QCD running couplings and effective charges


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We discuss our present knowledge of s, the fundamental running coupling or effective charge of Quantum Chromodynamics (QCD). A precise understanding of the running of s(Q2) at high momentum transfer, Q, is necessary for any perturbative QCD calculation. Equally important, the behavior of s at low Q2 in the nonperturbative QCD domain is critical for understanding strong interaction phenomena, including the emergence of mass and quark confinement. The behavior of s(Q2) at all momentum transfers also provides a connection between perturbative and nonperturbative QCD phenomena, such as hadron spectroscopy and dynamics. We first sketch the origin of the QCD coupling, the reason why its magnitude depends on the scale at which hadronic phenomena are probed, and the resulting consequences for QCD phenomenology. We then summarize latest measurements in both the perturbative and nonperturbative domains. New theory developments include the derivation of the universal nonperturbative behavior of s(Q2) from both the Dyson-Schwinger equations and light-front holography. We also describe theory advances for the calculation of gluon and quark Schwinger functions in the nonperturbative domain and the relation of these quantities to s. We conclude by highlighting how the nonperturbative knowledge of s is now providing a parameter-free determination of hadron spectroscopy and structure, a central and long-sought goal of QCD studies.
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Key words
QCD,Perturbative QCD,Coupling constant,Renormalization group,Nonperturbative QCD,Effective charges
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