Published online by Cambridge University Press: 20 January 2020
As a short introduction to this chapter we first briefly summarize the in-in or closed-time-path (CTP) functional formalism and evaluate the CTP effective action for a scalar field in Minkowski spacetime. We then consider N quantum matter fields interacting with the gravitational field assuming an effective field theory approach to quantum gravity and consider the quantization of metric perturbations around a semiclassical background in the CTP formalism. A suitable prescription is given to select an asymptotic initial vacuum state of the interacting theory; this prescription plays an important role in calculations in later chapters. We derive expressions for the two-point metric correlations, which are conveniently written in terms of the CTP effective action that results from integrating out the matter fields by rescaling the gravitational constant and performing a 1/N expansion. These correlations include loop corrections from matter fields but no graviton loops. This is achieved consistently in the 1/N expansion, and is illustrated in a simplified model of matter–gravity interaction.