A fully relativistic (Lorentz covariant) description, first put forward by Paul Dirac in 1928, of the first quantized, spin one half fermion with nonzero mass. Physical notions to do with this equation include the Dirac sea, Dirac hole theory, the Klein Paradox and the fine structure of the Hydrogen ...

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22
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4answers
358 views

Why fermions have a first order (Dirac) equation and bosons a second order one?

Is there a deep reason for a fermion to have a first order equation in the derivative while the bosons have a second order one? Does this imply deep theoretical differences (like space phase dimesion ...
11
votes
1answer
397 views

How is the Dirac adjoint generalized?

I am wondering how one can generalize the Dirac adjoint to flat "spacetimes" of arbitrary dimension and signature. To be more specific, a standard situation would be to consider 4 dimensional ...
10
votes
1answer
627 views

Dimension of Dirac $\gamma$ matrices

While studying the Dirac equation, I came across this enigmatic passage on p. 551 in From Classical to Quantum Mechanics by G. Esposito, G. Marmo, G. Sudarshan regarding the $\gamma$ matrices: ...
10
votes
2answers
416 views

Introduction to spinors in physics, and their relation to representations

First, I shall say that I am familiar with the intuitive idea that a spinor is like a vector (or tensor) that only transforms "up to a sign" when acted on by the rotation group. I have even rotated a ...
10
votes
1answer
629 views

Exact energies of spherical harmonic oscillator in Dirac equation

The potential is given by: $$ V(r) = {1\over 2} \omega^2 r^2 $$ and we are solving the radial Dirac equation (in atomic units): $$ c{d P(r)\over d r} + c {\kappa\over r} P(r) + Q(r) (V(r)-2mc^2) = E ...
9
votes
1answer
194 views

Interpretation of Dirac equation states

In Pauli theory the components of two-component wavefunction were interpreted as probability amplitudes of finding the particle in particular spin state. This seems easy to understand. But when ...
9
votes
2answers
404 views

How to prove $(\gamma^\mu)^\dagger=\gamma^0\gamma^\mu\gamma^0$?

Studying the basics of spin-$\frac{1}{2}$ QFT, I encountered the gamma matrices. One important property is $(\gamma^5)^\dagger=\gamma^5$, the hermicity of $\gamma^5$. After some searching, I stumbled ...
8
votes
2answers
956 views

Dirac equation in curved space-time

I have seen the Dirac equation in curved space-time written as $$[i\bar{\gamma}^{\mu}\frac{\partial}{\partial x^{\mu}}-i\bar{\gamma}^{\mu}\Gamma_{\mu}-m]\psi=0 $$ This ...
8
votes
2answers
2k views

Charge conjugation in Dirac equation

According to Dirac equation we can write, \begin{equation} \left(i\gamma^\mu( \partial_\mu +ie A_\mu)- m \right)\psi(x,t) = 0 \end{equation} We seek an equation where $e\rightarrow -e $ and which ...
8
votes
1answer
223 views

Question about Majorana fermions

I have a few questions about Majorana fermions. What is Majorana mass? Does it have a different value compared to the mass in the Dirac equation for an arbitrary fermion? How exactly do they differ? ...
8
votes
3answers
685 views

What was missing in Dirac's argument to come up with the modern interpretation of the positron?

When Dirac found his equation for the electron $(-i\gamma^\mu\partial_\mu+m)\psi=0$ he famously discovered that it had negative energy solutions. In order to solve the problem of the stability of the ...
8
votes
4answers
2k views

What is the difference between a spinor and a vector or a tensor?

Why do we call a 1/2 spin particle satisfying the Dirac equation a spinor, and not a vector or a tensor?
8
votes
2answers
404 views

Dirac equation as canonical quantization?

First of all, I'm not a physicist, I'm mathematics phd student, but I have one elementary physical question and was not able to find answer in standard textbooks. Motivation is quite simple: let me ...
7
votes
2answers
857 views

Is Zitterbewegung an artefact of single-particle theory?

I have seen a number of articles on Zitterbewegung claiming searches for it such as this one: http://arxiv.org/abs/0810.2186. Others such as the so-called ZBW interpretation by Hestenes seemingly ...
7
votes
4answers
822 views

Dirac equation on general geometries?

I have a numerical method for computing solutions to the Dirac equation for a spin 1/2 particle constrained to an arbitrary surface and am interested in finding applications where the configuration ...
7
votes
2answers
191 views

Why the lowest order of matrices in Dirac equation are 4x4 matrices?

Why the lowest order of matrices in Dirac equation (Relativistic Quantums) are 4x4 matrices (and can not be 2x2 matrices)? How to prove it?
6
votes
4answers
452 views

Why is the Dirac equation not used for calculations?

From what I understand the Dirac equation is supposed to be an improvement on the Schrödinger equation in that it is consistent with relativity theory. Yet all methods I have encountered for doing ...
6
votes
1answer
250 views

Lorentz transformation of the Spinor Field

I'm reading chapter 3 of Peskin and Schroeder and am stuck on page 43 of P&S. They have defined the Lorentz generators in the spinor representation as: \begin{equation} S^{\mu \nu} = ...
6
votes
1answer
115 views

Why zero modes of the internal Dirac operator must be in representations of the isometry group of the compact space

Imagine a manifold $\mathbb{R}^{1,3}\times{}B$ where $B$ is a compact group-manifold with isometry group $U(1)\times{}SU(2)\times{}SU(3)$. Let's consider the Dirac equation for a massless Spinor ...
6
votes
1answer
219 views

Dirac Lagrangian density in curved spacetime

I'm trying to derive this form of the Dirac Lagrangian density in curved space-time: $$ \mathcal{L}~=~\det\left(e\right)\bar{\Psi}\Bigg ...
6
votes
1answer
174 views

Determinant of Dirac operator in flat space?

How would you evaluate \begin{equation}|iD\!\!\!\!/-m|\end{equation} Where $D_{\mu}=\partial_{\mu}-ieA_{\mu}$. I have an idea of how to do this without the gauge field, because it's essentially ...
6
votes
2answers
444 views

Geometrical interpretation of the Dirac equation

Is there an intuitive geometrical picture behind the Dirac equation, and the gamma matrices that it uses? I know the geometric algebra is a Clifford algebra. Can the properties of geometric algebra, ...
5
votes
7answers
882 views

Evolution in the interpretation of the Dirac equation

As I understand, Dirac equation was first interpreted as a wave equation following the ideas of non relativistic quantum mechanics, but this lead to different problems. The equation was then ...
5
votes
4answers
1k views

Why are four-vectors needed in the Dirac equation, when there are 4 linearly independent 2D matrices?

I was taught that for the Dirac-equation to "work", you need matrices of the following form: $Tr(\alpha^i) = 0$. Eigenvalues +1 or -1 2 previous points together: equal number of negative and ...
5
votes
2answers
1k views

What is negative about negative energy states in the Dirac equation?

This question is a follow up to What was missing in Dirac's argument to come up with the modern interpretation of the positron? There still is some confusion in my mind about the so-called ...
5
votes
2answers
257 views

Is the Dirac Lagrangian Hermitian?

I'm wondering of the Dirac Lagrangian density $$\mathcal{L} =\overline{\psi}(-i\gamma^\mu \partial_\mu +m)\psi $$ is an hermitian operator, since upon complex conjugating one gets ...
5
votes
1answer
127 views

Explicit form of $\gamma^\mu \partial_\mu$ in the Dirac equation

I'm in an introductory particle physics class, and in performing manipulations on the Dirac equation, my instructor expands the $\gamma^\mu \partial_\mu$ term as: $$\gamma^\mu \partial_\mu = \gamma^0 ...
5
votes
2answers
546 views

Does Dirac's idea of filled negative energy states make sense?

Please bear with me a bit on this. I know my title is controversial, but it's serious and detailed question about the explanation Dirac attached to his amazing equations, not the equations themselves. ...
5
votes
1answer
298 views

Higher dimension operator in free Dirac Lagrangian

When discussing higher dimensional operators in a theory with fermions, why do I never see anyone ever talk about the dimension five operator $\partial_\mu\bar\psi\partial^\mu\psi$? How does the ...
5
votes
1answer
57 views

Spinor reps in $\mathbb{R}^{1,3}\times{}B$ space-times

I am considering spinors in a space-time which is $\mathbb{R}^{1,3}\times{}B$ being $B$ a compact manifold of $D$ dimensions. I know that in ordinary 4 dimensional space-time spinors are ...
5
votes
1answer
131 views

Sign in front of QFT kinetic terms

I'd like to know if the sign in front of a kinetic term in QFT important. For the scalar field we conventionally write (in the $ + --- $ metric), \begin{equation} {\cal L} _{ kin} = \frac{1}{2} ...
5
votes
1answer
301 views

Derivation of a gamma matrices identity

While studying Srednicki's book on quantum field theory, I encountered a particular identity that is of interest to me (equation 36.40): $$\mathcal{C}^{-1}\gamma^\mu\mathcal{C}=-(\gamma^\mu)^T$$ where ...
5
votes
2answers
109 views

Can we treat $\psi^{c}$ as a field independent from $\psi$?

When we derive the Dirac equation from the Lagrangian, $$ \mathcal{L}=\overline{\psi}i\gamma^{\mu}\partial_{\mu}\psi-m\overline{\psi}\psi, $$ we assume $\psi$ and ...
5
votes
2answers
512 views

Propagator for Dirac equation in real space

I'm interested in the retarded propagator for a free massless Dirac fermion, i.e. solutions $ψ$ to the inhomogeneous PDE $$ (∂_t- \nabla·\vec σ) ψ(x,t) = f(x,t) $$ with boundary conditions $$\quad ...
5
votes
1answer
785 views

What is the relativistic particle in a box?

I know people try to solve Dirac equation in a box. Some claim it cannot be done. Some claim that they had found the solution, I have seen three and they are all different and bizarre. But my main ...
4
votes
4answers
1k views

Where is spin in the Schroedinger equation of an electron in the hydrogen atom?

In my current quantum mechanics, course, we have derived in full (I believe?) the wave equations for the time-independent stationary states of the hydrogen atom. We are told that the Pauli Exclusion ...
4
votes
3answers
489 views

Dirac equation as Hamiltonian system

Let us consider Dirac equation $$(i\gamma^\mu\partial_\mu -m)\psi =0$$ as a classical field equation. Is it possible to introduce Poisson bracket on the space of spinors $\psi$ in such a way that ...
4
votes
2answers
367 views

Relation for Dirac-spinors of different helicities

Assume that we have massless spin-1/2 particles. The Dirac-spinor is the solution of the Dirac equation: $$ p^\mu \gamma_\mu u_\pm(p) = 0, \quad p^2 = 0$$ The subscripts $\pm$ denote two different ...
4
votes
2answers
162 views

Hamilton formalism for Dirac spinors

Let's have the Dirac free lagrangian: $$ L = \bar {\Psi} (i\gamma^{\mu}\partial_{\mu} - m) \Psi . $$ I can rewrite it as $$ L = i\Psi^{\dagger}\partial_{0}\Psi - H_{d}, \quad H_{d} = ...
4
votes
2answers
330 views

What is the gamma five matrix $\gamma_5$?

This Wikipedia page explains that for each of the four main gamma matrices $\gamma^{\mu}$, you can find the covariant matrices $\gamma_{\mu}$ with the equation $\gamma_{\mu} = ...
4
votes
3answers
336 views

How does one interpret the Dirac equation with a self-field potential?

EVERY QFT text I've ever examined states that if there is an external vector potential, $A_\mu$, then one writes the Dirac eq.(or Klein-Gordon eq.) using a covariant derivative to include this U(1) ...
4
votes
1answer
170 views

Derivation of the quadratic form of the Dirac equation

I am asked to derive the quadratic form of the Dirac equation in an electromagnetic field, $\left[\left(i\hbar \partial - \frac{e}{c}A\right)^2 - \frac{\hbar e}{2c} \sigma^{\mu\nu} F_{\mu\nu} - ...
4
votes
0answers
78 views

Dirac equation in curved spacetime - found second derivatives of the metric, violation of the principle of equivalence?

I am working on the Dirac equation on curved spacetime. A Foldy-Wouthuysen transformation was applied to obtain the semiclassical limit of the equation to study the dynamics of the spin of the ...
4
votes
0answers
88 views

Path Integral on Einstein Cartan Manifold

In condensed matter, crystal with disclination and dislocation has both curvature and torsion. I am looking for a reference in which path integral quantization of Dirac equation on manifold with ...
4
votes
0answers
263 views

Relativistic genarization of Quantum Harmonic Oscillator

I am trying to find out relativistic description of a quantum harmonic oscillator. For a classical relativistic oscillator mass is a function of co-ordinates(http://arxiv.org/abs/1209.2876). ...
4
votes
0answers
216 views

Dirac action and conventions

I have a (possibly) fundamental question, which is driving me crazy. Notation When considering the Dirac action (say reading Peskin's book), one have $\int ...
3
votes
4answers
1k views

Why would Klein-Gordon describe spin-0 scalar field while Dirac describe spin-1/2?

The derivation of both Klein-Gordon equation and Dirac equation is due the need of quantum mechanics (or to say more correctly, quantum field theory) to adhere to special relativity. However, excpet ...
3
votes
2answers
56 views

Fermion as a mixture of particle and antiparticle

The solution to the Dirac equation (in the Dirac basis) are 4 coupled fields. The first 2 of them represent a particle (spin up/down), the other 2 fields are the antiparticle (spin up/down). When the ...
3
votes
2answers
498 views

Lorentz transformations in Dirac equation

Let's denote a spinor $\xi$. If $(\theta ,\phi)$ are the parameters of a rotation and pure Lorentz transformation, then how $\xi$ could be written as $$\xi ~\rightarrow~ \exp\left(\ i ...
3
votes
1answer
112 views

Sign of mass of an anti-particle

When deriving the Lagrangian for Spin $\frac{1}{2}$ particles we are naturally led to using $\Psi$ and $\bar{\Psi}$. The Euler-Lagrange equations lead us to two wave equations: \begin{equation} ...