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Questions tagged [spinors]

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Is there an elegant proof of the existence of Majorana spinors?

Almost all standard sources on the existence of Majorana spinors (e.g. Appendix B.1 to Polchinski's "String Theory", Vol. 2) do so in a way I consider inherently ugly: A priori, we are dealing with ...
25
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2answers
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What's the relationship between $SL(2,\mathbb{C})$, $SU(2)\times SU(2)$ and $SO(1,3)$?

I'm a beginner of QFT. Ref. 1 states that [...] The Lorentz group $SO(1,3)$ is then essentially $SU(2)\times SU(2)$. But how is it possible, because $SU(2)\times SU(2)$ is a compact Lie group ...
25
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4answers
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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: $$\...
25
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4answers
966 views

What precisely is a *classical* spin-1/2 particle?

I was recently having a Twitter conversation with a UC Riverside Prof. John Carlos Baez about Geometric Quantization, and he said (about his work) that "Right. For example, you can get the ...
25
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4answers
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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?
23
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2answers
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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 ...
22
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2answers
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Wick rotation and spinors

I am quite familiar with use of Wick rotations in QFT, but one thing annoys me: let's say we perform it for treating more conveniently (ie. making converge) a functional integral containing spinors; ...
21
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1answer
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What're the relations and differences between slave-fermion and slave-boson formalism?

As we know, in condensed matter theory, especially in dealing with strongly correlated systems, physicists have constructed various "peculiar" slave-fermion and slave-boson theories. For example, For ...
20
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2answers
264 views

Kerr Geometry, Separability and Twistors

One of the remarkable properties of the Kerr black hole geometry is that scalar field equations separate and are exactly solvable (reducible to quadrature), even though naively it does not have enough ...
19
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4answers
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What do the Pauli matrices mean?

All the introductions I've found to Pauli matrices so far simply state them and then start using them. Accompanying descriptions of their meaning seem frustratingly incomplete; I, at least, can't ...
19
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2answers
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Dirac, Weyl and Majorana Spinors

To get to the point - what's the defining differences between them? Alas, my current understanding of a spinor is limited. All I know is that they are used to describe fermions (?), but I'm not sure ...
19
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2answers
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Dirac spinors under Parity transformation or what do the Weyl spinors in a Dirac spinor really stand for?

My problem is understanding the transformation behaviour of a Dirac spinor (in the Weyl basis) under parity transformations. The standard textbook answer is $$\Psi^P = \gamma_0 \Psi = \begin{...
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5answers
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Are fermions intrinsically non-local?

Background: When one studies quantum mechanics of more than one particle, one learns that all fundamental particles can be classified as either bosonic or fermionic. Fermions have a spinor structure, ...
16
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2answers
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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^{\...
16
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1answer
852 views

Chirality, helicity and the weak interaction

From what I'm understanding about Dirac spinors, using the Weyl basis for the $\gamma$ matrices the first two components behave as a left handed Weyl spinor, while the third and the fourth form a ...
15
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2answers
509 views

Why does spin appear in quantum systems but not classical systems?

It is often claimed that spin is a purely quantum property with no classical analogue. However (as was very recently pointed out to me), there is a classical analogue to spin whose action is given (in ...
15
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2answers
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Interpretation of Dirac Spinor components in Chiral Representation?

I failed to find any book or pdf that explains clearly how we can interpret the different components of a Dirac spinor in the chiral representation and I'm starting to get somewhat desperate. This is ...
14
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1answer
853 views

Could this model have soliton solutions?

We consider a theory described by the Lagrangian, $$\mathcal{L}=i\bar{\Psi}\gamma^\mu\partial_\mu\Psi-m\bar{\Psi}\Psi+\frac{1}{2}g(\bar{\Psi}\Psi)^2$$ The corresponding field equations are, $$(i\...
14
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6answers
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Does spin have anything to do with a rate of change?

The orbital angular momentum of a particle can be related to the revolution of that particle about some external axis. But in quantum mechanics, the spin angular momentum of a particle can't really ...
13
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2answers
649 views

Can a spinor be defined as any quantity which transforms linearly under Lorentz transformations?

Recently I’ve come across a few papers from China (e.g. Xiang-Yao Wu et al., arXiv:1212.4028v1 14 Dec 2012) that make the following statement: ...any quantity which transforms linearly under ...
12
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2answers
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If the mass of neutrino is not zero, why we cannot find right-handed neutrinos and left-handed anti-neutrinos?

I am learning P&S's Introduction of quantum field theory. My teacher said that if the mass of neutrino is exactly 0, then we should not observe any right-handed neutrinos and left-handed anti-...
12
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1answer
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Making sense of the canonical anti-commutation relations for Dirac spinors

When doing scalar QFT one typically imposes the famous 'canonical commutation relations' on the field and canonical momentum: $$[\phi(\vec x),\pi(\vec y)]=i\delta^3 (\vec x-\vec y)$$ at equal times ($...
12
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1answer
650 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 ...
11
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2answers
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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} = \frac{i}{4}[\...
11
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4answers
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Covariant derivative for spinor fields

scalars (spin-0) derivatives is expressed as: $$\nabla_{i} \phi = \frac{\partial \phi}{ \partial x_{i}}.$$ vector (spin-1) derivatives are expressed as: $$\nabla_{i} V^{k} = \frac{\partial V^{k}}{ \...
11
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4answers
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What do the four components of Dirac Spinors represent in the Standard Model?

I've been trying to get my head around the formalisms used in the Standard Model. From what i've gathered Dirac Spinors are 4 component objects designed to be operated on by Lorentz Transformations ...
11
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1answer
354 views

Is it possible to define off-shell spinors?

For the sake of concreteness, let us consider the Dirac spinor $u_s(\boldsymbol p)$. Is it possible to covariantly extend this to a function $u_s(p)$, such that it matches $u_s(\boldsymbol p)$ on the ...
10
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4answers
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Why does spin arise in non-relativistic quantum mechanics?

In my study of quantum mechanics thus far, I have not yet encountered the Dirac equation, but to the best of my knowledge, the Dirac equation is the first place where you can show mathematically that ...
10
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2answers
745 views

Lorentz transformations for spinors

The lorentz transform for spinors is not unitary, that is $S(\Lambda)^{\dagger}\neq S(\Lambda)^{-1}$. I understand that this is because it is impossible to choose a representation of the Clifford ...
10
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3answers
4k views

Is there a reason why the spin of particles is integer or half integer instead of, say, even and odd?

It seems to me that we could change all the current spin values of particles by multiplying them by two. Then we could describe Bosons as even spin particles and Fermions as odd spin particles. Is ...
10
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2answers
581 views

Why do lattice models of fermions need a spin structure?

It is well-known that in order to define a relavistic quantum-field theory containing fermions on a general manifold $M$, the manifold $M$ needs to be equipped with a spin structure. The spin ...
10
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1answer
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What is a spinor? [closed]

In a youtube video, sir Michael Atiyah mentioned that even after working during the most of his life on spinors, he doesn't know what a spinor is. Now surely that was part of his humorous introduction ...
9
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3answers
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Dirac spinor and Weyl spinor

How can it be shown that the Dirac spinor is the direct sum of a right-handed Weyl spinor and a left-handed Weyl spinor? EDIT: - Let $\psi_L$ and $\psi_R$ be 2 component left-handed and right-handed ...
9
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1answer
246 views

How does canonical quantization work with Grassmann variables?

Every quantum field theory textbook I've encountered seems to have the same logical oversight, because of the particular order they cover topics. First, the books introduce the Dirac Lagrangian, $$\...
9
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1answer
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Is the Dirac equation equivalent to the Klein-Gordon equation for its left handed component?

The Dirac equation $$(i\gamma^a\partial_a - m)\psi=0\tag{0}$$ is given by a first order operator acting on a Dirac spinor, which is the direct sum of a left handed spinor and a right handed spinor. ...
9
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2answers
278 views

If $v_{a \dot{b}}$ transforms like a four-vector, what does $v_{a}^{\dot{b}}$ describe?

The $( \frac{1}{2}, 0)$ representation of the Lorentz group acts on left-chiral spinors $\chi_a$, the $( 0,\frac{1}{2} )$ representation on right-chiral spinors $\chi^{\dot a}$. The $( \frac{1}{2}, \...
8
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3answers
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Is there any relationship between gauge field and spin connection?

For a spinor on curved spacetime, $D_\mu$ is the covariant derivative for fermionic fields is $$D_\mu = \partial_\mu - \frac{i}{4} \omega_{\mu}^{ab} \sigma_{ab}$$ where $\omega_\mu^{ab}$ are the spin ...
8
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2answers
326 views

Are there projective representations of the Lorentz Group NOT coming from a Clifford algebra?

Let $\mathrm{SO}(1,d-1)_{+}$ be the restricted Lorentz Group in $d$ dimensions. Are there projective irreducible representations of this group that do not descend from a representation of $\mathrm{C}\...
8
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1answer
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The correspondence between Grassmann number and 4-spinor

In canonical quantization, we view the Dirac field $\psi$ as a $4\times1$ matrix of complex number. While in path integral quantization, we view the Dirac field $\psi$ as a Grassmann number. For two ...
8
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1answer
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A question on the transformation law of the spin connection

The covariant derivative may be defined as: $$\nabla_{a}=e_{a}^{~\mu}(x)\partial_{\mu}+\frac{1}{2}e_{a}^{~\mu}(x)\omega_{\mu bc}(x)M^{bc}\tag{1}$$ where $e_{a}^{~\mu}(x)$ is the vielbein, $\omega_{\...
8
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2answers
435 views

Is a spinor in some sense connected to space?

Spinors transform under the representation of $SL(2,\mathbb{C})$ which is the double cover of the Lorentz group $SO(1,3)$ - or in the non-relativistic case under $SU(2)$, the double cover of $SO(3)$. ...
8
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1answer
749 views

2 Component Spinor Formalism

In Chapters 34-36 of the Srednicki QFT book, 2 component spinors and their combinations in Dirac and Majorana spinors are carefully constructed. Specifically, in equations 36.14 and 36.15 the ...
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3answers
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Difference between spinor and vector field [duplicate]

How do we distinguish spinors and vector fields? I want to know it in terms of physics with mathematical argument.
7
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1answer
870 views

Does the concept of both helicity and chirality make sense for a massive Dirac spinor?

Does the concept of both helicity and chirality make sense for a massive Dirac spinor? A massive electron in the chiral basis is written as a column made up of $\psi_L$ and $\psi_R$. What is the ...
7
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1answer
317 views

What are Killing spinors?

What are Killing spinors? How can they be motivated? Are they directly related to Killing vectors and Killing tensors and is there an overarching motivation for all three objects? Any answer is ...
7
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1answer
209 views

Why complexify in order to construct Dirac representation?

Suppose we have a theory is covariant under the Spin group Spin(2n-1; 1). We consider the real vector space $V = R^{2n-1,1}$, which naturally comes with a Lorentzian inner product. On this vector ...
7
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1answer
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Antiparticles, charge conjugation and chirality

(Why/how) are antiparticles and charge-conjugates different things? I am trying to understand the effect of discrete symmetries on spinor fields (neutrinos in particular). In the article, Dirac, ...
7
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3answers
220 views

Are terms with spinors analogous to $ ( \partial_\mu \Phi )(\partial^\mu \Phi)$ forbidden in the Lagrangian?

For scalar particles, the Lagrangian involves terms of the form $ ( \partial_\mu \Phi )(\partial^\mu \Phi)$, which is equivalent through integration by parts to $ ( \partial_\mu \partial^\mu \Phi )\...
7
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2answers
395 views

Definition of a spinor and applications to GR

I understand the construction of the Clifford algebra $C(r,s)$ and in turn the corresponding $Pin$ and $Spin$ groups. I would like first to clarify that $Spin(r,s)^e$ is the universal covering group (...
7
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2answers
865 views

What is the point of path integral for boson and fermion?

I am a beginner to study QFT and confused about path integral for boson or fermion. I have read about the path integral for single particle, and finished some problems. But I cannot understand the ...