# Majorana fermions

If you write the Majorana spinors as

$$\chi = \begin{pmatrix}\psi_L\\ i\sigma_2\psi_L^* \end{pmatrix} \tag1$$

It satisfies the Dirac equation that leads you to the Majorana equation $$i\bar{\sigma}^\mu\partial_\mu\psi_L = im\sigma_2\psi_L.$$

But if $$\chi$$ satisfies Dirac, is Dirac's Lagrangian the Lagrangian for $$\chi$$? My questions arises from one of my QFT classes where the professor said that Majorana fields like Eq. (1) don't have $$U(1)$$ symmetry. Nevertheless, if it is satisfying Dirac's equation, its Lagrangian should be Dirac's and therefore, it should have $$U(1)$$ symmetry.

Moreover, how do you know that Majorana's are self-conjugated? Do you impose it or it's a result from the Lagrangian or Eq. (1) or somewhere? I've been trying to understand this but I'm really stuck.

Perhaps a simpler example will help show the issue. Consider the complex scalar field Lagrangian, $$\mathcal{L} = (\partial_\mu \phi^*)(\partial^\mu \phi) - m^2 \phi^* \phi.$$ This Lagrangian has a $$U(1)$$ symmetry by phase rotations.
Now consider a real field $$\varphi$$. We already know how to deal with them, but out of laziness, we could choose to write the real field as a complex field $$\phi$$ that happens to be its own conjugate, $$\phi^* = \phi$$. This is useful because we can just use the very same complex scalar field Lagrangian, $$\mathcal{L} = (\partial_\mu \phi^*)(\partial^\mu \phi) - m^2 \phi^* \phi.$$ However, this Lagrangian does not have a $$U(1)$$ symmetry like the original one, even though it looks the same, because $$\phi$$ is actually real. You simply can't rotate its phase in the first place.
The same logic holds for the Majorana spinor field. We start with a Weyl spinor field $$\psi_L$$. If we only know about the Dirac Lagrangian, then we don't know how to write down a Lagrangian for this Weyl spinor alone. So we choose to write it as a full Dirac spinor $$\chi$$ which is constrained to be its own conjugate, and just use the Dirac Lagrangian for $$\chi$$. However, this Lagrangian does not have a $$U(1)$$ symmetry like the original one, even though it looks the same, because $$\chi$$ is self-conjugate. You simply can't rotate its phase in the first place.
• I've made the explicit computation of the Lagrangian for $\chi$ , ${\cal L} = \bar{\chi}(i\gamma^\mu \partial_\mu - m)\chi$, and I get terms that goes with $\psi_L \psi_L, \psi_L^* \psi_L^*, \psi_L\psi_L^*$. The first 2 ones make the $U(1)$ symmetry impossible, true? Actually it can be seen that a rotation of $\chi$ would imply that $\psi_L$ transforms with the rotation and $\psi_L^*$ with the inverse of the rotation, which makes no sense. Is this what you want me to explain? Commented Nov 27, 2018 at 12:08