# Questions tagged [helicity]

In particle physics, helicity is the projection of the angular momentum onto the direction of momentum. For massless spin-1⁄2 particles, helicity is equivalent to the chirality operator multiplied by $\hbar/2$, so may be used for related chirality questions as well.

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### Helicity under rotation

Suppose that the state $|p,\sigma\rangle$ (for a massless particle) has 3 momentum ${\bf p}=p_3$ (that is the momentum is in the $z$ direction) and that $J_3|p,\sigma\rangle=\sigma|p,\sigma\rangle$ ...
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### Why helicity for massless particles is Lorentz invariant?

By definition helicity is projection of spin onto the 3 momentum. $$h={\bf J} \cdot {\mathbf{P }}$$ where ${\mathbf{P }}=(P_1,P_2,P_3)$ is the momentum operator and ${\mathbf{J }}=(J_1,J_2,J_3)$ ...
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### Photon carries spin angular momentum of $\hbar$

I know from numerous articles and also wiki (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spin_angular_momentum_of_light) that a photon carries spin angular momentum of $\hbar$. How to prove it mathematically? What ...
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### Viscous losses in loop helical flow

Imagine flow of the following kind. The flow line for each flow particle is a helix with its axis bent so that the beginning attaches to the end. How can I determine the viscous losses in this flow ...
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### Why does photon have only two possible eigenvalues of helicity? [duplicate]

Photon is a spin-1 particle. Were it massive, its spin projected along some direction would be either 1, -1, or 0. But photons can only be in an eigenstate of $S_z$ with eigenvalue $\pm 1$ (z as the ...
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### Why does the renormalizable theory have only those particles with helicity less than or equal to 1?

Let the helicity operator be $\frac{P \cdot J}{P^0}$ with an eigenvalue $\lambda$. Then why do renormalizable theories have $|\lambda| \le 1?$ (in general dimensions or in 4ds?) Also, what is the ...
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### Parke-Taylor formula in the $n=4$ simple case

I am trying to do ex. 2.23 of http://arxiv.org/abs/1308.1697. I have chosen as reference spinors $q_1,q_2 = p_3$ and $q_3,q_4 = p_1$. Therefore if I compute $A^4[1^- 2^- 3^+ 4^+]$ the computation ...
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### How do the vector and scalar potentials transform under electromagnetic duality trnasfotmation?

Maxwell equations are invariant under the duality transformation. The electric and magnetic fields are defined in terms of these potentials. How do these potentials transform under duality?
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### Spin-helicity formalism for gluon-gluon amplitudes

In Schwarz's QFT he introduces in chapter 27 the Spin-Helicity formalism as a way of calculating gluon-gluon interactions much easier than going through all the Feynman calculus from the beginning to ...
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### Four-brackets (Hodges, Momentum Twistors)

I use the reference from Andrew Hodges, available at https://arxiv.org/abs/0905.1473. I am having trouble understanding his use of the four-bracket. I refer to equation 6 and equation 9, where he ...
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### What is a linear polarized photon?

According to Dirac a 'linear' polarized photon is a superposition of left and right rotating photons. Here is a puzzling aspect of this superposition. There are dichroic materials which can absorb ...
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The background: I am looking at Compton scattering in its most general form with $p+\gamma^*\rightarrow p'+\gamma'^*$ in the Breit-frame (which implies that in my case $\vec{p} = -\vec{p}'$). The ...
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### How to determine the squared average amplitude for $\nu_e(p_1)+d(p_2)\rightarrow e^-(p_3)+u(p_4)$?

I have the following charged current interaction, at quark level, by the process: $$\nu_e(p_1)+d(p_2)\rightarrow e^-(p_3)+u(p_4)$$ By assuming that the energy is such that I can neglect the lepton and ...
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### Photons have Spin 1 - Franz Gross' Relativistic Quantum mechanics and Field Theory

I've got a question regarding the derivation of spin 1 for photons in Franz Gross' Relativistic Quantum Mechanics and Field Theory. From pages 50 to 56 he attempts to derive "how this [spin 1] comes ...
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### Can spherical harmonics be used in relativity equations?

I have a neutral pion of mass $m_{\pi}$, and it decays into two photons. In it's reference frame the decay is isotropic. One of the photons has a helicity of $+\hbar$ and the other $-\hbar$. In ...
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### Helicity is invariant under boosts along $\hat{p}$?

In this source (In Introduction, p. 1) we find the claim that the helicity operator $h=\vec{S}\cdot\hat{p}$ is invariant under rotations and boosts. I agree that is is clearly invariant under ...
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### Is there a standard convention for whether the term “handedness” refers to helicity or chirality?

I was under the impression that the "handedness" of a massive spin-1/2 particle refers to its chirality rather than its helicity. This answer, this one and Srednicki's QFT textbook seem to use the ...
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### How can neutrinos have both mass and helicity?

If a neutrino has mass it must travel at less than the speed of light. So how can it possess helicity, which can change depending on relative velocity?
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### Helicity: massive vs massless particles

Usually massive particles can be described as eigenstates $|p,\lambda\rangle$ of the angular $J^3$ operator, while massless particles are eigenstates $|p (m=0),\lambda\rangle$ of the helicity operator ...
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### Helicity in Graphene

In Graphene, there are two independent points, the Dirac points, where the conduction and the valence band touch. Let's call these points $K_+$ and $K_-$. In a low-energy description, the Hamiltonians ...
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### Mathematical proof on helicity of a massive fermion is not Lorentz invariant

What is the mathematical proof that the helicity of a massive spin-$1/2$ fermion is not Lorentz invariant? Something is Lorentz invariant (e.g., $P_\mu P^\mu$) if it commutes with all the generators ...
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### Spinor helicity formalism - original reference?

The spinor helicity formalism is a modern technique widely used in scattering amplitude calculations nowadays. However, it is hard to find a reference for who first came up with the formalism. Maybe ...
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### Neutrino helicity

Neutrinos are produced in beta decays with a given helicity. My question is wether this helicity is a constant of this movement or is it variable?
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### Spinor helicity relation with photon emission

Consider an electron emitting a single photon. There is exactly one gamma matrix (corresponding to the photon vertex) between the outgoing spinor $\bar{u}$ and incoming spinor $u$. This implies that ...
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### Why are antiparticles associated with spin-flipped spinors?

In section 2.2 of Elvang and Huang's Scattering Amplitudes in Gauge Theory and Gravity (http://arXiv.org/abs/1308.1697), beneath equation (2.9), it is mentioned that $u^{\pm}=v^{\mp}$, where $u^\pm$ ...
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### What is polarisation, spin, helicity, chirality and parity?

Polarisation, spin, helicity, chirality and parity keep confusing me. They seem to be related, but exactly how they are related is unclear to me. Can someone maybe give a short overview about what ...
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### Spin vs Helicity conservation

I am a bit confused about spin conservation at relativistic energies. I am reading a QFT book by Peskin and at a point he specifies that "In the nonrelativistic limit the total spin of the system is ...
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### Why if 2 operators commute they have a common set of eigenvectors and what's the relation to 2 fold degeneracy?

I have the following sentence in my lecture notes "Dirac hamiltonian and helicity have a common set of eigenvectors, this is also the reason for the two fold degeneracy found for every energy ...
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### Is a (Dirac) Particle Where $\vec{p} = (p^1,0,0)$ in an Eigenstate of Helicity? [closed]

Is a particle where $\vec{p} = (p^1,0,0)$ an eigenstate of the helicity operator? First, can I determine this without doing the math? Second, I also wanna prove it mathematically but doing the math ...
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### What is the helicity of a particle at rest?

Given the definition of helicity as $\lambda = \vec{p} \cdot \vec{J}$ up to normalization, does it even make sense to define helicity for a particle at rest (i.e. $\vec{p} = 0$)? If it doesn't make ...
(1) In the canonical quantization of the free electromagnetic field, the Coulomb gauge condition $$A^0=0,~~ \nabla\cdot\textbf{A}=0\tag{1}$$ implies that the polarization vector $\epsilon^\mu$ ...