Effective field theory for few-nucleon systems

Paulo F. Bedaque, Ubirajara Van Kolck

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

716 Scopus citations


We review the effective field theories (EFTs) developed for few-nucleon systems. These EFTs are controlled expansions in momenta, where certain (leading-order) interactions are summed to all orders. At low energies, an EFT with only contact interactions allows a detailed analysis of renormalization in a nonperturbative context and uncovers novel asymptotic behavior. Manifestly model-independent calculations can be carried out to high orders, leading to high precision. At higher energies, an EFT that includes pion fields justifies and extends the traditional framework of phenomenological potentials. The correct treatment of QCD symmetries ensures a connection with lattice QCD. Several tests and prospects of these EFTs are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)339-396
Number of pages58
JournalAnnual Review of Nuclear and Particle Science
StatePublished - 2002


  • Chiral perturbation theory
  • Few-body systems
  • Nuclear physics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nuclear and High Energy Physics


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