Why Hartree-Fock?

We will show that the Hartree-Fock Hamiltonian \( \hat{h}^{\mathrm{HF}} \) equals our definition of the operator \( \hat{f} \) discussed in connection with the new definition of the normal-ordered Hamiltonian (see later lectures), that is we have, for a specific matrix element $$ \langle p |\hat{h}^{\mathrm{HF}}| q \rangle =\langle p |\hat{f}| q \rangle=\langle p|\hat{t}+\hat{u}_{\mathrm{ext}}|q \rangle +\sum_{i\le F} \langle pi | \hat{V} | qi\rangle_{AS}, $$ meaning that $$ \langle p|\hat{u}^{\mathrm{HF}}|q\rangle = \sum_{i\le F} \langle pi | \hat{V} | qi\rangle_{AS}. $$ The so-called Hartree-Fock potential \( \hat{u}^{\mathrm{HF}} \) brings an explicit medium dependence due to the summation over all single-particle states below the Fermi level \( F \). It brings also in an explicit dependence on the two-body interaction (in nuclear physics we can also have complicated three- or higher-body forces). The two-body interaction, with its contribution from the other bystanding fermions, creates an effective mean field in which a given fermion moves, in addition to the external potential \( \hat{u}_{\mathrm{ext}} \) which confines the motion of the fermion. For systems like nuclei, there is no external confining potential. Nuclei are examples of self-bound systems, where the binding arises due to the intrinsic nature of the strong force. For nuclear systems thus, there would be no external one-body potential in the Hartree-Fock Hamiltonian.