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 ...

learn more… | top users | synonyms

11
votes
1answer
376 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
534 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
1answer
607 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
2answers
306 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 ...
9
votes
1answer
282 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 ...
8
votes
2answers
800 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
1k 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
3answers
616 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
1answer
176 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
2answers
385 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
736 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
788 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
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?
7
votes
2answers
125 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
416 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
183 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
130 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
395 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
857 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
977 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
1answer
191 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} = ...
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
1answer
116 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
1answer
257 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
118 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
213 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
422 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 ...
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
449 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
333 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
189 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
124 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
297 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
317 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
141 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
1answer
733 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
0answers
80 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
219 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
155 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
474 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
104 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} ...
3
votes
2answers
466 views

Spin matrices in Dirac equation

Why in every textbook when deriving Dirac's equation the smallest possible matrices ($2 \times 2$) are used? I wonder why one couldn't use spin 1 matrices ($3 \times 3$) and get relativistic equation ...
3
votes
1answer
51 views

Dirac operator Feynman propagator

Is it true that the following identity holds for the Feynman prescription Dirac propagator: $$ S_F(x) \stackrel{?}{=} \gamma^0[S_F(-x)]^\dagger\gamma^0 $$ where $S_F$ is defined as the Green's ...
3
votes
1answer
332 views

What happens to the Lagrangian of the Dirac theory under charge conjugation?

Consider a charge conjugation operator which acts on the Dirac field($\psi$) as $$\psi_{C} \equiv \mathcal{C}\psi\mathcal{C}^{-1} = C\gamma_{0}^{T}\psi^{*}$$ Just as we can operate the parity operator ...
3
votes
1answer
152 views

Charge and the Dirac field

In Zee's quantum field theory in a nutshell, 2nd edition, pg 550 he has $Q=\int {d^3p \over (2\pi)^3(E_p/m)} \sum_s \{b^\dagger(p,s)b(p,s)-d^\dagger(p,s)d(p,s)\}$ showing clearly that $b$ ...
3
votes
1answer
94 views

Negative energy solutions Dirac equation without radation field

In the book "Relativistic Quantum Mechanics" by Bjorken and Drell in Chapter 5.1 page 64 there is the following statement about the problem of negative solutions to the Dirac equation: By their ...
3
votes
1answer
445 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. ...
3
votes
1answer
348 views

Matrix order in Dirac equations

The trace of matrix is always sum of its eigen values , which can be seen if $\hat{U}$ transforms the matrix $\alpha_i$ into it's diagonal form . $$ \begin{pmatrix} A_1 & 0 & \cdots & 0 ...
3
votes
1answer
117 views

How to determine the orientation of the massive Dirac Hamiltonian?

In the calculation of the Chern number within a 2D lattice model, let's take the Haldane model for example, the Chern number$=\pm1$ has 2 contributions coming from 2 Dirac points described by ...