Questions tagged [dirac-matrices]

The tag has no usage guidance.

Filter by
Sorted by
Tagged with
25
votes
4answers
5k 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: $$\...
16
votes
2answers
4k views

Lorentz transformation of Gamma matrices $\gamma^{\mu}$

From my understanding, gamma matrices transforms under Lorentz transformation $\Lambda$ as \begin{equation} \gamma^{\mu} \rightarrow S[\Lambda]\gamma^{\mu}S[\Lambda]^{-1} = \Lambda^{\mu}_{\nu}\gamma^{\...
11
votes
3answers
2k views

Do gamma matrices form a basis?

Do the four gamma matrices form a basis for the set of matrices $GL(4,\mathbb{C})$? I was actually trying to evaluate a term like $\gamma^0 M^\dagger \gamma^0$ in a representation independent way, ...
11
votes
2answers
1k views

Why are usually 4x4 gamma matrices used? [duplicate]

As far as I understand gamma matrices are a representation of the Dirac algebra and there is a representation of the Lorentz group that can be expressed as $$S^{\mu \nu} = \frac{1}{4} \left[ \gamma^\...
9
votes
2answers
3k views

Can one show that ${\gamma^5}^\dagger = \gamma^5$ directly from the anticommutation relations?

Is it possible to show that ${\gamma^5}^\dagger = \gamma^5$, where $$ \gamma^5 := i\gamma^0 \gamma^1 \gamma^2 \gamma^3,$$ using only the anticommutation relations between the $\gamma$ matrices, $$ \...
9
votes
2answers
451 views

Can we make the Dirac representation a gauge theory?

I'm looking for comments and references about an idea : gauging the Dirac representation of the Dirac matrices. What kind of field interaction would it give ? Specifically, the Dirac equation is ...
8
votes
1answer
652 views

How to show that $\bar\psi\gamma^\mu\psi$ of a Dirac spinor $\psi$ transforms as a vector?

This is part 2 of exercise II.1.1 of Zee's QFT in a Nutshell (here's part 1). This is what I have got: \begin{align} \bar\psi\gamma^\lambda\psi \mapsto \bar\psi^{\,\prime}\gamma^\lambda\psi^{\,\...
8
votes
2answers
2k views

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

Why the lowest order of matrices in Dirac equation (Relativistic Quantums) are 4x4 matrices (and can not be 2x2 matrices)? How to prove it?
7
votes
4answers
13k views

Commutator of Dirac gamma matrices

Quick question...For some reason I'm having trouble finding an identity or discussion for the commutator of the gamma matrices at the moment...i.e $$\gamma^u\gamma^v-\gamma^v \gamma^u$$ but I am not ...
7
votes
2answers
2k views

Do Dirac Gamma Matrices act like Tensors?

Do Dirac Gamma Matrices act like Tensors? Is it true that $$ \gamma_\mu = \eta_{\mu\nu}\gamma^\nu~? $$ Also what about $\sigma_{\mu\nu}$, where $\sigma_{\mu\nu}$ is defined to be: \begin{align*} \...
7
votes
2answers
2k views

How to find a particular representation for the gamma matrices?

I asked this question as a subquestion in another thread, but got the answer below and thought it deserved a thread of its own. Two well-known representation of the gamma matrices are the Weyl and ...
7
votes
1answer
3k views

Parity on gamma matrices

I want to understand clearly why $ P \gamma^{\mu} P = \gamma^{\mu} $, where $ P $ is the parity operator. This result follow for example from pag. 66 of Peskin-Schroeder. The parity operator acts ...
6
votes
2answers
822 views

How does Schur's Lemma mean that the Dirac representation is reducible?

In chapter 3 of Peskin and Schroeder, when they're talking about "Dirac Matrices and Dirac Field Bilinears," they introduce $\gamma^{5}$ and give some properties of it. One of the properties is $[\...
6
votes
2answers
407 views

Zee's use of Kronecker Product in “QFT in a Nutshell” to represent Dirac matrices

In his book Quantum Theory in a Nutshell (2nd edition, p. 94), Zee describes the Dirac gamma matrices and lists a representation using Pauli matrices and the identity matrix. For example he writes $$ ...
6
votes
2answers
1k views

Hermitian adjoint of 4-gradient in Dirac equation

I'm having issues deriving the Dirac adjoint equation, $$\overline{\psi}(i\gamma^{\mu}\partial_{\mu}+m)=0.\tag{1}$$ I started by taking the Hermitian adjoint of all components of the original Dirac ...
6
votes
1answer
549 views

How to show that $\bar\psi\psi$ of a Dirac spinor $\psi$ transforms as a scalar?

I would like to show that for a Dirac spinor $\psi$, the scalar product $\bar\psi\psi$ transforms as a scalar under a Lorentz transformation $\Lambda$, where $\bar\psi = \psi^\dagger\gamma^0$. This is ...
6
votes
1answer
347 views

Simplifying a seemingly simple gamma matrix identity

When studying from the book by Wise and Manohar, Heavy Quark Physics (pg 102), I came across a seemingly simple identity that I am not able to prove. It's likely an easy problem but I can't for the ...
6
votes
1answer
763 views

Hermitian properties of Dirac operator

I am trying to understand the Hermiticity of the (massless) Dirac operator in both (flat) Minkowski space and Euclidean space. Let us define the Dirac operator as $D\!\!\!/=\gamma^\mu D_\mu$, where $...
6
votes
2answers
305 views

Diffeomorphisms and the Dirac action

I have a question concerning fermions in curved space-time. Please read it to the end before suggesting the spin-connection and vierbein-based approach. I heard that there is a special way of ...
5
votes
2answers
631 views

spinor vs vector indices of Dirac gamma matrices

I am struggling to understand the nature of the components of the Dirac matrices. If we view the four components of a Dirac spinor as $\psi^a$ with $a$ being a 'spinor' index, then if a gamma matrix ...
5
votes
2answers
644 views

Representation under which Pauli matrices transform

In Peskin and Schroeder's Quantum Field Theory, there is an identity of Pauli matrices which is connected to the Fierz identity, (equation 3.77) $$(\sigma^{\mu})_{\alpha\beta}(\sigma_\mu)_{\gamma\...
5
votes
2answers
434 views

Choice of Dirac gamma matrix representation and definition of adjoint spinor

Is the definition of the adjoint spinor $\bar{\psi}=\psi^\dagger \gamma^0$ forcing a particular choice of representation of the Dirac matrices (or a subset of the possible choices)? More precisely, I ...
5
votes
2answers
508 views

Weinberg QFT Chapter 5: gamma matrices consistency

Currently reading through Weinberg's QFT book (Vol. 1) [readable in parts here]. In his derivation of the causal Dirac field in Ch. 5, he chooses his gamma matrices as (5.4.17) \begin{align} \gamma^0&...
4
votes
3answers
397 views

Why do we need matrices in the Dirac equation?

Consider the following equation: \begin{equation} \nabla^2 - \frac{1}{c^2}\frac{\partial^2}{\partial t^2} = \left(A \partial_x + B \partial_y + C \partial_z + \frac{i}{c}D \partial_t\right)\left(A \...
4
votes
2answers
195 views

What is the relationship between the Lorentz group and the $CL(1,3)$ algebra?

In my classes the dirac equation is always presented as the "square root" of the Klein Gordon equation, then from this you can demand certain properties from the Matrices (anticommutation relations, ...
4
votes
3answers
113 views

Missing identity element in the Clifford relation

While studying the Dirac equation, $$\left(i\gamma^{\mu} \partial_{\mu} - m\right)\psi = 0.$$ I have been finding difficulty understanding the following summarisation of the algebra that the $\gamma$-...
4
votes
2answers
420 views

Has the relative sign in the Dirac equation any meaning?

I know there are many questions about this topic and also various answers, but it's never stated explicitly, why there is a certain sign before the mass term in the Dirac Lagrangian. I'm also confused,...
4
votes
1answer
410 views

What is the role of the spacetime algebra?

For Minkowski space $M^4=\mathbb{R}^{1,3}$ the Clifford algebra $Cl_{1,3}$ (Dirac algebra) with $\{\gamma^\mu, \gamma^\nu \}=2 g^{\mu \nu}$ is sometimes called "spacetime algebra". What is its ...
4
votes
1answer
289 views

Why do we need tetrads/vierbeins/frame-fields to describe fermions in curved space?

I'm learning about the frame formalism and read that to couple fermions to gravity you need to go to the frame-formalism. As a motivation to learn more about frame-fields would someone sketch me why ...
4
votes
1answer
603 views

Normalization of Dirac bispinors

Let $u_\lambda(\vec{k})$ and $v_\lambda (\vec{k})$ be solutions of the following equations $$(\not k-m)u_\lambda(\vec{k})=0$$ $$(\not k+m)v_\lambda(\vec{k})=0$$ Suppose that $u_\lambda(\vec{k})^\...
4
votes
1answer
231 views

Should the trace of a product of gamma matrices depend on the convention I use?

I am trying to work out $$\text{Tr}[\gamma_5\gamma_\mu\gamma_\nu\gamma_\alpha\gamma_\beta]$$ using the same convention as J.J. Sakurai (Advanced Quantum Mechanics), what I get is $$\text{Tr}[\gamma_5\...
4
votes
1answer
3k views

Deriving the Spinor Completeness Relation without using a Representation

Reference: DAMTP problem set 3, question 5 but ignore the spinor solutions given. To preface, this has taken up 1 entire day and a further 2 afternoons of work so I will just list the most promising ...
4
votes
1answer
337 views

Spinor indices manipulation in the Noether's current for free fermions

I can't solve this apparent paradox; I have the free lagrangian for massive fermions $\mathscr L = i\bar\Psi\gamma^\mu\partial_\mu\Psi - m\bar\Psi\Psi$ which is invariant under the global phase ...
4
votes
1answer
113 views

Some diracology in traces

Suppose I want to evaluate the trace $p_{\alpha} q_{\beta}\text{Tr}(\gamma^{\alpha} \gamma^0 \gamma^{\beta} \gamma^0)$. Using the standard trace formula for four gamma matrices I arrive at $$p_{\...
4
votes
1answer
377 views

The fifth gamma matrix and fermion fields

I am aware of the various relations with Dirac spinors and chirality but how does the fifth gamma matrix $\gamma^5$ behave with fermion fields, $\psi$? Does the fifth gamma matrix have any particular ...
4
votes
0answers
108 views

How many Killing spinors exist on $S^5$?

So, I know that on $S^n$, a spinor of the form $$ \Sigma^\pm = \frac{1 \pm i\gamma^\alpha z_\alpha}{\sqrt{1+z^2}}\Sigma_0$$ where $\Sigma_0$ is a constant spinor, is a Killing spinor on $S^n$ ...
3
votes
2answers
1k views

Construction of Pauli Matrices

How can we construct the Pauli matrices starting from $$\sigma_i=\begin{bmatrix} a & b\\ c& d \end{bmatrix}$$ by using the conditions $$\sigma^2_i=1,$$$$\left [ \sigma_x,\sigma_y \right ]=2i\...
3
votes
4answers
2k views

Proof of the Anti-Commutation Relation for Gamma Matrices from Dirac Equation

My textbook on QFT says that the Dirac equation can be used to show the following relation: $$\{\gamma^{\mu},\gamma^{\nu}\}=2g^{\mu\nu}$$ I have searched around and unable to find how to prove this ...
3
votes
2answers
2k views

Fierz identity with Weyl spinors

The following Fierz relation does not seem so obvious to me: \begin{equation} \bar{\psi}_1 \gamma^\mu (1+\gamma_5)\psi_2 \bar{\psi}_3 \gamma_\mu (1-\gamma_5) \psi_4 = -2 \bar{\psi}_1 (1-\gamma_5) \...
3
votes
1answer
122 views

Is $\displaystyle{\not} p$ a Lorentz Scalar?

I am a bit confused about something. $\gamma^\mu$ is a (Lorentz) vector (c.f. Pesking & Schroeder chapter 3), and so is $p^\mu$, therefore I’d expect their product $\displaystyle{\not}p \triangleq ...
3
votes
2answers
405 views

How to express $\gamma^{\mu} \gamma^{\nu}$ as a linear combination of {1, $\gamma^5, \gamma^{\mu}, \gamma^{u} \gamma^5, \sigma^{\mu \nu}$}?

** EDIT: I think I have completely missed the mark on asking my question. Here is another try. I do not understand what a linear combination means in this situation. My naive desire is to have an ...
3
votes
1answer
4k views

How can pseudospin be a vector? (Graphene)

In graphene science, I don't understand how one interprets pseudospin as a vector. I thought 'pseudospin' was the vector of Pauli matrices. So how can it be a vector that one can plot for example in ...
3
votes
1answer
992 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
487 views

Spinor representation and Lorentz transformation in Peskin &Schroeder

I am a newbie in group theory. In Peskin & Schroeder's QFT P.42 (3.29) it says that, since we have $$\Lambda_{\frac{1}{2}}^{-1}\gamma ^{\mu}\Lambda_{\frac{1}{2}}~=~\Lambda^{\mu}_{~~\nu }\gamma^{\...
3
votes
1answer
838 views

A more general completeness relation for Dirac spinors

Assume that we have two 1/2-spin particles with four-momenta $p$ and $p'$. Particle Dirac spinors satisfy the completeness relation $$ \sum_{s=1}^2u_s(p)\overline{u}_s(p)=\not p+m $$ My goal now is to ...
3
votes
2answers
403 views

Higher rank $\gamma$-matrix question

I read that the higher rank $\gamma$ matrices can be written as alternate commutators and anti-commutators. For example, the rank 3 gamma matrix can be written as $$\gamma^{123} = \frac{1}{2}\{\gamma^{...
3
votes
1answer
353 views

Motivation for spinors

After it was found that the gamma matrices couldn't be Pauli matrices and only had to be larger and even, why was their need to define a new algebraic object (i.e a Dirac spinor)? Why couldn't a ...
3
votes
1answer
289 views

Spin Operator in terms of Gamma-5

The QM spin operator can be expressed in terms of gamma matrices and I am trying to do an exercise where I prove an identity which uses $\gamma^5$ and ${\mathbf{\alpha}}$: $$\mathbf{S}=\frac{1}{2}\...
3
votes
1answer
1k views

Transformation between Weyl and Dirac representation of Gamma matrices

I want to find a similarity transformation $T$ between the Weyl representation and the Dirac representation of the gamma matrices: $\gamma_W^\mu=T \gamma_D^\mu T^{-1}$. It turns out that I can look at ...
3
votes
2answers
642 views

Dirac group representation

I am currently taking a representation theory class (from a physicist), and I am very confused about the Dirac groups' irreducible representations. First of all, all the Dirac matrices in the ...