A first-order equation for spin in a manifestly relativistically covariant quantum theory

A. Arensburg, L. P. Horwitz

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Relativistic quantum mechanics has been formulated as a theory of the evolution of events in spacetime; the wave functions are square-integrable functions on the four-dimensional spacetime, parametrized by a universal invariant world time τ. The representation of states with spin is induced with a little group that is the subgroup of O (3, 1) leaving invariant a timelike vector nμ; a positive definite invariant scalar product, for which matrix elements of tensor operators are covariant, emerges from this construction. In a previous study a second-order equation was introduced similar to the second-order Dirac equation, based on a quadratic function of two operators which are the self-adjoint parts, in this new scalar product, of γμpμ. It is shown in this paper that one of these operators, in fact the one from which the gyromagnetic moment is obtained, can be used to construct a first-order equation. The corresponding quantum theory is somewhat analogous to Dirac's spinor form; the Hamilton equations appear to describe dynamical degrees of freedom in a spacelike hyperplane orthogonal to nμ (in Dirac's theory the motion appears to be lightlike). It is shown that the integration over nμ required by unitarity results in timelike motion (as in the expectation value of Dirac's α). Explicit forms are obtained for the wave functions and currents for free motion. The general form of the theory is written for the (five-dimensional) pre-Maxwell fields required by gauge invariance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1025-1039
Number of pages15
JournalFoundations of Physics
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 1992
Externally publishedYes


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