In this work we explore the applicability of a special gluon mass generating mechanism in the context of the linear covariant gauges. In particular, the implementation of the Schwinger mechanism in pure Yang-Mills theories hinges crucially on the inclusion of massless bound-state excitations in the fundamental nonperturbative vertices of the theory. The dynamical formation of such excitations is controlled by a homogeneous linear Bethe-Salpeter equation, whose nontrivial solutions have been studied only in the Landau gauge. Here, the form of this integral equation is derived for general values of the gauge-fixing parameter, under a number of simplifying assumptions that reduce the degree of technical complexity. The kernel of this equation consists of fully-dressed gluon propagators, for which recent lattice data are used as input, and of three-gluon vertices dressed by a single form factor, which is modelled by means of certain physically motivated Ans\"atze. The gauge-dependent terms contributing to this kernel impose considerable restrictions on the infrared behavior of the vertex form factor; specifically, only infrared finite Ans\"atze are compatible with the existence of nontrivial solutions. When such Ans\"atze are employed, the numerical study of the integral equation reveals a continuity in the type of solutions as one varies the gauge-fixing parameter, indicating a smooth departure from the Landau gauge. Instead, the logarithmically divergent form factor displaying the characteristic "zero crossing", while perfectly consistent in the Landau gauge, has to undergo a dramatic qualitative transformation away from it, in order to yield acceptable solutions. The possible implications of these results are briefly discussed.
Date of publication:
Phys.Rev. D95 (2017) no.3, 034017