lower critical dimension of such systems ... These authors used the criterion to determine the lower critical dimension of random field magnets ...
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