,I

J

THEORETICAL PHYSICS

A Series of Monographs

Edited by ASIM O. BARUT

DEPARTMENT OF PHYSICS UNIVERSITY OF COLORADO BOULDER, COLORADO

VOLUME I: Symmetry 'Principles in Quantum Physics, L. Fonda Il1Id G. C. Ghirardi

OTHER VOLUMES IN PREPARATION

Symmetry Principles in Quantum Physics

L. FONDA AND G. C. GHIRARDI

INSTITUTE OF THEORETICAL PHYSICS UNIVERSITY OF TRIESTE

TRIESTE, ITA~Y

MARCEL DEKKER, INC. New York 1970

To our parents

LUCIA, MARCELLO and DINA, ALDO

COPYRIGHT © 1970 by MARCEL DEKKER, INC.

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

No part of this work may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, microfilming, and recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher.

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PRINTED IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

Preface

Symmetry considerations have acquired a very prominent role in science. It is absolutely necessary for the young physicist to become familiar with symmetry arguments and their applications to physical problems. Even if excellent textbooks exist in which the symmetry principles are discussed and applied to particular classes of physical phenomena (typical examples being the various monographs on SD(3) symmetry for elementary particles), it semeed to us that a book by which the reader can acquire a good basis for the understanding of the symmetry problem under all the multiform aspects by which it manifests itself in modern quantum physics was still missing. We have tried here to fill this gap.

The subject has been organized in the following way. Chapter 1 is devoted to a general introduction to the concept of symmetry and its far-reaching consequences. Chapter 2 deals with symmetry properties of nonrelativistic quantum mechanics. Besides the rototranslations in three-dimensional euclidean space, we discuss in detail the special Galilei transformation, and the space and time reflections. Finally, the symmetry arising from the identity of particles is discussed. The main consequences of the considered symmetry principles are derived, and the most relevant applications are discussed in detail. These first two chapters are elementary and can be used to give an introduction to the symmetry problems to undergraduate students. The reader is supposed to have only a good knowledge of ordinary quantum mechanics. Some knowledge of group theory may also be useful, but it is not essential for the understanding of this part.

The remaining part of the book requires a knowledge of the principles and methods of group theory. To make the book as self-consistent as possible to the reader, we have given in Chapter 3 a concise survey of

v

vi

PREFACE

the main concepts and theorems of group theory which are relevant for physical applications. Various groups which are interesting for physics, like SU(2), SU(3), and Lorentz, are specifically considered and discussed. This chapter will certainly prove to be useful for the student who has already some familiarity with group theory. To those unfamiliar with this subject we suggest a preliminary reading of one of the general textbooks quoted in Chapter 3.

Chapter 4 is devoted to the study of internal symmetries in ordinary quantum mechanics. After a discussion of the 0(4) and SU(3) symmetries of the hydrogen atom and of the harmonic oscillator, the chapter is devoted to the study of symmetries relevant for nuclear physics. In particular a detailed discussion is given of the formalism of the isotopic spin and of the related SU(2) symmetry, together with a derivation of its most important consequences. The nucleon-nucleon potential and scattering matrix are also discussed.

Chapter 5 is devoted to the discussion of relativistic symmetries, i.e., those connected with the transformations of the Poincare group. The unitary irreducible representations of this group are derived in great detail. The relativistic equations are then obtained by performing functional transformations of the Foldy- Wouthuysen type for all interesting cases. The extended Lorentz group is also discussed in great detail.

Chapter 6 deals with the symmetries of quantum field theory. Great attention is paid to the internal symmetry transformations, gauge transformation of the second kind, Yang-Mills fields, and so on. The final part of the chapter is devoted to the proof of some basic theorems as the connection between spin and statistics, the CPT theorem and the Goldstone theorem. To properly understand this chapter the reader is supposed to have a knowledge of quantum field theory, even though we have tried to recall all relevant concepts where necessary.

Finally, Chapter 7 is devoted to the discussion of internal symmetries in elementary particle physics. After the extension of the isospin to all hadrons, we discuss thoroughly the unitary symmetry models introduced in order to explain the mass spectrum of mesons, baryons, and corresponding resonances. Great emphasis is of course given to the octet SU(3) scheme. We finish the book with the quark model. Since the existence of these particles is still an open problem, we have limited ourselves to the discussion of the basic concepts. The symmetry models, like SU(6), SU(3) ® SU(3), etc., which appeared after the SU(3) scheme, have not been considered since their reliability is still questionable.

As far as the bibliography is concerned, we point out that we have quoted only historical contributions, general textbooks, and those

PREFACE

Vll

specialized papers whose treatment of a particular topic has been followed in the book. We apologize for not having mentioned many other important contributions.

We would like to acknowledge discussions with many friends and colleagues both at the University of Trieste and at the International Center for Theoretical Physics, in particular with Giorgio Calucci and Christian Fronsdal. We are also grateful to Miss Nidia Cremon for her excellent typing, to Mr Sergio Stabile for his skillful execution of the figures, and to Dr. AIdo Boiti for help in checking the proofs.

Trieste, Italy March 1970

L. FONDA G. C. GHIRARDI

Notation

The notation is always explained at the point of first appearance in the text. These brief remarks are designed for those readers who may wish to use the book only for consultation.

Whenever Lorentz covariant notation is used, the metric is

goo = -gll = -g22 = -gS3 = 1,

gu. = 0,

I'- =1= II.

In that case we define

XU == (.0', x) == (t, x),

a

au == -a ' x"

In Sections 3.6 and 3.10 and in Chapters 5, 6, and 7 we have used natural units

n=c= 1.

For what concerns the Hilbert space we have almost exclusively used the standard notation. Greek letters .p, cp, X denote vectors of the Hilbert space; .jI, tf., X denote the corresponding unit fays. The scalar product is usually denoted by (.p, cp), and it is assumed to be linear in the second factor:

(.p, (.Up) = a(.p,q,).

The eigenvector of an operator a belonging to the eigenvalue an has ix

x

NOTATION

been denoted by j"ft or 'P.ft . In particular we always use Ir for position eigenvectors and 'P. for momentum eigenvectors.

Sometimes, expecially when we have to specify a state containing particles of different type, we have made use for simplicity of the Dirac bras and kets, so that expressions like 117+17°) or 1 Pl7+) occur. In some cases the same notation is used for vectors such as if; or 4>, so that

We use the following symbols as superscripts: * means complex conjugation of a c number; T means transposition of a matrix; t means hermitian conjugation of a matrix or of the corresponding operator. Square brackets and curly brackets denote commutation and anticommutation, respectively, for the considered operators:

[A,B] = AB -BA, {A, B} = AB + BA.

I __ L

Contents

Preface

v

Notation

ix

Chapter I General Considerations on the Symmetry Problem

1.1 The Concept of Symmetry

1.2 General Formalism of Quantum Theories 4

1.3 Different Descriptions of a Quantum Mechanical System II

1.4 Time Translations and Equations of Motion 23

1.5 Relations Between Various Quantities of Different Observers 28

1.6 Symmetry Principles in the Passive Point of View 30

1.7 Active Points of View 36

1.8 On the Equivalence of Reference Frames 47

1.9 Different Descriptions of a Quantum System in the Heisenberg Picture 51

1.10 Invariance and Group Theoretic Considerations 53

Appendix 1 a. Proof of Equation (1. 70) 56

Appendix I b. Proof of Equation (1.73) 57

Appendix Ic. Noninvarianee of the Maxwell Equations under Special Ga1ilei

Transformations 58

References to Chapter 1 60

Chapter 2 Geometrical Symmetries in Ordinary Quantum Mechanics

62

2.1 Introduction

2.2 Transformation Laws of Coordinates and Momenta in Nonrelativistic Classical Mechanics

2.3 Space Translations 2.4 . Space Rotations

62

63 65 70

xi

xii

CONTENTS

2.S Special Galilei Transformations 2.6 Space Reflection

2.7 Time Reversal

2.8 The Galilei Group

2.9 Permutations of Like Particles

Appendis; 2a. Spherical Harmonics Appendix 2b. Vector-Addition Coefficients

Appendix 2c. Relative Coordinates for a Generic System of Particles

References to Chapter 2

Chapter 3 A Survey of Group Theory

3.1 Introduction

3.2 General Notions on Groups 3.3 Lie Groups and Lie Algebras

3.4 The Exponential Form of the Representations 3.5 Casimir Operators

3.6 Some Specific Examples of Groups and Their Properties 3.7 Classification of Semisimple Compact Lie Groups

3.8 Construction of the Representations of Simple Lie Groups 3.9 Direct Product of Representations and Their Reduction

3.10 The Finite Dimensional Irreducible Representations of the Restricted Homogeneous Lorentz Group

References to Chapter 3

Chapter 4 Internal Symmetries in Ordinary Quantum Mechanics 221

'; 4.1 Introduction

4.2 Dynamical Groups in Nonrelativistic Quantum Mechanics 4.3 Isospin Formalism in Nuclear Physics

4.4 Applications of SU(2) Invariance in Nuclear Physics

4.5 Consideration of Other Internal Symmetry Groups in Nuclear Physics

4.6 Construction of the Nucleon-Nucleon Potential and Scattering Matrix from Invariance Requirements

4.7 The Isotopic Spin of Pions

References to Chapter 4

Chapter 5 Poincare Group and Relativistic Equations

5.1 General Considerations 268

5.2 The Lorentz Group 270

5.3 The Unitary Irreducible Representations of the Restricted Poincare Group 273

5.4 Transformation Properties of the Wave Functions for Elementary Physical

Systems 298

83 89 104 123 129

139 141 143

147

149

149 149 156 161 163 164 180 193 202

215 219

221 221 233 243 250

254 262

266

268

CONTENTS

xiii

5.5 Relativistic Equations of Motion in Momentum and Configuration Space 303 5.6 Definition of Position Operator and Localized States 306 5.7 Construction of Manifestly Covariant Wave Functions and Equations:

Massive Particles 309

5.8 Construction of Manifestly Covariant Wave Functions and Equations:

Massless Particles 321

5.9 The Representations of the Extended Lorentz Group 332

Appendix 5a. Synthesis of the Majorana Equation 358

References to Chapter 5 360

Chapter6 Symmetries in Quantum Field Theory

362

6.1 Introduction

6.2 The Formalism of Quantum Field Theory 6.3 The Free Fields as an Example

6.4 Explicit Examples of Internal Symmetries

6.5 Improper Lorentz Transformations: Space Reflection and Time Reversal 6.6 Particle-Antiparticle Conjugation

6.7 Interactions

6.8 Gauge Transformations of the Second Kind 6.9 The Connection Between Spin and Statistics 6.1 0 The CPT Theorem

6.11 Crossing Symmetry

6.12 Spontaneous Breakdown of Symmetry: The Goldstone Theorem

Appendix 6a. Proof of Equation (6.267)

362 364 374 387 395 399 409 421 429 437 443 444

449 451

References to Chapter 6

Chapter 7 Unitary Symmetries

454

7.1 Introduction

7.2 The Cell-Mann and Nishijima Scheme

7.3 Candidate Symmetries for Hypercharge Independence 7.4 Consequences of the Eightfold Way

7.5 The Quark Model

454 458 468 483 499

503

References to Chapter 7

Author Index Subject Index

505 508

Symmetry Principles in Quantum Physics

CHAPTER 1

General Considerations

on the Symmetry Problem

1.1 The Concept of Symmetry

The word aVjl-jl-ETpUX was in Greek times synonymous with something well proportioned, well balaIl,£$8 and was therefore related to the ancient concept of beaufY. Lal:~r;' it also acquired another, more restricted, meaning, which is just the one that is very important in science: A figure or structure is said to possess a symmetry under a mapping of space upon itself if it is carried into itself by that mapping-that is, it is invariant

under that mapping. ',. '. I) c-

A mapping is defined ~1ien'ever a correspondence is established that . associates with every point an image point in space. Examples of mappings are rotations around an axis, JiHi-ror reflection with respect to a plane, translations along a given direction. A snow crystal possesses the symmetry for rotations of multiples of 60°. The human body is a fairly good example of symmetry under reflection with respect to the longitudinal plane, which is called the symmetry plane, This type of symmetry, which is also called bilateral symmetry or symmetry between the left and the right, is, for obvious reasons, as old as human civilization. A sequence of columns of the same order disposed at regular intervals is an example of symmetry under translations of multiples of the basic

.separating interval. .

Let us now see what role the symmetry concept plays in physics. We note, first of all, that the body of our knowledge of the world is sharply divided into two categories: the state of the world around us (initial conditions) and the laws of nature. If the world were really symmetric with respect to a given mapping, there would be no way of discovering this fact, since it would be impossible to distinguish a point of space

1

2

GENERAL CONSIDERATIONS ON THE SYMMETRY PROBLEM

1.1 The Concept of Symmetry

3

from its image. It is therefore just the fact that the state of the world around us possesses no symmetry that enables us to define this very concept. On the other hand, the fact that certain processes in nature exhibit a common symmetry leads us to guess that that symmetry is possessed by the laws of nature which those processes are subject to. In this case, the law of nature, expressed in the form of an equation of motion, is then invariant under the transformation for which the considered processes show symmetry. Symmetry and invariance are therefore synonyms in physics, the former concept relating more to the intrinsic structure of nature, the latter to the mathematical form of the equations of motion.

If the processes in question are different in nature, this shows that a symmetry can be shared by different laws of nature. Just as the laws of nature give correlations between events, so do the symmetry principles between the laws of nature. Of course, if all laws of nature were exactly known, an infinitely 9-e-ver physicist would be able to solve the equations of motion, finding all solutions and inherent properties and among them also their symmetries. It is for this reason that the discovery of a symmetry principle is particularly important when the laws of nature are not yet established. In fact, the knowledge of an invariance property for a certain physical process greatly restricts the class of the possible laws governing that process and, consequently, may serve as a guide in discdvering the true laws. This is just the situation we are confronted with in the microscopic world-i.e., in elementary-particle physics-and this is why symmetry considerations, being so fruitful in giving physical information, playa key role in our present-day thinking.

We want to emphasize, however, that a symmetry principle does not become obsolete once the law of nature is discovered, as one might gather from the foregoing. In fact, it may very well be that it is humanly impossible to solve the obtained equations of motion, which is just what happens for our present-day quantum field theory. Symmetry considerations are useful then in finding conserved quantities and therefore in classifying the possible solutions of the physical problem excluding the occurrence of certain families of them (selection rules). Other times they are only able to give relations between transition probabilities for different physical processes (e.g., invariance under time reversal). At other times they can even be useful as mathematical tools for solving the equations of motion.

How do we discover a symmetry principle? The methods are essentially two. For example, suppose we want to check whether the invariance under space translations is established in nature. The first method consists in comparing the equations of motion obtained for the

physical system S by the observer 0 in his frame .of reference with the equations of motion obtained for the same physI~al system. S by the observer (j whose frame of reference is translated m space With respect to that of 0. If the equations of motion turn out to be identical, then we have discovered a translational symmetry in nature. The second method consists in the simultaneous realization of identical initial conditions f~ two physical systems, Sand S in two coordinate system~ ° and 0, respectively, and in the observation of the further evolution of these systems as viewed by their corresp?nding observers: If the s~m~etry in the initial conditions is preserved in the course of time-s-that IS, If the evolved system S is obtained at any time from the. e:?lved system S by translation through the same distance vector that initially separated the systems-we say that we have discovered a transl~tiona~ symm.etry in nature. The first method is also known as the passive point of VIew; the second is referred to as the active point of view. The same kind of reasoning applied to the case in which a repetition of an experiment is performed at the same place, leads to the concept of invariance of .the laws of nature under time translations. The statement that absolute tune and position are never essential initial conditions is the first and ~ost important theorem of invariance in physics ', It leads, among other thmgs, to conservation of total energy and total linear momentum.

As we shall see in Sections 1.6 and 1.7, the two methods considered above of discovering a symmetry principle amou~t in. p:-actice ~o v~rifying a conservation law or a selection rule. Theu. vah~Ity or VIOlatIOn leads in fact automatically to invariance or nonmvanance of nature under the considered transformation.

There exists at present experimental support, within experime.ntal errors that in nature at least the symmetry under the transformations of th~ restricted inhomogeneous Lorentz group is establishe~. This result is very important. In fact, it would have been ha~dly P?ssIbl.e for men to discover any kind of law or regularity in nature If the mvanance under the transformations of the restricted inhomogeneous Lorentz group were not established with great precisio~. This is even mor~ true for probabilistic theories like quantum mechamcs,. where an exp~nment must be repeated several times in order to establish a probability ~aw. The invariance of the laws of nature under these transformatioos

therefore, to a large extent, made science possible. .

It may, however, happen that this invarianc~ holds to a. hIg.h degr~e of accuracy in the region and time of the universe we hv~ in, wh~le observers on the outskirts of the universe or in the early times of Its evolution could understand, just by making measurements with o~r present accuracy on physical systems in their laboratories, their parn-

4

GENERAL CONSIDERATIONS ON THE SYMMETRY PROBLEM

1.2 General Formalism of Quantum Theories

5

cular space-time position by the nonsymmetrical behavior of nature. This just reminds us of the fact that all symmetry principles have an empirical basis, rather than being a priori truths. We must give up those alleged symmetry principles which are confuted by experiment. In the nineteenth century, man was convinced of the validity of the Fourier principle of similitude according to which a system S similar to but smaller than S should behave like S. The discovery of the atomic structure of matter meant the end of it. Analogously, in recent times man had to renounce his belief and attachment to the concept of symmetry between right and left. Nature does not possess this symmetry, and we have to do without it.

Finally, we would like to point out that the concept of symmetry has already been of great importance in science. The predictions of the existence of many elementary particles, the derivation of new equations, the great variety of correlations between different processes obtained by symmetry considerations show that symmetry arguments are very powerful tools for bringing order into the very complicated set of data and phenomena of the universe.

These facts are for the physicist a constant source of inspiration and hope on his difficult road to knowledge. In the words of C. N. Yang, "One learns to hope that nature possesses an order that one may aspire to comprehend."

1.2 General Formalism of Quantum Theories

which is the probability of finding the state represented by the vector cp after the measurement, if .p is what you have to start with. This implies that the vector .p and the set of vectors a.p (a arbitrary complex number), which is called a ray, describe the same physical situation. We can then say that states of a physical system are represented by rays, and we write'll for a ray. Every .p belonging to the ray'll will be called a representative of'll. The totality of normalized vectors belonging to a given ray is called a unit ray. Since, as we shall see under item (d) below, the length of the state vectors is left unchanged by the evolution of the system in time, we can use unit rays to represent the physical states of the system.

We list now all the relevant concepts and hypotheses that are introduced in the formulation of quantum mechanics.

(a) To each quantum mechanical system there corresponds an abstract Hilbert space, such that states of the system are represented by unit rays of this space and physical observables by self-adjoint linear operators I defined on this space. The physically realizable unit rays are assumed. to span the whole Hilbert space. The metric of the Hilbert space is positive definite, and the space is assumed to be complete and separable. The measurement process is supposed to be performed at a certain instant of time.

The Hilbert space is completely characterized by giving all algebraic relations among the members of an irreducible set of linear operators. By irreducible set we mean a family of linear operators such that there exists no linear operator commuting with all the members of the set but the multiples of the identity. To give an example of the role played by the requirement of irreducibility in the characterization of the Hilbert space, consider, in the case of ordinary quantum mechanics, the Cartesian coordinates Xi of a particle and their canonically conjugated momenta Pi (i = 1,2,3) satisfying the usual commutation relations

1.2.1 BASIC AsSUMPTIONS. We shall analyze in this and subsequent sections the mathematical apparatus that a given observer sets up to describe completely a quantum mechanical system.

Quantum theories express the possible results of any experiment performed by a certain observer on a physical system in terms of the relations occurring between the elements of an abstract linear vector space, the Hilbert space. It is assumed that the states of the physical system are represented by vectors of the Hilbert space, which we shall call physically realizable vectors or state vectors, I and that all the physical information one can obtain by measurements of an arbitrary physically measurable quantity is given by the knowledge of the transition probability

[Xi' Xk] = [Pi' Pk] = 0, [Xi , Pk] = ih l)ik •

(1.1)

I(.p, .p)12

(c/>, c/»(.p,.p) ,

The assumption that this set of linear operators is irreducible amounts to the characterization of the Hilbert space of the system of a particle that has no internal degree of freedom. If, however, we want to describe a particle with spin s, we must assume as the irreducible set the six

I When no ambiguity can arise, we shall often call them simply states.

I By self-adjoint, or hypermaximal, operator we mean an operator that admits a resolution of the identity belonging to it. In what follows we shall also call observables the operators that represent them.

1.2 General Formalism of Quantum Theories

6

GENERAL CONSIDERATIONS ON THE SYMMETRY PROBLEM

S2 = I S,2 = /j2S(S + 1).

i

(1.2)

(d) The evolution of the system must be described through a change of the mutual relation among physically realizable rays and operators. The equation that gives this evolution will be discussed below. We point out only some of its properties. First of all it must be such that, given a certain physical situation at the initial time to , all physical information that can be obtained on the system is determined at any later time t. Second, since only the mutual relation of rays and operators is physically important, this equation can, in principle, assume infinitely may forms, since we can distribute the evolution partly on the rays and partly on the operators. Only a few of these possibilities are considered in practice, and they are the so-called "pictures." For instance, if the evolution of the system is entirely described by the change of the operators representing the observables, while the physically realizable rays are constant in time, we have the Heisenberg picture of motion. If, on the contrary, the evolution of the system is entirely described by the change of the physically realizable rays, we have the Schrodinger picture of motion. The evolution can in this last case be realized by means of a mapping of unit rays on unit rays. Let, in this picture, 'I'(to)' 4>(to) be two unit rays that represent two situations of the physical system at the time to , and 'I'(t) 4>(t) be the unit rays that represent the system evolved from 'I'(to) and 4>(to), respectively, up to the time t. This unit ray mapping is assumed to be continuous' and such that

operators considered above and the three linear spin operators 81 , 82 , and 83 which commute with the Xi and Pi and satisfy

[Si'S;] = ifl£.i;kSk,

(b) The only possible results of a measurement of the observable whose correspondingself~~djoint operator is a are the (real) eigenvalues "'n of IX. If the system is in the state described by the unit ray'!', the probability P n that a measurement of '" yields the result IXn is

P" = (if, E"",),

where if E'I' and En is the projection operator on the linear manifold vl{n sp~n,-~~~jr the eigenvectors of IX belonging to the eigenvalue IX" • If the outcome of the measurement is an , the state of the system after the process of measurement is represented by a unit ray lying in the linear manifold vi{ n . A subsequent measurement of an observable whose corresponding self-adjoint operator fJ commutes with", will not carry the state out of the manifold vi{ n •

In general, the measuring process therefore produces an a priori unpredictable change in the state of the system (reduction of the state). Apart from the case in which the state is an eigenvector of our dynamical observable, we cannot predict with certainty the outcome of a measurement.

(c) Starting from a chosen self-adjoint linear operator", we can consider the totality of self-adjoint linear operators commuting with a. 'A'niong these we have, in general, a subset r of independent operators, all the others being functions (in the Dirac sense) of the operators of the set r. Thc set r is called a complete set of commuting selfadjoint linear operators or a maximal abelian set. It is characterized by the fact that there exists a unique unit ray in the Hilbert space that is the simultaneous eigenray of all the operators of the set r belonging to an arbitrarily chosen set of eigenvalues of these operators.

It is assumed that the family of all the observables contains at least a maximal abelian set. The physical state of the system is prepared at a given time by means of the measurement of a complete set r of commuting observables. The state so prepared is represented by the unique unit ray x, which is simultaneous eigenray of all the operators of the set r belonging to the obtained set of eigenvalues. Therefore, each simultaneous eigenray of a maximal abelian set of observables is a physically realizable ray.

(1.3)

where rf(t) E 4>(t), and so on. Equation (1.3) is the statement of conservation of probability. In particular, in ordinary quantum mechanics, it implies conservation of the number of particles.

As we shall see in Section 1.3.2., from Eq. (l.3) and from the fact that the ray mapping is continuously connected to the identity, it follows that the time evolution of the system can be realized by a linear unitary vector mapping.

1.2.2 THE IRREDUCIBILITY POSTULATE IN ORDINARY QUANTUM MECHANICS. Ordinary quantum mechanics assumes, besides postulates (a)-(d), that it is possible to find among the family of all the observablcs an irreducible set. This is an important postulate, which implies that the correspondence between physical states and rays of the Hilbert space is one to one.

It is first of all obvious that to two different states there correspond

; We define the convergence of the unit ray 'I'(t) to the unit ray 'I'(t.) for t --+ t. by assuming that each representative vector of 'I'(t) converges strongly to a representative vector of 'I'(t.) in the same limit.

8

GENERAL CONSIDERATIONS ON THE SYMMETRY PROBLEM

1.2 General Formalism of Quantum Theories

9

two different rays in the Hilbert space; otherwise all physical measurements would yield the same results thus contradicting the assu~ption. Let us see now how the validity of the converse depends on the irredu-

cibility requirement. .

If the set of all the observables of the system does not constitute an irreducible set, since the observables are self-adjoint operators, it is possible to bring them all simultaneously into a completely reduced form. That is, indicating by ex, f3, .... the self-adjoint operators corresponding to our obserbables, we have, in a suitable basis,

I I

"'1 : ° I ° :

- ---1-- --1- - - -1- - --

I I I

0:'"2:0:

- - - -1- - - -1- - - -1- - - - ,

° : ° : "'- :

I I', I

- ._- -1-- - -1- -- -1- ---

I I 1',,-

: : :', J

That is, all physical measurements made on the system give the same results when the state of the system is described either by 'I' or by '1". The rays 'I' and '1" then describe the same physical state. This is very unpleasant. Since the Hilbert space splits up into orthogonal subspaces and any observation on the system carries the state vector in one of such subspaces where it remains forever, consideration of the problem in the whole Hilbert space simply amounts to considering different solutions of the same quantum problem which are merely added together to form the given solution. The simplest way of getting out of this redundancy is to assume that the observables of the system constitute an irreducible set.

Let us in fact assume irreducibility for the observables of the system.

Suppose ad absurdum that there are two different rays 'I' and '1" that give the same expectation values for all the observables. Let us introduce a system of basic vectors {.pi} in our Hilbert space. If .p E 'I' and .p' E '1" we get

f31010,

I I 1

- - - -1-- --1--- -1- ---

I I 1

OIf32101

I I 1

- -- -1-- --1--- -1- --- ,

o : 0 : ''-, :

I I', I

- - - -:- - - -:- - - -:~ - -

: : :',

where Oii , f3i '''. are operators acting on the vectors of a linear manifold .Ali . The orthogonal manifolds .AS. , ~ '''. are left invariant by the whole set of observables.

We immediately see that if all the observables obtain the form of Eq. (1.4), then there exist different rays that ~es~ribe the same. physical state. Let us in fact consider the rays 'I' and 'I' WIth representatives

(1.4)

and therefore

(0/, "Iifi) = I a;a;*(o/;, "Iifi;) = Tr[A"Il,

i;

(1.6)

(.p', 1Jifi') = I a/a;*(fi ' "If;) = Tr[A'''Il,

ij

(1.7)

where the matrices A and A' are defined by

where .pi is a vector belonging to the subspace .Ali and i'i an arbitrary real number. We get for the generic observable "I

(ifi', "If') = (ein"'l , "I1e"l"'l) + (e'v·"'2, "I2ei""'2) + ". = ("'1' "11"'1) + (+2 ,"12"'2) + ".

= (f, "1"'). (1.5)

Since 'I' * '1", we must have A * A'. But this is absurd. In fact, by assumption, the expectation values (1.6) and (1.7) are equal for all the observables and, since the observables constitute an irreducible set, Burnside's theorem (see Ref. 1.9, p. 239) allows us to conclude that A = A'. The result is just what we expected: If irreducibility is assumed, there is a one-to-one correspondence between states of the system and rays of the Hilbert space.

The assumption of irreducibility must, however, be released in quantum field theory, and this is what we shall discuss in a moment.

10

GENERAL CONSIDERATIONS ON THE SYMMETRY PROBLEM

1.3 Different Descriptions of a Quantum Mechanical System

11

1.2.3 SUPERSELECTION RULES. Nature, however, suggests that not all the unit rays of the Hilbert space of certain physical systems are physically realizable. For instance, we know that assemblies of charg~d particles exist with different values of the total charge Q; nevertheless in no laboratory has an experimenter ever succeeded in producing a state that is a superposition of states with different values of the total charge Q. In exactly the same way we are compelled by experience to assume that all physically realizable rays are eigenrays of the baryon number B, of the lepton number L, and of the univalence, the operator whose eigenvalues are ( -1 t, F being an even integer for states of integer spin, and an odd integer for states of half-odd integer spin. These facts compell us to give up the irreducibility postulate.

Let us suppose that in nature the only possible. physically realizable vectors are simultaneous eigenvectors of a set of observables e. We say that each of the operators belonging to e defines a superselection rule. For example, for a system of baryons, as pointed out above, we have superselection rules for the charge, baryon number, and univalence. From the assumption that the set of physically realizable vectors is a complete set, we have that the observables belonging to the set e commute with each other. The whole Hilbert space therefore splits up into orthogonal subs paces, which we shall call coherent subspaces, in which each of the operators defining a superselection rule has a definite value. Let us now consider a self-adjoint operator ex that does not commute with some of the operators of the set e. Then at least one eigenvector of ex has nonzero components in at least two coherent subspaces. According to the assumption that an observable should have for eigenvectors only physically realizable vectors, it follows that the operator ex does not correspond to an observable physical quantity. Therefore, we

must give up the hypothesis that every self-adjoint operator is observable. The observables must be sought only among the self-adjoint operators that commute with all the operators of the set e. The aggregate of all the observables is consequently not irreducible. This means that in order to build up the Hilbert space of the physical system, we must resort also to non observable operators to obtain an irreducible set of operators.

From this discussion it follows, as we have already pointed out in Section 1.2.2, that the observables of the system can be simultaneously brought to the block-diagonal form of Eq. (1.4). No experiment can be conceived whose outcome depends on the relative phase of two vectors belonging to different coherent subspaces, as !t appears from Eq .. (15). Every measurement, in particular the preparation of the state, carries .the state vector of the system in a coherent subspace, and then no physical operation can bring the vector out of s~ch a space. Therefore, ~s long as evolution of and measurement operations on the state are considered, we can limit ourselves to coherent subspaces in order to build the physical theory of our world, and in any individual coherent subspace w~ keep the irreducibility postulate for the observables of the system. It IS also assumed that all self-adjoint operators that commute with the operators of the set e are observable and therefore that all rays of any coherent subspace are physically realizable.

In ordinary quantum mechanics, besides points (a)-( d) and the irreducibility postulate, it is assumed that all self-adjoint operators are observables-i.e., it is possible to construct measuring apparatuses that correspond to them. Since, given an arbitrary ray, it is always possible to define a self-adjoint operator that has this ray as one of its eigenrays, we obtain the result that all the rays of the Hilbert space describe physically realizable states. There follows, for ordi~ary qua.ntum mechanics, the superposition principle: If if; and rf> are physically realizable vectors, any superposition of the type

X = a.p + brp,

with a and b arbitrary complex numbers, is also a physically realizable vector.

1.3 Different Descriptions of a Quantum Mechanical System

1.3.1 FORMULATION OF THE PROBLEM. We come now to the discussion of the relations existing between the descriptions given by different observers for the same physical system. The theory of a physical system, in fact, is fully defined only if it also contains the sp~cification of the connection existing between the descriptions of all possible states of the system when viewed by different observers. The part. of the theory that specifies this connection is the so-called transform~tlOn theory of a given theory. We emphasize here that the trans.forma~lOn t~eory of a given theory can also be considered if the theory 1S not invanant under the considered transformation. For instance, in the case of the Schrodinger equation for a particle in an external field, one is interested in defining the "code of translation" from the language o! one ob~erver to that of an observer who is rotated with respect to him, also If the external field is such that the theory is not rotationally invariant.

We come now to the precise formulation of the problem. We shall work for this purpose in the Schr~dinger picture of motion. .

We have two observers 0 and 0 who differ from each other in the way

12

GENERAL CONSIDERATIONS ON THE SYMMETRY PROBLEM

they describe the physical properties of a given physical system S. For example, they occupy different positions in space and time-i.e, they use frames of reference rotated and/or displaced relative to each other in space and time with some of their axes possibly oppositely oriented, or they move with respect to each other with a certain velocity, or they use different measuring rods and clocks, or they assign opposite signs to charges and baryonic numbers, and so on. ~

~e assume that a one-t~~ne mapping T exists between the physically realizable rays of 0 and 0 III such a way that, if 'I' o( t) is the unit ray assigned by 0 at his own time t to a certain state of affairs of S 'I' o( t) = T'I' o( t) is the corresponding unit ray assigned by (J at his ow~ time t, for the same state of affairs of S. The mapping T is supposed to exist on the assumption that both observers can describe the system S by means of quantum mechanics and that it is possible to translate the description given by one of them into the language of the other.' This type of procedure in which we have two observers and only one physical system will be referred to in what follows as the "passive point of ~iew." Obviously, if we have three observers. 0, 0, and 0, and T(O +- 0) is th~ mapping between the physically realizable rays of 0 and 0, ~hile T(O +- 0) is the mapping between the physically realizable rays of 0 and 0, then we must require for consistency that

. T(O +- 0) = T(O +- 0) T(O .._ 0),

(1.8)

where T(iJ +- 0) is the ray mapping between the rays of 0 and 0.

The probability that in a measurement process the state of S is finally

;. It could seem that by ascribing to different observers definite reference frames we could come into conflict with the uncertainty principle. For example, in the case when one observer is moving with a certain velocity Vo with respect to another, to obtain the relation between them we use classical relations of the kind 51 = x - vot, which involve, in principle, a precise simultaneous measurement of the position and velocity of 0 with respect to O. However, we remember that the uncertainty relations apply to position and momentum variables rather than to position and velocity. Since the observers are macroscopic, the mass of their inertial frames can be made arbitrarily large and in this way the spread in velocity is made arbitrarily small also if there is a fixed momentum spread. Moreover, we observe that, strictly speaking, since the observers are macroscopic objects, the uncertainty relations do not apply to them. This means that we are satisfied if the positions and momenta of the observers are determined at the classical level of accuracy.

S We wish to stress here that however natural it may appear, the existence of the mapping T is an assumption. One can easily imagine, in fact, theories in which no mapping T could exist for certain relations occurring between 0 and O. For instance, in the cosmology of de Sitter a "light horizon" exists that forbids communications between certain observers.

1.3 Different Descriptions of a Quantum Mechanical System

13

found in the state of affairs described with the unit rays <l>o(t) by 0 and <l>o(t) = T<I>o{t) by 0 is the same for both observers:"

(1.9)

where <Po(t) E <l>o(t), and so on.

In ordinary quantum mechanics Eq. (1.9) is easily justified. In fact, if the transformation leading from 0 to 0 does not change the time, then the two observers watch the system S at the same objective time, and Eq. (1.9) clearly holds. If the transformation is a time translatione.g., the observer 0 uses a clock retarded by a fixed amount T with respect to the clock used by 0, then Eq. (1.9) coincides with Eq. (1.3). In fact the state of the system S that 0 is observing at his time t is the evolved, through the time interval T, of the state observed by 0 at his own time t. Of course the same conclusion is reached if the transformation is a combination of the two considered above. In relativistic theories, Eq. (1.9) will also be assumed to hold by analogy with ordinary quantum mechanics.

The transition probability given by Eq. (1.9) is clearly independent of the choice of the unit vectors appearing in it as long as they are members of the respective rays. Each member of Eq. (1.9) is then a ray function. In order to cover the case when superselection rules are present, it is convenient to take into consideration only the aggregate of unit rays'll of 0 that span a given coherent subspace .Yf" of the Hilbert space of all states. The ray correspondence T maps a coherent subspace .Yf" of the Hilbert space onto a linear manifold ~. ~ mayor may not coincide with .Yf". However, .#., is in any case also a coherent subspace. In fact if two rays '1'1 and '1'2 of .Yf" were mapped onto two rays belonging to different coherent subspaces, the ray <I> = ei~(a10/1 + a20/2) with o/i E'lli , which represents a physically realizable ray for 0, would be mapped onto a ray that would not be physically realizable for O. § This contradicts the assumption that a physically realizable ray is always mapped onto a physically realizable one. If the mapping belongs to a family of transformations continuously connected with the identity, then clearly each coherent subspace is mapped onto itself.

The mapping T considered above is defined only on unit rays. It is useful, however, to extend the mapping from a mapping of unit rays to

~ Note that the fact that unit rays go over to unit rays in the mapping T does not imply Eq. (1.9), as would follow if T were either a linear or an antilinear vector mapping.

S This can be easily seen by observing that the image of 01> has nonzero projections on the images of both '1', and '1'2 , as follows from the invariance of the scalar product under the mapping T.

14

GENERAL CONSIDERATIONS ON THE SYMMETRY PROBLEM

a mapping of all rays in such a way that Eq. (1.9) again holds. This can be obtained by defining

T(a'l') = 1 a 1 T'I'

with 'I' an arbitrary unit ray and a an arbitrary complex number. From now on we shall always be concerned with this extension of T, which will be labeled by the same symbol.

If there exists a vector mapping T of £;, onto .it" such that Top E T'I' if op E '1', we say that the vector mapping T is compatible with the ray mapping T. Obviously, there are infinitely many vector mappings compatible with a given ray mapping. We shall now show that, owing to Eq. (1.9), among the vector mappings compatible with T a vector mapping exists that is represented either by a linear unitary or by an antilinear unitary operator. The linearity or antilinearity of the vector mapping is characteristic of the assigned ray mapping T. Moreover, the vector mapping is unique, apart from a phase factor.

1.3.2 THE WIGNER THEOREM. Let us now suppose that we have chosen a particular one-to-one vector mapping T compatible with T, of the coherent subspace £;, onto the coherent subspace .it", satisfying then

I(T.p, Tc/»I = 1("', c/»I·

(1.10)

We now consider a complete orthonormal set {opk} of vectors of £;, and the corresponding set {T.pk} of.it". Owing to Eq. (1.10) we have

so that the set {T.pk} is also orthonormal. No vector of .it" different from the null vector can be orthogonal to all Topk , since, owing to the fact that the mapping is one to one, the existence of such a vector would imply that there is a vector in £;, different from the null vector, orthogonal to all .pk and therefore the set {opk} would not be complete. Then the set {Topk} is also complete.

Let us consider two corresponding vectors.p and Top. We express them as superpositions of the vectors of the bases {opk} and {Topk}' respectively:

(1.11)

1.3 Different Descriptions of a Quantum Mechanical System

15

Putting

ak = 1 ak 1 eiT', iik = 1 iik 1 ei'.,

(1.12)

from Eq. (1.10) we get

N ow take into consideration the following vector of £;, :

from the above considerations it follows that the corresponding vector TXik will have the form

The condition !(TXik , Top)! = !(Xik, op)! then gives

COS(TI - Tk - ci + p) = cosh - Tk - '" + (3), (1.13)

which implies, apart from unimportant multiples of 217, either

(1.14)

(a)

S;k = (0: - "') - @ - (3),

or

(1.15)

(b)

a;k = (0: + "') - @ + (3).

Given a pair (j, k), the expression

is the quantity $ik (or aik), which does not depend on the particular chosen vector op.

We point out that if for a given pair (j, k) we obtain Eq. (1.14), then this equation holds for any pair. The same can be said if Eq. (1.15) holds. In fact, let us assume that Eq. (1.14) holds for the two pairs (1, k) and (k,j). We get

f'j - T! = (T! - Tk) + (fk - T;)

= (T! - Tk) + (Tk - TI) + Sik + Ski

(1.16)

16

1 GENERAL CONSIDERATIONS ON THE SYMMETRY PROBLEM

so that Eq. (1.14) also holds for the pair (/,j). In the same way, if Eq. (US) holds for the pairs (I, k) and (k,j) the same equation also holds for the pair (/,j). Now let us suppose that the pair (m, n) satisfies Eq. (1.14) [or (US)]. Then from Eq. (1.16) (or its analogue for the other case) at least one of the pairs (m, p) and (p, n) must satisfy Eq. (1.14) [or (1.15)] and therefore so does the other. By the same argument also (m, q) and (q, n) and therefore also (p, q) satisfy Eq. (1.14) [or (US)]. We have therefore that if the pair (m, n) satisfies Eq. (1.14) [or (US)], the generic pair (p, q) also satisfies Eq. (1.14) [or (US)].

Summarizing, we have that only two cases are possible-i.e., either Eq. (1.14) holds for all pairs (j, k) or Eq. (US) holds for all pairs-and, moreover, that the Sjk or ajk of Eq. (1.14) or (1.15) are independent of if;. The fact that if Eq. (1.14) [or Eq. (1.15)] holds for all the pairs of a given vector .p the same relation must hold also for all the pairs of any other vector ¢/ is easily proved in the following way. Consider the vectors .p and T.p of Eq. (1.11) and suppose that Eq. (1.14) holds. Consider then the two vectors

T.pH = I a; ! eifiTtf' + I «; I ei';;'Ttfm .

Assuming ad absurdum that Eq. (1.15) holds for these vectors, from [(T.p, T.p")[ = [(.p, .p")[ we get a contradiction. Take then a generic vector .p' = L [ ak' [ ei·~.pk and the corresponding vector

To// = I I ak' I ei·~T.pk •

We already know that either all pairs 1", T' satisfy Eq. (1.14) or all of them. satisfy Eq. (1.15). If we consider the particular pair (I, m), from [(Tif;', Tif;") I = [(IjJ', IjJH)1 we prove as before that unless TI' - T".' = 1'1' - Tm' + s;k we get a contradiction. There follows that the particular pair (t, m) of .p' satisfies Eq. (1.14). But since all pairs of a given vector satisfy the same relation, we have proved that from the fact that all pairs of the particular vector IjJ satisfy Eq. (1.14) all pairs of the generic vector if;' also satisfy Eq. (1.14). The same is obviously true if we start with Eq. (1.15). We come now to the detailed discussion of the two possibilities.

a. Equation (1.14) is satisfied for all pairs (j, k). We consider a particular vector

1.3 Different Descriptions of a Quantum Mechanical System

17

and its corresponding vector Tq, according to the considered vector mapping T. We now introduce a new vector mapping 0/1 which is also compatible with T and is such that the vector corresponding in this mapping to the vector q, is

(1.17)

n

This can obviously be achieved by properly choosing the phases of the vectors corresponding to IjJn and <p, since the relation (1.17) is compatible with Eq. (1.14).

Consider now an arbitrary vector

ofs = I an.pn = I I an I exp(iTn) tfn = exp(iT}) I I an I exp[i(Tn - T})] ofsn

n n n

and its corresponding vector

Remembering that the differences (Tn - Tl) - (Tn - 1'1) = Snl are independent of the particular chosen vector .p, and using the fact that for the consid~red vector mapping 0/1, <p = Ln bnljJn is mapped into ~ = Ln bn.pn , which implies Sni = 0, we get that

<P = exp[i(TI - 1'1)] I an<pn .

n

Therefore, apart from a phase factor, any vector if; = Ln antfn is mapped into the same linear combination of <Pn that <p itself is of IjJn . It is finally possible to eliminate this phase factor too, by considering another vector mapping compatible with T, which we shall continue to indicate by the same symbol 0/1. In this way the vector mapping 0/1, compatible with T, which we have introduced has the properties

<P "" o/Iofs = I an<pn = I a,/1I1.pn

n

and

0/1 is therefore a linear and unitary (o/I%,t = o/It%' = I) operator.

b. Equation (1.15) is satisfied for all pairs (j, k). In this case, given the particular vector cP = Ln bn<Pn , we cannot assume that it is mapped on

18

GENERAL CONSIDERATIONS ON THE SYMMETRY PROBLEM

the vector 4>= L.. bn;Pn' since Eq. (1.15) would be violated. But we can choose 4> = L.. bn *;Pn as the vector corresponding to 4>. We can then proceed in the same manner as before and introduce a vector mapping {} with the properties

n

n

and

{} is therefore antilinear" and unitary' ({}{}t = {}t{} = J).

It is important to notice that the linear or antilinear character of the considered vector mapping in the case in which dim.n"., ~ 2 describes an intrinsic property of the mapping T. In fact let us consider three unit rays'll 1 , '1'2 , '1'3 and the expression

(1.18)

with .pi E 'IIi . LI is independent of the choice of the representative vectors .pi and is a function of the unit rays only.

Remembering that either (;P,~) = (.p, rp) or (;P,4» = (.p, rp)* for all pairs of vectors .p, 4>, we get that

linear vector mapping, antilinear vector mapping.

Therefore, choosing three unit rays for which LI('I'1 , '1'2' '1'3) is not real, we can compare it with LI(T'I'l , T'l'z ,T'l'a) and deduce immediately whether the considered vector mapping is linear or antilinear. For instance if 4>1 and rp2 are orthogonal and normalized, we can assume

.pI = 4>1' .p2 = (1/v2)(4>1 - rp2) and .p3 = (I/V3)[4>1 + (I - iHJ,

getting LI = i/6. .

We now show that two vector mappings CW1 and CWz compatible with the same T are equal apart from a phase factor if they are additive-that is, if

(i = 1,2).

: For an antilinear operator {} the Hermitian adjoint is defined by (,p, {}ty,) = (o/J, 64» and is, of course, also antilinear.

I Note that if a one-to-one vector mapping is linear or antilinear, the requirement that it be defined everywhere and that it leave unchanged the length of the vectors implies unitarity. The Wigner theorem is therefore concerned mainly in establishing the linear or antilinear character of the transformation rather than its unitary nature.

1.3 Different Descriptions of a Quantum Mechanical System

19

To prove this statement take a vector .p; for it we have

rY.(op) real,

since CWif and CW1.p must belong to the same unit ray T'l'. Consider now a vector'" which is linearly independent of.p. We have then

that is,

ei«(doICl/tl4> + ei·(o/JICl/tl.p = ei'(Hobll1ll.(4> + .p)

= ei.(HoiJICl/tl4> + ei'(HobICl/tl.p. (1.19)

It can immediately be shown that from the linear independence of 4> and .p follows the linear independence of CWir? and Cl/ti.p. In fact it suffices to consider the Gram determinant G(c/>, .p) of", with e:

G(4) .p) = I (,p,,p) (1),.p) I

' (.p,,p) (.p,.p)'

The vectors rp and .p are linearly independent if and only if G(rp, .p) > O.

We see immediately that according to Eq. (1.10) the Gram determinant is invariant under the mapping CWi : G(CW,..p, CWirp) = G(rp, ifJ). It follows that CW.4> and CWi.p are also linearly independent. From Eq. (1.19) it follows that

01.(4)) = 01.(4) + .p) = 0I.(.p).

(1.20)

Let us now take a vector .po =1= 0 in Jt"" and setOl.(.po) = y. For every vector .p =1= 0 we then have IX(,,) = y. In fact if .p and .po are linearly independent, this follows from Eq. (1.20). If.p = fL'Po (,.,. =1= 0) choose a.p linearly independent of .po , and hence of.p, then from Eq. (1.20) we have

rY.(.p) = rY.(,p) = (Y.(~o) = y.

It follows that

(1.21 )

Obviously if CW1 is linear unitary or antilinear unitary, so is 11112, It is worth stressing again that the linear unitary transformation ~, or the antilinear unitary transformation {}, maps a coherent subspace Jt"" onto a coherent subspace ~ .

Once the mapping of the physically realizable rays is known, the overall vector mapping in the whole Hilbert space is given by an operator ~,

i.."", '. __.---- _

20

GENERAL CONSIDERATIONS ON THE SYMMETRY PROBLEM

which, in the case where each coherent subspace is mapped onto itself, is the direct sum of operators defined over the coherent subs paces

Here, each 'ft. is defined apart from a constant phase factor, as it follows from Eq. (1.21). That is, the operator

",0/1 = EB exp(iys) 0/18'

(1.22)

with Ys an arbitrary real c number, realizes the same ray mapping. If, on the other hand, there are coherent subspaces that are mapped onto coherent subspaces different from themselves, the operator 'ft, in a representation in which the superselection operators of the set e are diagonal, has a form of the type

where each block-row and block-column refers to a coherent subspace. For each block-row and each block-column only one block-element is different from zero. This block-element is an operator defined apart from an arbitrary constant phase factor. The overall arbitrariness in 'ft is therefore in any case a multiplicative block-diagonal phase matrix w.

1.3.3 CHARACTERIZATION OF THE TRANSFORMATION IN THE PASSIVE POINT OF VIEw. We have established in Sections 1.3.1 and 1.3.2 an automorphism of the Hilbert space onto itself, in such a way that, to a certain given state of affairs of the physical system S, the observer 0 assigns the stat~ rf;, while 0 assigns the state 'ftrf;, where 'ft "'" 'ft(0, 0) depends in general on the initial and final frames of reference. In this mapping the operators a of 0 are also transformed: a ---+ 'fta'ftt. However, the operators 'fta'ftt are not in general used by 0 to make measurements on the system S. For instance, in the case of ordinary quantum mechanics, if q is the operator that represents the distance of a particle of S from the origin ~f the frame of reference used by 0, 'ftq'ftt is the operator assigned by 0 for the description of the same distance. Instead, o is interested in the distance of the considered particle from the

1.3 Different Descriptions of a Quantum Mechanical System

21

origin of his own frame of reference, and this quantity is obviously described again by the operator q. t

Let us now show how to determine the explict form of the operator 'ft that gives the translation from the language of 0 into that of O. In order to do this, the two observers make experiments of the same kind on the same physical system. For example, they measure the positions and momenta of the constituent particles with respect to their reference frames. The explicit form of the relation existing between the descriptions given by the two observers can then be obtained by comparing the expectation values obtained by 0 and 0, respectively, for a set of observables that is irreducible in each coherent subspace of the Hilbert space.

Let us call aj the operators of the irreducible set now introduced.

When the physical system S is in the state '1'0 for the observer 0, the expectation value for the observable CXj is

observer 0;

<Po E 'I' 0 •

(1.23a)

The observer (j describes the same system S by means of the state '1'0 = 'ft'I' 0 and obtains therefore for the expectation value of the observable "'j

observer 0;

(1.23b)

For the observables that admit classical analogue the correspondence principle tells us how the expectation values given by Eqs. (1.23a) and (1.23b) are related. For the other observables analogies help us to

* It may appear strange that the same operator q describes two different objective processes of measurement+-i.e., the measurement of the distance of a particle both from the origin of 0 and from the origin of O. It must be noted, however, that q is considered as an operator of the observer 0, or as one used by 0 in the two cases. The two observers assign different vectors to the same physical situation, and since all the interesting results depend on the relations among states and operators, no contradiction arises. It may be useful for didactic purposes to consider the Hilbert spaces ff and .it used by 0 and 0 as distinct. In this case we call '"Y the linear unitary or antilinear unitary operator that gives the mapping between the two spaces, while we introduce a linear unitary mapping if" between the corresponding observables of 0 and O. By "corresponding" we mean here that the mapping if" gives, for example, when applied to the operators describing the distance of the particle from the origin of 0 or its angular momentum with respect to the same point, the operators describing the distance of the particle from the origin of 0 or its angular momentum with respect to the same point. All the formalism can be developed starting from these assumptions, the role played in our formalism by %' being assumed by the operator if"t'"Y. Owing to the isomorphism of ff to .it and the fact that the if"tqif", if""tpif" satisfy the same algebraic relations that q, p satisfy, it can be assumed that ff == .it and if" = I.

22

1 GENERAL CONSIDERATIONS ON THE SYMMETRY PROBLEM

determine the relation existing between these two quantities. Therefore in general we can write

For all transformations we shall consider, fi will be a linear combination of its arguments with real coefficients, so that we get

and therefore, since rJ/ = rJ.i' we have

with 0/1 either linear or antilinear. Since 0/1 maps coherent subspaces onto coherent subspaces, the operators o/Itotjo/l commute with the operators of the set e that define the superselction rules-i.e., they leave any coherent subspace invariant, and their matrix elements between states belonging to different coherent subspaces vanish. Since o/ftrJ.io/l - fi(rJ.1, rJ.2 , ••• ) is a linear operator that maps each coherent subspace onto itself and .po is an arbitrary vector of an arbitrary coherent subspace, we finally get

(1.25)

Equation (1.25) can be considered as the equation for the unknown 0/1.

The linear or antilinear nature of 0/1 can be checked by applying 0/1 to the commutation relations of the rJ./s among themselves:

that is,

(1.26a)

For example, if the quantum Poisson bracket [rJ.j , CXk]QPB is a real number, we get

(1.26b)

After computing the two sides of Eq. (1.26a), or Eq. (1.26b), we shall be in a position to say whether the plus or the minus sign is the correct sign of the right- hand side and, correspondingly, this will determine the linear (+) or the antilinear (-) nature of 0/1. We note that, if the considered transformation belongs to a family of transformations continuously connected with the identity, the corresponding 0/1 must be linear if we also require continuity for the operators, since the identity is a

1.4 Time Translations and Equations of Motion

23

linear operator. Of course, the set of the at/s being irreducible in each coherent subspace, Eq. (1.25) together with the unitarity condition determines the operator 0/1 uniquely, apart from a phase factor, in each coherent subspace (see end of Section 1.3.2).

If we consider three observers 0, 0, and 0 and introduce the operators 0/1(0, 0), 0/1(0, 0) and 0/1(0, 0) giving the vector mappings between them, we must have, in accordance with Eq. (1.8),

<fI(D, 0) <fI(0, 0) = w o/f(O, 0),

(1.27)

w being a constant phase matrix that may depend on the considered transformations.

In going from 0 to 0 we have transformed the vectors referring to the given objective physical situation, while we have not changed the operators corresponding to coordinates, momenta, spins, and so on. But for other quantities, we have to discuss whether or not they must be transformed in going from 0 to O. Take for instance the case of an external scalar field rp(r) and an external vector field A(r) in ordinary quantum mechanics. If we say that the operators corresponding to the operators rp(r) and A(r) of ° are again rp(r) and A(r) for 0, and 0 is rotated with respect to 0, this would amount to having rotated the external fields also. For the same physical situation S, described by 0 by means of the state .po and by (5 by means of .po. = o/I.po, we must have

("1£"'0 ,cp(r) "I£.po) = (.po, <p(r) .po),

("1£"'0, Air) <fI.po) = ~k;[(.pO , A;(r) .po)] (k,j = 1,2,3),

in agreement with the transformation properties of the classical fields. In the above formulae PA is the matrix giving the rotation of the c-number coordinates. From these equations we immediately obtain the operators that must be considered by 0:

.p(r) = <fI <p(r) "I£t,

Ak(r) = 9!'k;["1£ Aj(r) "I£t].

(1.28)

The transformation properties of the energy operator will be discussed in Section 1.5.2.

1.4 Time Translations and Equations of Motion

Let us now have two observers ° and (5 who differ from each other only in the fact that their clocks do not show the same time. In particular

24

1 GENERAL CONSIDERATIONS ON THE SYMMETRY PROBLEM

the clock of (5 is retarded of a fixed amount 'T with respect to the clock used by 0:

teO) = teO) - T.

(1.29)

According to the line of thought of Section 1.3.1, the observer i5 compares measurements performed by him at his own time t on the system S with the measurements that 0 made at his own time t on S.

The state of the system S that i5 is observing at his time t is then the evolved, through the time interval 'T, of thc state observed by 0 at his time t. In terms of rays we write

On the other hand, the translation from the language of 0 to that of i5 is given by a ray mapping T:

'P ott) = T'P oCt),

so that

'P o(t + T) = T'I' o(t).

From conservation of probability, Eq. (1.9), according to the Wigner theorem we obtain that the ray mapping T can be realized by a linear unitary vector mapping, which we call T in this case. The linearity of T follows from the fact that the ray mapping is continuously connected to the identity as 'T --+ O. Besides depending on 'T, T may depend explicitly on the considered instant of time t. We can then write

.po(t) = "'o(t + T) = T(t + T, t) "'o(t), TI(t, t') T(t, t') = T(t, t') TI(t, t') = I.

(1.30)

The operator T, for fixed t and 'T, is defined apart from a constant phase factor. Things can, however, be arranged in such a way that T satisfies the relations

T(t', t') = I,

T(t, t') = T(t, to) T(t", t'), [T(t, 1')]-1 = TI(t, t') = tu; t).

(1.31a) (1.31b) (1.31c)

Even then some freedom is left in the operator T. In fact given a T(t, t') satisfying Eq. (1.31)

T'(t, t') = exp{i[y(t) - yet')]} T(t, t'),

1.4 Time Translations and Equations of Motion

25

where yet) is an arbitrary real time-dependent c-number function, also satisfies Eq. (l.31).

Let us now determine the explicit form of the operator T. We start from the equation of motion for the generic classical observable c.:cl(t), which is chosen to be not explicitly dependent upon the time:

where 'T is infinitesimal and Hcl(t) is the classical Hamiltonian. The quantum equation that yields in the limit fz --+ 0 the above classical equation of motion for the expectation values of the quantum observable a is

i

(.p(t + T), IX .p(t + T» = (.p(t), IX "'(t» -" T(.p(t), [ex, H(t)] .p(t», (1.32a)

where H(t) is the quantum Hamiltonian. H(t) is self-adjoint. From this equation we get

I

TI(t + T, t) ex T(t + T, t) = IX - f T[ IX, H(t)].

(1.32b)

This is the equation that, in the case of an infinitesimal time translation,

plays the role of Eq. (1.25). .

Multiplying Eq. (1.32b) from the left by TI(t, to) and from the right by T(t, to) and using Eq. (1.31b) we get

i

TI(t + T, to) a T(t + T, to) = TI(t, to) a T(t, to) - Ii T TI(t, to) [a, H(t)] T(t, to)·

(1.33)

We write T(t + 'T, to) as follows:

T(t + T, to) = (I - ~ T F(t») T(t, to). (1.34)

In order to ensure the unitarity of T, the operator F(t) must satisfy

Ft(t) = F(t).

Equation (1.33) then implies

[ex,F(t)] = [a, H(t)].

Since a is a generic observable, we finally get

F(t) = H(t),

26

1 GENERAL CONSIDERATIONS ON THE SYMMETRY PROBLEM

apart from an arbitrary additive constant that may depend on the time. Equation (1.34) implies

. dT(t t)

,n --' _0 = R(t) T(t t)

dt ' o·

(1.35)

Multiplying Eq, (1.35) on the right times "'(to} we get the Shrodinger equation for the state vector,

in d~~t) = R(t) .p(t).

(1.36)

From Eq. (1.34) we get the Hamiltonian in terms of the time-translation operator:

R(t) = in lim [T(t + 7, t) - 1] .

7~O T

(1.37)

Therefore, knowledge of T implies knowledge of H. Using the hermitian conjugate of Eq. (1.35) and Eq. (1.3Ic) we also get

in dT(to, t) = -T(t t) R(t)

dt 0,·

(1.38)

An explicit. form for T(t, to} can be obtained by integrating Eq. (1.35) or (1.38) with the boundary condition T(to , to} = I:

(1.39)

where P is the time-ordering operator defined by

(il > t.), (t2 > tl).

I~ H does no~ de~end ~xplicitly on t (this comes from the requirement of time-translation mvanance: see Section 1.6.4), the time-development operator T takes the form

T(t, to) = exp[ -(ifn) R(t - to)].

(1.40)

!n t~is case an .additive real constant c number independent of the time IS still left free In the definition of H.

Equation (1.32a) is equivalent to the differential equation

iii d(.p(t)d; .p(t» = (.p(t), [<x, H(t)] .p(t»,

(1.41 a)

1.4 Time Translations and Equations of Motion

27

which, in the case when <X is explicitly dependent on the time, must be modified in the following way:

in d(.p(t)'a;.p(t» = (.p(t), [<x(t), R(t)] .p(t» + in (.p(t), a~~t) .p(t»). (1.41b)

We say that <x(t) is a constant of the motion if it satisfies [<x(t), R(t)] + in a~~t) = 0,

(1.42)

since, from Eq. (1.4Ib), we have d(.p(t}, <x(t) "'(t»/dt = O. A constant of the motion, besides having a constant expectation value, has the property that its eigenvalues and the probability of finding an eigenvalue as a result of a measurement are constant in time even if ex itself depends

. explicitly on the time.

The picture of motion here considered, in which the state vectors are time-dependent and the observables not explicitly depending on the time are constant, is the so-called Schrodinger picture. One could also consider the Heisenberg picture of motion where the state vectors are fixed in time and the observables are time-dependent. This picture is obtained from the Schrodinger picture by transforming all vectors and observables by the unitary transformation Tt(t, to):

.pH == Tt(t, to) .p(t) = .p(to), <XH(t) == Tt(t, to) <x(t) T(t, to)·

Using Eq. (1.41 b) we get

in d<X;t(t) = [etH(t), RH(t)] + in (a;~t)t '

(1.43)

which is the Heisenberg form of the equations of motion.' For the quantum Hamiltonian we immediately get

dRH(t) = ( oR(t) )

dt at H'

(1.44)

which classically reads

I The function (ocx(t)/ot)H is obtained by replacing the fundamental observables contained in ocr:(t)/ot of the Schrddinger picture by the corresponding observables of the Heisenberg picture.

28

GENERAL CONSIDERATIONS ON THE SYMMETRY PROBLEM

1.5 Relations Between Various Quantities of Different Observers

29

Equation (1.42), expressing the conservation of the observable cx, in the Heisenberg picture reads

where the upper (lower) sign holds for the case of linear (antilinear) o//(t). We have therefore

dCXH(t) = o. dt

(1.45)

iii d.p~(t) = H(t) .po(t),

(1.47)

1.5 Relations Between Various Quantities of Different Observers

where .po(t) = o//(t) .fo(t) and

H(t) = ±%'(t) H(t) %,t(t) + iii o~~t) %'t(t).

(1.48)

1.5.1 RELATIONS BETWEEN THE TIME-EVOLUTION OPERATORS. We now return to our general problem. We have two different observers 0 and 0, who describe quantum mechanically the physical events that they observe. If 0 and 0 are observing the same physical system S, as we have discussed in great detail before, there exists either a linear or antilinear unitary operator o//(t), which may depend explicitly on the time, whose application to the state vector .fo(to) used by 0 to describe the system S at his own time to , gives the state .po(to) which 0 assigns to the physical system at his own time to . Let us call T(t, to) and T(t, to) the time-evolution operators for 0 and (5 respectively. We are interested in determining the relation occurring between these two operators. We have by definition

H(t) is the energy operator for 0, H(t) is the corresponding energy operator for O. Of course H(t), as given by Eq. (1.48), coincides with

H(t) = lim iii [ T(t + 'T, t) - I],

'1"---1'0 T

(1.49)

.fo(t) = T(t, to) .po(to) = T(t, to) %'(to) .po(to), .po(t) = %'(t) .po(t) = %'(t) T(t, to) .po(to)'

with 't given by Eq. (1.46). For the expectation values of the energy evaluated by (5 and 0, respectively, we get

(.po(t), H(t) .po(t» = ±(.po(t). H(t) .po(t» ± iii (.po(t). %'t(t) a~?) .po(t»). (1.50)

There follows, .fo(to) being an arbitrary vector,

We remind the reader that the upper (lower) sign corresponds to linear (antilinear) OII(t). To get Eq. (1.50) for the case of antilinear o//(t) use has been made of the two relations

(1.46)

Ht= H,

which is the desired relation.

%'t(t) o%'(t) = _ o%'t(t) %'(t)

at ot'

1.5.2 ENERGY TRANSFORMATION PROPERTIES. We now discuss the transformation properties of the energy operator in going from an observer 0 to an observer (5.

Suppose that 0 establishes for the system S the Schrodinger equation

iii d"'~(t) = H(t) .po(t).

where the second comes from the unitarity of OII(t). Equation (1.50) shows that the energy mean value is not the same for the two observers if the transformation is time dependent. A typical example is that given by a Galilei transformation where the kinetic energy of the relative motion of the center of mass appears at the right-hand side [for details see Section 2.5.2, Eq. (2.108)]. The minus sign of the first term on the right-hand side, which appears when the transformation is antilinear, looks rather strange, since it gives the impression that the energy changes sign under that transformation. \Ve shall see, however, in the case when this type of transformation applies [time reversal, Section 2.7, Eq. (2.184)] that this is not so, since a counterterm comes from the second term on the right-hand side.

Let (5 be related to 0 by the unitary transformation '?I(t), which may depend explicitly on the time. We shall then have

±iIi %'(t) d"'%t(t) = [%'(t) H(t) %'t(t)] %'(t) .po(t),

30

GENERAL CONSIDERATIONS ON THE SYMMETRY PROBLEM

1.6 Symmetry Principles in the Passive Point of View

1.6.1 DEFINITION OF INVARIANCE AND SELECTION RULES. We say that an invariance or symmetry principle exists for a given physical system S and transformation CIlI(t) if the physical laws, expressed for S by the observer 0 in his coordinate system, also hold good for the same system S in the coordinate system of the observer 0:

in d"':?) = H(t) %(t), in dofro(t) = H(t) .p(j(t)

dt .

Comparison of the last equation with Eq. (1.47), since "'o(t) spans the whole Hilbert space, shows that the Hamiltonian H coincides with H:

H(t) = H(t).

(1.51)

which gives, for the time-evolution operators,

'1'( t, to) = T( t, to).

From Eq. (1.46) we also get

T(t, to) O//(to) = O//(t) T(t, to)'

(1.52)

(1.53)

Of course, Eq. (1.52) also implies Eq. (1.51).

In this way, we have found a symmetry principle holding for the particular system S taken into consideration. Knowledge of all symmetries of the system S would amount to having completely solved its quantum mechanical equations of motion. Our main interest, however, is not to find all symmetries of a particular physical system but, rather, to discover those symmetries that are shared by several physical systems of our world. If all physical systems are invariant under a given transformation, then we say that we have discovered a symmetry principle in nature.

We shall now show how the invariance requirement furnishes selection rules. In Section 1.6.3 we shall see how conservation laws for certain dynamical observables are obtained under the hypothesis of invariance.

Equation (1.52) yields the invariance of the S matrix under the generic unitary transformation CIlI(t). The S matrix is defined by the observer 0 through the limits (see, for example, Ref. 2.7)

Sn = ,~~ Tr(O, t) T(t, to) T;(to, 0),

to-'+-OO

(1.54)

1.6 Symmetry Principles in the Passive Point of View

31

where T, and T', are the time-development operators for the free f~agments in t~e final and initial state, respectively. That is, Tr and T, gIVe the evolutions of the fragments when only the interactions between the particles of each fragment are considered while the interactions between particles belonging to different fragments are switched off. The observer 0 defines his S matrix as

Sf! = lim '1',(0, t) T(t, to) TI(to , 0).

t +oo

to -o:o

From Eq. (1.46) we then get

Sn = ,~!! all(0) Tr(O, t) %,t(t) OJt(t) T(t, to) 0Jt%) OJt(to) TI(to , 0) OJtt(O)

to ..... -o::l

= all(0) SlI %,t(O).

(1.55)

The invariance requirements l' = T, Tr = Tf, and r, = Ti tell us that"

SlI = Sf!,

(1.56)

that is,

[0Jt(0), Sri] = o.

(1.57)

From Eq. (1.57) selection rules are immediately obtained. Suppose now that the unitary operator CIlI is linear (the case of antilinear 0Jt will be discussed in Section 2.7) and that the initial and final states CPi and CPt are eigenvectors of <fI(O) for the eigenvalues ui and ur , respectively. We get

o = (cpr, [%'(0), SliJ CPI) = (ur - Ui)(cpr, Sri'Pi), (1.58)

so that, if Ui =F Uf , the considered matrix element of Sf! vanishes and we have a forbidden transition. Using Eq. (1.57) and the linear unitarity of %'"(0), we also have for two generic states rPi and rPI

(</>I , Sfi</>i) = (</>I , <fI(O) O/It(O) SII</>i) = ('f/t(O) </>1 , Sn 0/If(0) </>i),

(1.59)

which is the statement of the symmetry of nature under the considered linear and unitary transformation %'" in terms of the S matrix.

* Note that for the way in which the operator Sli is defined, Eq. (1.55) does not hold if "'(t) contains a time translation because we should use different ""s for transforming T, Tl, and Tr.

32

GENERAL CONSIDERATIONS ON THE SYMMETRY PROBLEM

1.6.2 SYMMETRY PRINCIPLES AND FORM OF THE OPERATORS cpf(O, 0).

As stated in Section 1.3.3, the operator cpf that gives the translation from the language of 0 to that of 0 depends in general both on the initial and on the final frame of reference. That is to say, if we have four observers 0, 0, 0', and 0', and the observer (j' stays in the same relation with respect to 0' that 0 stays to O-i.e., if 0 is translated, rotated, etc., with respect to 0, 0' is translated, rotated, etc., by the same amount with respect to 0' -in general we shall have

0/1(0',0') -=I:- cpf(O, 0).

This seems obvious, for example, in the case of pure time translations. In fact, if we do not have invariance under time translations, H depends explicitly on the time and therefore the time-evolution operator T depends explicitly both on the initial and on the final instant of time. If we have invariance under all the transformations connecting the four considered observers 0, 0, 0', and 0', we have H ~ H = H' = H'. From Eq. (1.25), and its analogue for time translations Eq. (1.32b), it follows immediately that under these hypotheses we have

%'(0',0') = w 0/1(0, 0),

(1.60)

where w is a constant phase matrix [see Eq. (1.22)] of no physical meaning, We can therefore conclude that if we have a group of transformations and the physical theory is invariant under all the transformations of the group, then the operators giving the vector mappings corresponding to the transformations from one observer to another do not depend on the initial and final reference frames but only on the transformation of the group that connects them. This point is very important for what follows. It will be rediscussed in more detail in Section 1.10.

1.6.3 CONSERVATION LAWS. In this section consideration will be given to linear transformations. These in fact are the only ones for which conservation laws can be obtained.

If the theory is invariant under the linear transformation cpf(t), from Eqs. (1.48) and (1.51) we get the following expression:

[cpf(t), H(t)] + in o~y) = 0,

(1.61a)

or, in the Heisenberg picture,

d"llH(I) = 0

dt .

(1.61b)

1.6 Symmetry Principles in the Passive Point of View

33

If cpf does not depend explicitly on the time, Eq. (1.61a) becomes [%', H(t)] = O.

(1.62)

Of course, if cpf(t) satisfies Eq. (1.61) or Eq. (1.62) so does cpft(t). Equation (1.61b) tells us that the operators cpfH(t) and cpfHt(t) are constants of motion. If cpf(t), besides being linear and unitary, is selfadjoint then Eq. (1.61) corresponds to the conservation law of a physical observable. However, the considered linear and unitary operator cpf(t) is in general not hermitian, so that Eq. (1.61) does not in general directly correspond to a conservation law for a physical observable. Nevertheless the two operators cpf(t) + cpft(t) and i(cpf(t) - cpft(t» are constant in time, and, being self-adjoint, they are conserved physical observables if they commute with the superselection operators of the set e. One has therefore two conserved quantities for each transformation under which the system is invariant. If, however, we have invariance under a continuous transformation group, the conserved quantities obtained from all the transformations of the group are not all independent. As we shall see in Section 1.10., in this case the transformations cpf(t) give a representation of the transformation group. Suppose that the group is a Lie group G of order m (see Chapter 3 for more details). Let us indicate with aI' a2, ... am the parameters of the gr~up and with I} , 12"", 1m the corresponding infinitesimal operators

-I.e.,

<FI(a} , a2 , ••• , am , t) = exp [L a,I,(t) l

,

(1.63)

Then it can be shown that every infinitesimal operator corresponds to a certain conserved physical quantity and that all the conservation laws related to elements of the group G follow from the m conservation laws related to the m infinitesimal operators. * In fact, from Eq. (1.6la)

["lI( ) H()] + 'n o<FI(al, a2 , ••• , am , t) = 0,

at , a2 , ... , am , t , t t . at

(1.64a)

or, in the Heisenberg picture,

d"llH(al , a2 , ••• , am , t)

dt = 0,

(l.64b)

* If %'(t) does not belong to a continuous group of transformations, it can be written just the same as %'(t) = .'AIl) with A(t) self-adjoint. If 'i'/(t) satisfies Eq. (1.61), the same does not hold, in general, far A(t). Take for example the case of one nonrelativistic particle in one dimension in a periodic field H = pO/2m + g sin q/l. A spatial translation of 21T111 (n integer) is induced as we shall see in Sectian 2.3, by the %' operator exp[(i/Ii)21T111pj. It is immediately seen that Eq. (1.61) is satisfied so that exp[(i/Ii)21T11Ipj is constant in time. Nevertheless, the momentum p is not a conserved quantity.

34

GENERAL CONSIDERATIONS ON THE SYMMETRY PROBLEM

by differentiating with respect to the parameter aj and then putting a1 = a2 = .. , = am = 0 (identity element of G), we get

[1;(t), H(t») + iii a1~~t) = 0,

(1.65a)

or equivalently

d1,"H(t) = 0

dt .

(1.65b)

That is, the infinitesimal operators are constants of motion. Since in a unitary representation the infinitesimal operators are skew-hermitian, we get only one conserved quantity for each infinitesimal operator. Obviously, the contrary also holds-i.e., Eq. (1.65) implies Eq. (1.61) for all operators !fI(t) of the group, since any transformation !fI(a1 , a2 , ... , am , t) can be obtained by iteration of infinitesimal transformations.

The logical chain is then establised:

Symmetry principle lj

Invariance of the theory lj Conservation law

The main difference we have in quantum theories as against classical theories is that in the classical case this logical chain can be established only when there is invariance under a continuous group of transformations, while in quantum theories invariance under a single linear transformation !fI(t), which commutes with the superselection operators of the set 8, also yields a conservation law for a physical observable. The contrary is also true. That is, if we discover a conservation law, we have then invariance of the laws of nature under a certain class of transformations and consequently a symmetry principle has been found.

The logical chain established above yields a very powerful practical method for discovering or testing the validity of a symmetry principle. It is in fact just from the experimental verification that energy and linear and angular momentum are conserved that we infer the invariance of the laws of nature under time translations, space translations, and space rotations, respectively. In the same way it is from the violation of a conservation law or of a selection rule that we infer the nonvalidity of a supposed symmetry of nature.

Before concluding this section we point out that when we have

1.6 Symmetry Principles in the Passive Point of View

35

invariance of the theory under a group G of transformations, the m constants of motion I; will in general not be all simultaneously measurable, since the infinitesimal generators of the group do not commute. The symmetry under the group G does not give rise to m "good quantum numbers." The maximum number of possible good quantum numbers will be determined by the rank of the group-i.e., by the maximum number of commuting infinitesimal generators. Moreover, we recall that for a given Lie group there exist certain operators, built up from the infinitesimal generators, that commute with all the elements of the group. These are the so-called invariants of the group or Casimir operators. Clearly they are also constants of the motion, and since they commute with all the infinitesimal operators they also give rise to good quantum numbers.

1.6.4 TIME- TRANSLATION INVARIANCE. Let us now consider the particular case of time translations. Of course, also in this case we could proceed as in Section 1.6.3 in order to construct a conservation law; The transformation operator is

'fI.(t) == T(t + T, t),

(1.66)

and use of Eq. (1.61a) would show that H does not depend explicitly on the time. * It is much simpler, however, to consider the Schrodinger equation for I/Io(t) and use the fact that in this case I/Io(t) = "'o(t + 7) [see Eq. (1.30)]. Then again we get Eq. (1.47) with

R(t) = H(t + 'T).

Invariance requires

H(t) = R(t) == H(t + 'T),

(1.67)

from which we see that H does not depend explicitly on the time. From Eq. (1.44) we obtain

dHH(t) = 0

dt '

(1.68)

which means conservation of energy. This therefore is the consequence of the assumed homogeneity of time.

* One would get in fact

from which, using Eq, (1.61a), Eq. (1.67) follows.

36

1 GENERAL CONSIDERATIONS ON THE SYMMETRY PROBLEM

1.7 Active Points of View

1.7.1 GENERAL CONSIDERATIONS. In the foregoing we have assumed the so-called passive point of view. It consists in assuming that the transformation .p _.. 171!.p corresponds simply to a translation in the language of 0 of the laws of nature established by 0 for the system S and not to a change of the state of affairs of the physical system. This holds true also for time translations where .po(t) and .po(t) are different descriptions of the same "state sub specie aeternitatis" defined over the whole time axis. If the considered transformation leaves invariant the mathematical form of the physical laws, we say that an invariance or symmetry principle has been established.

The passive point of view, two observers and one physical system, is often used in practice, especially in the study of large systems-e.g., the planetary system. However, in order to discuss deeply the concept of invariance, it is convenient to introduce yet another point of view, which we shall call the "first active" point of view, in which we have two observers 0 and 0 and two physical systems Sand S. The observer 0 compares measurements performed by him at his time to on S with the measurements that 0 performs at his time to on S. At the considered times (to for 0 and to for 0) S is related to 0 just as S is to O. By this we mean the following: The two observers introduce, to characterize the description of the physical systems that they observe, an irreducible set of observables. It is first of all assumed that the system S and the system S are characterized by the same irreducible set of observables, so that the Hilbert spaces used by 0 and (J coincide. We say then that the system S is related to 0 just as S is to 0 if the expectation values of the operators of the considered irreducible set coincide for 0 and 0, respectively. This means that the same vector .p describes the state of the system S for the observer 0 and the state of the system S for the observer O. This new description consists then in the realization of identical initial conditions for two systems Sand S in two reference frames 0 and 0, respectively, and in the observation of the further evolution of these two systems as viewed by their corresponding observers.

It is obvious that in order to prepare the state of the system S and to make measurements on it, the observer 0 must use apparatuses different from those used by 0 to prepare the state of S and to make the corresponding measurements on it. For corresponding measurement we mean here that if 0 is measuring, for example, the distance of a particle of S from the origin of his frame of reference, 0 is measuring the distance of the corresponding particle of S from the origin of his frame of

1.7 Active Points of View

37

~eferen~. In the case when the transformation leading from 0 to (J IS, for. instance, a space transla~on or rotation, the simplest way of prepanng the state of the system S is to displace or rotate the apparatuses that 0 uses to prepare the state of S. * Strictly speaking this is true in general only if nature is invariant under the considered transformation. As .will b~ clear in ~hat.follows, h?wever~ ther: is little use in considering active points of view If nature IS not mvanant under the considered transformation.

Let us consider a few examples to better explain this "active" description.

a. Time translations. 0 and 0 have their measurement apparatuses time-translated with respect to each other. The system S is described ~ 0 a~ h~s time to by means of the state vector .p, and S is described by o at his time to by means of the same state vector .p. Notice that at the instant to of 0, O's clock shows the time to + T and his system S has undergone evolution, being then described by the state vector .p' =f::. .p. The various situations are illustrated in Fig. 1.1.

c-'I System S ~ evolved

0/"- _

o,}- _

0;- _

instant to of 0

insl~nl 10 of 0= instant lo+t of 0

instant to .. t of 0

Figure 1.1

b. Space translations and space rotations. Take now the case of the combination of a space translation and a space rotation of the measuring apparatus of (j with respect to the apparatus of O. We have then the situation illustrated in Fig. 1.2. Since .p describes both the state of S !s seen from 0 and the state of S as seen by 0 at their common time to , S is obtained from S by the same combination of space translation and space rotation.

t We do not, however, need to operate in this way, since our aim is only to get the same state e for 0 and 0, respectively.

38

1 GENERAL CONSIDERATIONS ON THE SYMMETRY PROBLEM

Figure 1.2

c. Space reflection. Take now the interesting case in which t~e observer 0 uses a coordinate system that differs from that of 0 only m the orientation of the y axis. Again the same state vector .p is used by 0 to describe S and by 0 to describe S at their common_time to' We have then the situation illustrated in Fig. 1.3. The system S is the mirror

System S

..... ----------~ 0

Figure 1.3

image, through the plane xz, of the system S. Of course, the measuring apparatuses of 0 and 0 are also mirror images of each other. It goes without saying that in the three-dimensional euclidean space the system S cannot be reached with a rotation of S.

1. 7 Active Points of View

39

d. Matter-antimatter or charge conjugation. Consider now the case in which the observers 0 and 0 assign a different sign to the electric charge. What is +e for 0 is -e for O. We then meet, for instance; the following situation. 0 is studying the properties of the system S composed of a particle of mass me and charge -e for him (electron) and il particle of mass mp and charge +e for him (proton). He communicates his results to 0, who wants to reproduce this experiment. As shown iii Fig. 1.4, 0 then takes the system S composed of a particle of maSsm~

m .. -t •

System 5 •• viewed by 0

System S for 0

System 5 for 0

o,~ ~

o'!- _

o,~-----_

Figure 1.4

and charge -e for him (positron) and a particle of mass mp and charge +e for him (antiproton). These particles with respect to 0 have the same masses of the particles that 0 previously considered, but opposite charges. This means that S has been obtained from S via the operation of substituting each particle of S by its antiparticle. A way for 0 to prepare S would in this case be to build up apparatuses made of antimatter if those of 0 are made of matter.

Going to the ultimate consequences of the preceding considerations, if we wish to verify charge-conjugation invariance in the spirit of the first active point of view-i.e., by considering an experiment and its charge conjugated-we must also assume that while the observer 0 is made of matter, the observer 0 is made of antimatter. In quantum theories, in fact, the observer himself must be taken into account as an essential element of the experiment.

Particle exchange and rotations in the isotopic spin space are transformations that share with matter-antimatter conjugation the very fact of being based on different conventions for the labeling of certain properties of the particles. They can then be discussed on the same lines as above.

40

GENERAL CONSIDERATIONS ON THE SYMMETRY PROBLEM

1.7.2. SYMMETRY PRINCIPLES IN THE FIRST ACTIVE POINT OF VIEW.

The criteria of invariance can be formulated with greater generality in the first active point of view, since here the observers 0 and () compare results of similar experiments rather than laws of motion. In particular, in this point of view, the symmetry principles can be discussed without making use of the concept of the Hamiltonian.

The weakest invariance requirement is that which can be given in terms of transition probabilities. The observer 0 is making an experiment on his physical system S during the time interval (to , t). He obtains an array of transition probabilities

(1.69a)

where the X/s are states taken as samples for the considered process. The observer () repeats this experiment on his physical system S during his time interval (to , t) and compares his transition probabilities, with the same sample states,

(1.69b)

with those of O. If Pdt, to) = Pdt, to) for all X/s and all times to and t, we say that a symmetry principle has been discovered in nature.' From the assumed equality of Eqs. (1.69a) and (1.69b) we easily get (see Appendix l a)

T(t, to) = exp[i<p(t, to)] T(t, to),

(1.70)

where the phase 'P may depend on t and to . From Eq. (1.70), using the composition law Eq. (1.3Ib) for both T and T, we immediately get that

<p(t, to) = {(t) + Wo).

From Eq. (1.31c) we finally get

<p(t, to) = Il(t) - Il(to)'

The requirement of symmetry of nature under the operation represented by the unitary transformation ~(t) can therefore be formulated as follows:

T(t, to) ~ 'Ft(t) T(t, to) 'Ftt(to) = exp{i[8(t) - Il(to)]} T(t, to). (1.71)

; We should like to stress here the obvious fact that the operator T that gives the evolution of the system S as viewed by 6 also gives the evolution of S as viewed by the same observer 0, since the states of Sand S are described by vectors of the same Hilbert space.

1.7 Active Points of View

41

Let us first suppose that ~ is linear and depends explicitly on the time (the case of antilinear ~ will be considered in Section 2.7.4). It is clear from the structure of this equation that we can dispose of the freedom (phase factor) that is left in the transformations ~(t) and T(t, to) in such a way that the phase on the right-hand side disappears. In fact let us redefine these operators as follows:

'Ft'(t) = exp[ -i Il(t)] 'Ft(t),

r-«; to) = exp{ -i[ll(t) - 8(to)]} T(t, to).

Calling once again ~ and T the new transformations ~' and T', we finally get

(1.72)

The invariance requirement, if formulated through Eq. (1.72), implies that there is no time-dependent phase free in the linear unitary operator ~(t).; Of course, a constant phase is still arbitrary in ~(t).

The particular case of invariance under time translations is slightly more complicated. The equation of invariance corresponding to Eq. (1.72) now reads

T(t, to) == T(t + .,., to + .,.) = T(t, to).

(1.73)

FOI; the proof of this equation see Appendix I b. We note that if the invariance under time translations is formulated through Eq. (1.73), only a phase of the type

T'(t, to) = exp[ic(t - to)] T(t, to),

(1.74)

is left free in the time-evolution operator, and this leaves an additional constant c number free in the definition of the Hamiltonian as already anticipated in Section 104.

Suppose now that the unitary operator ~ is linear and does not depend explicitly on the time. Equation (1.71) then reads

T(t, to) == 'Ft T(t, to) 'Ft' = exp[i Il(t)] exp[ -i 8(to)] T(t, to). (1.75)

In this case we can immediately see that S cannot depend on t. The linear unitary operator ~t possesses a complete set of normalizable eigenvectors. Taking then the matrix element of Eq. (1.75) between two such eigenvectors, we see that exp[i S(t)] exp[ -i S(to)] cannot depend on t and to' We then get

T(t, to) ~ 'Ft T(t, to) 'Ftt = T(t,to).

(1.76)

* A typical case is that of special Galilei transformations (Section 2.5).

42

GENERAL CONSIDERATIONS ON THE SYMMETRY PROBLEM

Of course, a constant phase is again free in ~. Equation (1.76) and its analog in the case of time-dependent ~ are the same as those obtained from the passive point of view. From them we thus get conservation laws.

If the observer 0 at his own time to prepares his system S in the state .p, and 0 at his own time to prepares his system S in the same (for him) state .p, they find at a later time t

T( t, to) '" = "'oS< i), T(t, to) '" = "'os(t).

If we have invariance, T(t, to) = T(t, to), then "'osCt) = "'osCi).

The requirement of invariance tells us then that whatever the motion of the physical system S with respect to 0, the very same motion is also physically realizable by the physical system S with respect to 0. In other words, the symmetry established at the initial time to is preserved as time goes on.

It is interesting to see the implications of the invariance requirements in the case when the two observers 0 and 0 compare only scattering experiments. That is, we require only invariance of the S-matrix elements:

(1.77)

From this equation, since Sfi = ~(O) S« ~t(O), we get (see Appendix la)

%'(0) Su %"(0) = ei'PSu .

(1.78)

The linear unitary operator ~t has a complete set of normalizable eigenvectors. Taking the matrix element of Eq. (1.78) between two such eigenvectors we see that the phase 'P must be zero." We get

[~(O), SII] = 0,

(1.79)

which is the Eq. (1.57) obtained in Sect. 1.6.1 from which selection rules follow immediately. We finally point out that in general Eq. (1.51) or Eq. (1.52) does not follow from Eq. (1.57).

* As a matter of fact, a very peculiar case exists in which Eq, (1.77) holds but cp does not vanish. This happens when the S matrix, in the representation in which fI is diagonal, has all diagonal elements zero and only one element different from zero in each row and column. Moreover, the eigenvalues of tft are also related to each other in a very definite way. However, in this case we do not have invariance of the cross sections, so that nature is not invariant under the considered transformation.

1.7 Active Points of View

43

1.?.3 . FAILURE OF TH_E ACTIVE POINT OF VIEw. The first active point of view IS often used m practice. Just think of different laboratories

. loc~ted at different places on the earth and working at different times trymg to reproduce a certain experiment performed, say, in Geneva at CERN. Obtaining identical results at the various laboratories amounts to a test that the laws of nature governing the considered process are invariant under space translations and rotations, under time translations, and even under special Lorentz transformations (of low speed) since the earth is moving with different modalities at the different times and places of the considered laboratories. Actually, so far the outcome of all experimen~s of the various. laboratories spread on the earth is the same, supporting the hypothesis that at least locally in this region and time of the universe all laws of nature are invariant under the transformations of the restricted inhomogeneous Lorentz group.

We must, however, call the reader's attention to the fact that the active point of view may fail to exist at all. * This description will certainly be possible when nature is invariant under the considered transformation or, even when invariance is not established in nature, if all states physically ral~able for the observer 0 are physically realizable also for the observer O. When, however, the observer 0 is not able to reproduce in his coordinate system all the physically realizable states of the observer 0, then this active point of view is no longer possible. On the other hand, the very fact that ~ertain states of 0 are not physically realizable, even conceptually, for 0 leads to the conclusion that nature is not invariant under the considered transformation.

A typical example is that given by the neutrino. § Recent experiments strongly suggest that this particle travels with the velocity of light and that it spins around the direction of motion only in a clockwise manner. We say that the neutrino is left-handed. Therefore the mirror image of a neutrino does not exist in nature, and no active point of view is possible for t~e space reflection transformation at least for systems containing neutrinos. It follows that nature is not invariant· under space reflections. This point will be discussed in more detail in Section 1.8.

1.7.4 THE SECOND ACTIVE POINT OF VIEw. When the first active point of view is possible, we can also consider the system S realized

* An analogous assertion has been made for the passive point of view (see the second footnote in Section 1.3.1). However, the passive point of view may fail to exist only for very particular physical theories.

I The neutral massless particle • which appears in fl-decay, n -+ p + e- + ii, is the antineutrino. This is actually the so-called electron antineutrino to distinguish it from the muon antineutrino which appears in pion decays.

44

GENERAL CONSIDERATIONS ON THE SYMMETRY PROBLEM

by (J as a possible system for the observer O. The state of the sy~tem ~ as viewed by 0 is described by means of the state vector OIl'", If OIl IS the unitary operator corresponding to the considered relation between 0 and O. This way of considering the transformation will be called hereafter the "second active" point of view. In this point of view, therefore, the operator OIl" when applied to the state '" describin~ the physica!_ system S, gives a state that corresponds. to a n~w ph!slcal syste~ S as veiwed by the same observer. The relation of S to S IS the following:

If, for instance, 0 is shifted by the vector I or r~tated through an angle w about a certain axis with respect to 0, then S is shifted by the vector lor rotated through ~ with respect to S.

We now wish to compare the three points of view introduced so far-i.e., the so-called passive point of view introduced in Section 1.3, the first active point of view of Sections 1.7.1, 1.7.2, and 1.7.3, and the second active point of view now introduced.

a. The passive point of view. We have (at the initial times to for 0 and to for 0):

Two state Two different
One physical vectors for evolution
Two observers system its description operators
0 S '" T
o S crt", T = crtTcrt' The invariance of the theory in this point of view is formulated through the requirement of equality of the equations of motion, which amounts to

(1.80)

b. The first active point of view. We have (at the initial times to for 0 and to for 0):

Two different
Two physical One state evolution
Two observers systems vector operators
0 S '" T
0 S '" T = crtTcrt' In this point of view the invariance of the theory is formulated through the requirement of equality of transition probabilities:

(1.81)

1.7 Active Points of View

45

This relation, using the arbitrary phase factor of the operator OIl, has been shown to be equivalent to the requirement given by Eq. (1.80).

c. The second active point of view. We have in this case (at the initial time to):*

Two physical Two state One evolution
One observer systems vectors operator
0 S '" T
0 S crt'", T In this point of view we can introduce another operator, OII't(t), defined in the following way: for t = to it coincides with OII'(to), while for arbitrary t it transforms the evolved of Ij!(to) into the evolved of OIIt(to) Ij!(to) -i.e.,

(1.82)

In Fig. 1.5 we have pictured this situation in the case when crt' corresponds to a displacement in space. From Eq. (1.82) we get

(1.83)

The invariance requirement in this point of view is obviously expressed as follows: The evolved of the transformed of the ray 'F coincides with the transformed of the evolved of the ray 'F-i.e., in terms of transition probabilities,

(1.84)

Remembering that T = OIITOII" the requirement given by Eq. (1.84) coincides with the requirement of Eq. (1.81) and therefore with that of Eq. (1.80) from which, using Eq. (1.83), we get

q,{'(t) = q,{(t).

(1.85)

This can also be understood from Fig. 1.5 in a descriptive way.

* We remind the reader that in all three points of view the operators that refer to intrinsic properties of the system are the same for the different observers. Instead, for external fields we must remember that in going from 0 to 0 we have to transform the external field in accordance with Eq. (1.28) (see the discussion of Section 1.3.3). Of course, in the second active point of view the external fields must remain unchanged, since we have only one observer.

46

1 GENERAL CONSID,J,llMTIONS ON THE SYMMETRY PR~BLEM

Figure I.S

Equation (1.85) can be assumed as the definition of invariance in this

point of view. .. . .

We should like to point out that no new insight into the problem IS obtained by looking at this second active point of view (one observer, two systems) rather than sticking to the first active P?int of vi~w (two observers, two systems). It may turn out that certain reasonmgs are better understood here than there. Usually it is this second active point of view that is used in textbooks on symmetries and referred to as the "active point of view." As a last remark we stress here that complete equivalence of the two active points of view holds only for those transformations for which the reference frames used (in the first active point of view) by 0 and () can physically be changed into each other. (A coordinate system, for instance, can actually be rotated or set into motion). For other types of transformations, as for instance the discrete transformations of space reflection, time reversal, charge conjugation, and so on, it may be practically impossible to realize the transformed reference frame. This would in fact correspond, as we have discussed in Section 1.7.1, to having an observer () who uses meauring apparatuses that are the space- or time-reflected equivalents of those used by 0, or that are made of antimatter if those of 0 are made of matter. Even

1.8 On The Equivalence of Reference Frames

47

if the space- or time-reflected or charge-conjugated equivalents of the apparatuses used by 0 cannot be practically realized, however, it can happen that the single observer 0 is able to realize both the state Sand the state S-i.e., its space- or time-reflected state or its charge- conjugated state. In such cases the second active point of view of formulating the problem can be considered, in principle, to be more satisfactory.

1.8 On The Equivalence of Reference Frames

We now wish to discuss the connection existing between the invariance properties of nature and the possibility that different observers have of revealing by means of physical experiments the differences existing between them. For clarity we shall repeat some of the basic concepts of the first active point of view.

Let us suppose, as usual, that we have two observers 0 and () who use different reference frames in order to build up their descriptions of the physical world. Here the term reference frame is taken in its largest accepted meaning, also including the possibility that they differ in the convention of definition of the charge they call positive, in the choice of the direction of time, and so on. We suppose that they can communicate, for example by transmitting signals to each other, but that they have no possibility of transmitting objects that can be used as samples in order to fix a certain convention. Also, the equivalent possibility that they can make reference to the same object to fix the considered convention is excluded. For example, if 0 is teaching (J the convention he uses to distinguish right from left, he could send him a sample of a right hand or send him a beam of right-circularly-polarized light, but he could also make reference to the relative positions of four noncoplanar fixed stars to define a right-handed system of axes. We exclude all these possibilities.

The problem can then be formulated in the following way: Can a given observer () realize that he is using different conventions from the other by simply translating into his own language the information transmitted by 0 on the outcome of experiments made by 0 in his own laboratory? Let us put the problem in a more precise mathematical form.

The first observer 0 prepares a certain physical situation S, which he describes by means of the so-called initial conditions. In quantum mechanics, as we have seen, they are embodied in the assignment of the state vector !{I(to) at the time to of O. Then he follows the evolution of the system, and at any later time he knows the probability that a measure-

48

GENERAL CONSIDERATIONS ON THE SYMMETRY PROBLEM

ment of any given observable gives a certain result. The observer 0 transmits this information to O. Since 0 uses different conventions, he reproduces at his time to as initial condition a state that he also calls .p(to), but which is objectively different from the one considered by O. We have here therefore just the situation occurring in the first active point of view-i.e., two observers 0 and 0 and two physical systems S and S, S being in the same relation to 0 that S is to O. If there is invariance of nature under the transformation <W(t) connecting the description given by 0 to the one given by 0, it follows in particular that the operator '1'(t, to) that governs the evolution of the system built by 0 is equal to the operator T(t, to) used by 0 for his system. The evolved at the time t of 0 of the initial state .p(to) is just .p( t), as it is for 0 the evolved at his time t of his state .p{to). Therefore when 0 considers the description of the outcome of an experiment realized by 0, he is con__:: sidering another experiment whose outcome is the same. Therefore 0 cannot realize that he is using conventions different from those used by O. We say that the two observers are equivalent.

If the relation of 0 to 0 is just given by the fact that the coordinate system used by 0 is moving with uniform velocity with respect to the one used by 0, we have the key problem of prerelativistic physics: Is it possible to reveal the uniform motion of an observer by means of physical experiments? The prerelativistic situation was as follows:

Since the assumed relations between two such observers is given by the Galilei transformation and the mechanical equations of motion are left invariant by this transformation, no mechanical experiment would allow this distinction. This point of view has been formulated with admirable clarity by Galileo himself in the Dialogo sopra i due masstmi sistemi:

Riserratevi con qualche arnico nella maggior stanza, che sia sotto coverta di alcun gran navilio, e quivi fate d'aver mosche, farfalle e simili animaletti volanti: siavi aneo un gran vasa d'acqua, e dentrovi de' pescetti; sospendasi aneo in alto qualche sechiello, che a goccia a goccia vadia versando dell'acqua in un altro vaso di angusta bocca, che sia posto a basso; e stando ferma la nave, osservate diligentemente come quelli animaletti volanti con pari velocita vanno verso tutte Ie parti della stanza; i pesci si vedranno andar notando indifferentemente per tutti i versi, Ie stille cadenti entreranno tutte nel vaso sottoposto; e voi, gettando all'amico aleuna cosa, non piu gagliardamente Ia dovrete gettare verso quella parte che verso questa, quando Ie lontananze sieno uguali; e saltando voi, come si dice, a pie giunti, eguali spazii passerete verso tutte Ie parti. Osservate che avrete diligentemente tutte queste cose, bench" niun dubbio ci sia, che mentre il vassello sta fermo non debbano succeder COSt, fate muover la nave con quanta si vogiia velocita: che (pur che it mota sia uniforme, e non fluttuante in qua, e in la) voi non riconoscerete una minima mutazione in tutti Ii nominati effetti, ne da alcuno di quelli potrete comprender se la nave cammina 0 pure sta ferma. Voi saltando passerete nel tavolato i medesimi spazii che prima, ne, perche la nave si muove velocissimarnente, farete maggiori salti

1.8 On The Equivalence of Reference Frames

49

verso la poppa che verso la prua, bench" nel tempo, che voi state in aria, il tavolato sottopostovi scorra verso la parte contraria al vostro saito; e gettando alcuna cosa al compagno, non con pili forza bisognera tirarlo per arrivarlo, se egli sara verso 18 prua, e voi verso poppa, che se voi fuste situati per I'opposito: Ie gocciole cadranno, come prima, nel vaso inferiore, senza eaderne pur una verso poppa, benche mentre la goeeiola e per aria, la nave scorra di molti palmi; i pesci nella lora aequa non con piu fatiea noteranno verso la precedente che verso la susseguente parte del vaso; rna con pari agevolezza verranno al cibo posto su qualsivoglia luogo dell'orlo del vaso; e finalmente Ie farfalle, e le mosche continueranno i lor voli indifferentemente verso tutte Ie parti, ne mai accadera che si riduchino verso la parte, che riguarda la poppa, quasi che fussero stracche in tener dietro al veloce corso della nave, dalla quale per lungo tempo, trattenendosi per aria, saranno state separate: e se abbrucciando alcuna lagrima d'incenso, si fara un poco di furno, vedrassi ascender in alto, ed a guisa di nugoletta trattenervisi, e indifferentemente muoversi non piu verso questa, che quella parte: e di tutta questa corrispondenza d'effetti ne e cagione I'esser il mota della nave comune a tutte Ie cose contenute in essa, ed all'aria aneora; ...

I "Shut yourself up with some friend in the main cabin below decks on some large ship, and have with you there some flies, butterflies, and other small flying animals. Have a large bowl of water with some fish in it; hang up a bottle that empties drop by drop into a wide vessel beneath it. With the ship standing still, observe carefully how the little animals fly with equal speed to all sides of the cabin. The fish swim indifferently in all directions; the drops fall into the vessel beneath; and, in throwing something to your friend, you need throw it no more strongly in one direction than another, the distances being equal; jumping with your feet together, you pass equal spaces in every direction. When you have observed all these things carefully (though there is no doubt that when the ship is standing still eyerything must happen in this way), have the ship proceed with any speed you like, so long as the motion is uniform and not fluctuating this way and that. You will discover not the least change in ali the effects named, nor could you tell from any of them whether the ship was moving or standing still. In jumping, you will pass on the floor the same spaces as before, nor will you make larger jumps toward the stern than toward the prow even though the ship is moving quite rapidly, despite the fact that during the time that you are in the air the floor under you will be going in a direction opposite to your jump. In throwing something to your companion, you will need no more force to get it to him whether he is in the direction of the bow or the stern, with yourself situated opposite. The droplets will fall as before into the vessel beneath without dropping toward the stern, although while the drops are in the air the ship runs many spans. The fish in their water still swim toward the front of their bowl with no more effort than toward the back, and will go with equal ease to bait placed anywhere around the edges of the bowl. Finally the butterflies and flies will continue their flights indifferently toward every side, nor will it ever happen that they are concentrated toward the stern, as if tired out from keeping up with the course of the ship, from which they will have been separated during long intervals by keeping themselves in the air. And if smoke is made by burning some incense, it will be seen going up in the form of a little cloud, remaining still and moving no more toward one side than the other. The cause of-all these correspondences of effects is the fact that the ship's motion is common to all the things contained in it, and to the air also; ... "

The translation here given is reprinted from Ref. 1.14, pp. 186 and 187, by permission of the Regents of the University of California.

50

GENERAL CONSIDERATIONS ON THE SYMMETRY PROBLEM

In prerelativistic physics, as is well known, if instead of confining oneself to mechanical experiments, consideration is given to electromagnetic phenomena, assumming that the Galilei transformation is correct, then it would be possible for an observer to realize that he is in motion with respect to another observer by means of electromagnetic experiments, since the Maxwell equations are not invariant under Galilei transformations (see Appendix Ie). This fact gave rise to the ether controversy. The solution of all difficulties connected with this problem has been given by Einstein by means of the theory of special relativity, in which the impossibility of revealing the uniform state of motion of an observer by means of physical experiments is assumed as a principle of nature. Since, moreover, the veloci~ of light tu~n~ out to be constant for all observers in uniform motron, the Galilei transformation must be substituted by the Lorentz transformation, under which the laws of electromagnetism are invariant, and the mechanical laws must accordingly be modified to meet the requirements of invariance under this transformation.

Another type of invariance that is interesting to discuss in some ?etail is that connected with the right-left symmetry. Here the problem IS the following: Is it possible to teach somebody the convention by which we distinguish the left from the right, without giving him a sample of a right hand? Until 1956 we thought that the reply to this question was no. In fact, all known laws of nature were invariant under the operation of reflection of the coordinate axes. If we assume that nature possesses this invariance principle, then the observer 0 who uses a frame of reference oppositely handed with respect to the one used by 0 would simply reproduce in his laboratory the mirror image of the experiment described by o. Owing to the assumed invariance, the outcome of the experiment performed by 0 will be the same as that performed by 0, and therefore 0 will not be able to realize that he is using a different convention. In 1956, however, Lee and Yang suggested that the rightleft transformation is not a symmetry of nature and proposed various experiments to test reflection invariance. The results of these experiments showed the noninvariance of weak interactions under this transformation. Such experiments can therefore be used to distinguish left from right. For instance, in the famous experiment of the decay of a 60CO nucleus (see Section 2.6.4 for more details), if we place an assembly of polarized nuclei with their spins orthogonal to the xy plane in such a way that a rotation of 71"/2 in the direction in which the 60CO spins brings the x axis onto the y axis, then choosing the z axis pointing in the half space in which a smaller number of fJ-rays are emitted, we realize a righthanded system of axes.

1.9 Different Descriptions of a Quantum System

51

The fact that the space-time continuum, which is the support of physical phenomena, possesses an intrinsic orientation is rather difficult for the human mind to understand. This difficulty has been concisely expressed by Leibnitz as "the principle of sufficient cause." There is no sufficient reason for the choice of a particular asymmetry by nature. It has, however, been observed recently that in order to use an experiment such as the decay of the BOCO nucleus to define right and left, it is necessary that the two observers 0 and 0 use the same convention to define matter as distinguished from antimatter. It was conjectured that if 0, instead of using a 60CO nucleus, should use the anti-60Co, the evolution of such a system would be just the mirror image of that of the system considered by o. It therefore turned out again to be impossible to teach an observer a convention on right and left if an agreement has not already been made with him on the convention for the definition of matter and antimatter. The invariance we are considering now is the one under the combined transformation of space reflection and charge conjugation, usually indicated by the symbol CP. * In particular, a CP-invariant two-component theory of the neutrino has been proposed by Salam, Lee and Yang, and Landau in which the violation of spacereflection and charge-conjugation symmetries is maximal. In fact, this theory allows the existence of neutrinos that spin around the direction of motion only in a clockwise manner (left-handed), while antineutrinos spin the other way around (right-handed).

However, some recent experiments indicate that the laws of nature are not invariant even under the combined CP transformation. It is therefore necessary to renounce this symmetry of nature also. From the so-called CPT-theorem (which states that a local field theory, invariant under the transformations of the restricted inhomogeneous Lorentz group and in which we can define a positive definite energy operator and a vacuum state, is also invariant under the product of space reflection, charge conjugation, and time reversal) noninvariance under the CP transformation also implies noninvariance under time reversal.

1.9 Different Descriptions of a Quantum System in the Heisenberg Picture

So far use has been made of the Schrodinger picture of motion in deriving and discussing the relations existing between different observers. We have considered only briefly at the end of Section 1.4 the Heisenberg

* Nevertheless, even if all physical laws were invariant under CP, nature would have

• symmetry lower than expected.

52

GENERAL CONSIDERATIONS ON THE SYMMETRY PROBLEM

picture for a given observer. We s~all d~scuss here how the observers obtain relations between each other In t~lr Heisenberg plctu~es.

Let us consider two observers 0 and O. They compare their measurements at their subjective times t according to

(1.86)

This equation is written in the Schrodinger picture of motion where the fundamental observables do not depend on the time and are the same for the various observers. The left-hand side of this equation is the measurement performed by o at his own time t, while the right-hand side is the measurement performed by 0 at his time t. We suppose now that the observers 0 and (j have introduced Heisenberg pictures for them that, at the corresponding subjective times tH, coincide with the Schrodinger picture. In order to go from o~ picture to anoth.er,_O uses his time-translation operator T(t, tH) while 0 obviously uses his T(t, tH):

.pOH = TI(t, tH) .po(t), .pOH = Tt(t, tH) .po(t),

Eq. (1.86) then reads

(fOH , "';OH(t) .pOH) = (.pOH .!;("'lOH(t), "'20H(t), ... ) fOH).

<XOH(t) = TI(t, tH) '" T(t, tH), <X()H(t) = Tt(t, tH) <X T(t, tH)'

(1.87)

(1.88)

From the transformation properties of the Schrodinger picture quantities, we immediately infer the transformation properties of <POH and "'OH(t). In fact, since <POB == <PO(tH) and fOH =. <PO(tH) we ~et, recalling that in going from 0 to 0 in the Schrodinger picture of motion we transform the states <Po(t) = l1lt(t) .po(t) and leave the operators unchanged <XjO = "'jO :

fOH = OI/(tH) .pOH ,

<X()H(t) = Z'(t, tH) <XOH(t) Z(t, tH),

(1.89) (1.90)

with

Z(t, tH) = Tt(/, tH) OI/(t) T(/, tH) OI/I(/H) == OI/OH(t) OI/I(tH)'

We therefore get the result that in general, using the Heisenberg pictures of motion, one obtains the unpleasant feature that both state vectors and observables are transformed on going from one observer to another. However, we see immediately from Eq. (1.87) that if invarian~e of the theory under the given transformation I1lt is established-i.e., T = Tthen

(1.91 )

1.10 Invariance and Group Theoretic Considerations

53

That is, the same operator is used by the two observers for a given dynamical quantity, as in the Schrodinger picture. * Of course, Z turns out to be the identity operator in this case

(1.92)

The Heisenberg-picture description of the transformation properties of a given quantum mechanical system is therefore particularly simple when invariance under the considered transformation is established, since in this case Eq. (1.91) holds. The observables are not transformed, while the state vectors are transformed by means of an operator that does not depend on the time. These advantages are particularly evident in the case when the transformation depends on the time [see Eqs. (2.111) and (2.150)].

1.10 Invariance and Group Theoretic Considerations

We should like to discuss here some group theoretic implications of the concept of invariance. We shall discuss in particular the invariance of the theory under the transformations of the inhomogeneous proper Lorentz group, but our considerations apply obviously to all cases in which we have invariance under a group of transformations.

Let us suppose that the two observers 0 and (j are related through a restricted inhomogeneous Lorentz transformation

(JL = 0, 1,2,3).

(1.93)

In the passive point of view we have seen that from the requirement given by Eq. (1.9) of invariance of the transition probability

(1.94)

it follows that the mapping '¥ 0 ---+ '¥ ° between the corresponding physically realizable rays of 0 and (j can be realized through a linear unitary vector mapping all(0, 0) that depends on 0 and (ji:

.po = 01/(0, 0) fo .

(1.95)

* It is instructive to note that even though we use Heisenberg pictures, for a pure time translation we still change the state vectors. This is so because the time-translated observer o uses a different Heisenberg picture from that used by the observer O. In fact the Heisenberg pictures of all the observers have been assumed to go onto the Schrodinger picture at the same subjective time tH .

! The vector mapping o/t is linear, since we are dealing here with the restricted (i.e., continuously connected with the identity) part of the group. In general, however, antilinear operators o/t also occur.

54

GENERAL CONSIDERATIONS ON THE SYMMETRY PROBLEM

For fixed values of A~ and aU, the linear unitary operator 0/1(0, 0) is determined by the physical content of the theory, as discussed in Section 1.3.3, up to a constant phase factor in each coherent subspace. [See Eq. (1.22). Here we are dealing with a case in which ~ gets a block-diagonal form in the representation where the superselection-rule

operators are diagonal.] _

Consider now two other observers 0' and 0', and suppose that they are related through the very same Lorentz transformation [Eq. (1.93)] -i.e., with same A':'v and au:

We shall have another linear unitary vector mapping 0/1(0', 0') relating the state vectors of 0' with those of 0':

.pO' = O?t(O', 0') .po' .

(1.96)

We suppose now that in nature the invariance under all the transformations of the restricted inhomogeneous Lorentz group has been established. That is, as discussed in Section 1.8, observers related by a transformation of this group are equivalent. As already discussed in Section 1.6.2, we have therefore that 0/1(0', 0') must coincide, apart from a constant phase matrix w, which at any rate has no physical meaning, with 0/1(0,0). In fact, if this were not true, there would be a real difference between the frames of reference of 0 and 0', and the observers 0 and 0' would not be equivalent as we have supposed. Therefore, in every Lorentz invariant quantum mechanical theory the linear unitary operator 0/1(0,0) is completely determined by the Lorentz transformationL that relates 0 with 0:

O?t(O, 0) == O?t(L),

(1.97)

where, formally

O=LO.

In other words, 0/1 depends only on the parameters A~v and a" of the Lorentz transformation leading from 0 to 0 and not separately on the initial and final frame of reference. As we have already stressed in Section 1.3, [see Eqs. (1.8) and (1.27)], by going from a first Lorentz frame of reference 0 to a second 0 = L10 and then to a third

1.10 Invariance and Group Theoretic Considerations

55

(j = L2(L10) or directly to the third 0 = (L~) 0, one must obtain the same ray. Hence,

(1.98)

Therefore we get the important result that in each coherent subspace the linear unitary operators o/I,J..L) [see Eq. (1.22)] form a representation up to a phase of the restricted inhomogeneous Lorentz group.

The arguments used above for the case of the restricted inhomogeneous Lorentz group are easily extended to all cases in which we have equivalent observers whose different conventions are related through transformations belonging to a group. Here we have assumed, to formulate the invariance problem, the passive point of view. However, it is clear by the considerations of the preceding sections that if the theory is invariant under a transformation, the active point of view is also possible and we could have formulated the invariance requirement directly in this point of view.

Summarizing, the requirement of invariance of a physical theory

under a group of transformations implies the following:

To each element g of the group oftransformations there corresponds a linear unitary or antilinear unitary vector mapping o/I(g) of the Hilbert space of the system onto itself. In each coherent subspace the set of all o/I(g) gives a representation up to a factor of the transformation group."

It must be mentioned that while this requirement is necessary for invariance, it is not sufficient since it does not specify the relations among the operators o/t(g) and the observables. This can be clarified by the following example. In the Schrodinger equation for four spinless particles with potential

v = CX(XI - x2) • [(X2 - x3) X (xa - x4)], the operator g; defined by

(1.99)

satisfies all properties that are required by the group-composition law for a space-inversion operator-i.e., it anticommutes with the total linear momentum and it commutes with the total Hamiltonian and the

* Here we have assumed that all the transformations 'it(g) map each coherent subspace onto itself, as bappens for the transformations of the inhomogeneous proper Lorentz group. Obvious changes must be made in the general case.

S6

GENERAL CONSIDERATIONS ON THE SYMMETRY PROBLEM

total angular momentum. However, one cannot say that the theory is invariant under space reflection, since fJIJ does not obey the essential requirement for a space-reflection operator-i.e.,

Px;p-l = -Xi'

(1.100)

On the contrary, the correct space-reflection operator 9 defined through Eq. (1.100) does not commute with the total Hamiltonian. Therefore, the operators representing the time translation and the space reflection do not satisfy the multiplication laws of the group of the coordinate transformations when invariance under space reflection does not hold in nature.

Appendix lao Proof of Equation (1.70)

Let us prove that if two linear operators 0.: and f3 satisfy

I(,p, a.p)1 = I(,p, M)I

(A1.l)

for any pair of vectors tP and cp, then

<p being a real constant.

From Eq. (ALl) we have

(,p, ex.p) = exp(iT[,p, .p])(.f;, f3.p).

(AI.2)

Suppose now that (tPl , (XC/» and (0/2' o.:cp) are both different from zero: (,pI' ex.p) = 1(.f;1 , ex.p)1 exp(Ii'f[.f;1 ,.pD,

(,pz, ex.p) = I(,pz ,.ex.p)1 exp(i&[,pz ,.pD·

Choosing the state tP = exp(it9-[tPl ,cpJ) tPl + exp(it9-[tP2 , cp]) tPz we get (,p, ex.p) = 1(.f;1 ,ex.p)1 + I(opz, a.p)1

and also

(op, ot.p) = (op, {34» exp(icp[op, 1>])

= {exp( -i8-[opI'.p]) (opI' f3.p) + exp( -is[.f;z,.p]) (.f;z, f3.p)} exp(iT[,p,.p]) = {1(opI,a.p)1 exp(-icp[,pl'.p]) + 1(.f;z,ex.p)1 exp(-iT[.f;z,1>])}exp(iT[.p,.p])·

Appendix lb. Proof of Equation (1.73)

51

Taking the moduli we get

COS{T[.p1 ,.p] - 'P[.pz ,.p]} = 1,

that is,

CP[.p1 ,.p] = T[.pz, .p].

In the last formula we have dropped an unimportant additive term 2nTT.

There remains to consider the case in which for fixed ¢ there is only one vector .p for which (.p, o.:cp) is different from zero. We consider then two other vectors r/J' and r//, for which (tP', 0.:</>') =F O. Let us introduce the four nonzero complex numbers (a, a', b, h') satisfying

a*a'(,p, ex.p) = b*b'(.f;', ex.p').

Taking the matrix element of 0.: between the vectors atP + bcp and a'tP' + b'</>' following the same procedure as before we get

'P[op,1>1 = T[.p', </>'].

This completes the proof of Eq. (Al.2).

Appendix lb. Proof of Equation (1.73)

From the equality of the transition probabilities we get again

T(t + T, to + T) = exp[i'P,(t, to)] T(t, to). (Al.3)

Using Eq. (1.3lb) we again show that

exp[i'P,(t, to)] = exp{i[o,(t) - o,(to)]}' (AlA)

We now use the freedom that we have in the time-evolution operator T(t, to). We redefine T as follows:

T'(t, to) = exp[ -iy(t, to)] T(t, to),

with yet, to) = 01-1.(tO)' For T' we then have

T'(t -i- T, to + or) = T'(t, to)'

We must show that the phase yet, to) is acceptable in the sense discussed in the beginning of Section 1.1.2. That is, it must be equal to the difference of the phases o(t) - o(to). Let us rewrite Eq. (A1.3) in terms of the y's:

T(t + or, to + T) = exp{i[y(t, t + or) - y(to , to + or)]} T(t, to).

(AU)

58

GENERAL CONSIDERATIONS ON THE SYMMETRY PROBLEM

We then have

T(t + T + T', to + T + T')

= exp{i[y(t + T, t + T + T') - y(to + T, to + T + T')]} X exp{i[y(t, t + T) - y(to, to + T)]} T(/, to)·

On the other hand we get immediately

T( t + T + T', to + T + T')

= exp{i[y(t, t + T + T') - y{to , to + T + T')]} T(t, to),

from which

y(t + T, t + T + T') = -yet, t + T) + yet, t + T + T'). (A 1.6)

Let us now rewrite Eq. (Al.S) as follows

T(t, to) == T[(t + T) - T, (to + T) - T]

= exp{i[y(t + T, t) - y(to + T, to)]} T(I + T, to + T),

which compared with Eq. (A1.S) gives

exp{-i[y(t + T, t) - y(to + T, to)]} = exp{i[y(t, t + T) - y(to, to + T)]},

i.e.,

y(t, t + T) = -yet + T, t).

Substitution of Eq. (Al.7) in (A1.6) gives

yet + T, t + T + T') = yet + T, t) + yet, t + T + T').

(Al.7)

Since t, t + T, t + T + T' are three independent arbitrary variables, we get, using Eq. (A1.6), (put T' = 0)

y(t, to) = 8(t) - 8(to),

which is the desired result.

Appendix Ic. Noninvarianee of the Maxwell Equations under Special Galilei Transformations

In this appendix we want to show explicitly the very well-~nown f~c~ that the Maxwell equations are not invariant under special Galilei transformations.

Appendix lc. Noninvarianee of the Maxwell Equations

59

We have an observer 0 who is in a fixed system of coordinates-i.e., at rest relatively to the "luminiferous ether." He describes the electromagnetic field by means of the electric and magnetic field vectors E(x), H(x) satisfying the Maxwell equations

div E(x) = p(x), divH(x) = 0,

curl H(x) - ! o~(x) =! p(x) u(x),

C vt c

(Al.8)

curlE(x) +! oH(x) = 0

c ot '

where x == (x, t) is the position and time label that 0 attributes to an event, p(x) is the charge density, and u(x) its velocity with respect to 0 at the point x.

Let us now consider another observer 0' moving with uniform velocity v with respect to O. According to classical mechanics there exists an absolute time so that the transformation law connecting the two coordinate systems is given by the special Galilei transformation:

x' = x -vt,

(A 1.9)

t' = t.

Equation (A1.9) implies in turn for the derivatives

(i = 1,2,3),

(Al.lO)

o a

ot = at' - v . v.

In order to check whether Eqs. (A1.8) are invariant under the special Galilei transformation (A1.9), we must first of all specify how the electric and magnetic fields transform in going from one observer to another in uniform motion. To answer this question one must resort to experiment. For low velocities v the experimental laws of transformation turn out to be

E'(x') = E(x) + ! v X H(x),

c

H'(x') = H(x) - ! v X E(x).

c

(Al.ll)

60

1 GENERAL CONSIDERATIONS ON THE SYMMETRY PROBLEM

These laws are approximate; they hold good to the first order in vIc. * Obviously p(x) and u(x) also transform in going from 0 to 0':

p'(x') = p(x),

(AU2)

u'(x') = u(x) - v.

The field equations for 0' are obtained from Eqs. (A1.8) by expressing the various quantities there appearing in terms of the corresponding primed quantities according to Eqs. (A l.l 0), (A1.1!), and (Al.12). We finally get

div' E'(x') = p'(x') - ! v . curl' H'(x'),

c

div' H'(x') = ! v . curl' E'(x'), c

(A1.13)

1, H'(') 1 oE'(x') 1,( ') '( ') I oH'(x')

cur x -c~=cp x U x -C2"vX----ar'

I' E'( ') +! oH'(x') __ _!_ oE'(x')

cur x cot' - c2 V X ot' .

In deriving Eqs. (Al.l3) terms of the order v21c2 have been neglected.

The equations for the observer 0' are not of the same form as those of O. They differ in fact for terms proportional to v. There follows in classical mechanics the possibility of revealing the state of motion relative to the ether by means of electro dynamical experiments. In particular the observer 0' should experience an ether wind that would alter the velocity of light as measured in his coordinate system. The experiments by Michelson and Morley showed unambiguously that such ether wind does not exist and that we must therefore assume the validity of the Maxwell equations for all coordinate systems in uniform motion relative to each other. This led to the formulation of the theory of special relativity.

References to Chapter

Section 1.1. For further reading see:

1.1. H. Weyl, Symmetry, Princeton Univ. Press, Princeton, N. J.. 1952. 1.2. E. P. Wigner, Proc. Am. Phil. Soc., 93, 52 (1949).

* In fact by considering the inverse transformation (leading from 0' to 0) we get expressions that are incompatible with Eqs. (Al.ll) because of the appearance of terms of the order v'/c'.

References to Chapter I

61

1.3. E. P. Wigner, Commun. Pure Appl. Math., 13, 1 (1960). 1.4. E. P. Wigner, Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S., 51, 956 (1964).

1.5. E. P. Wigner, The Nobel Prize Lectures, Elsevier, Amsterdam, 1964.

1.6. R. M. F. Houtappel, H. Van Dam, and E. P. Wigner, Rev. Mod. Phys., 37, 595 (1965).

Section 1.2. General references are:

1.7. P. A. M. Dirac, The Principles of Quantum Mechanics, Oxford, New York, 1958. 1.8. J. Von Neumann, Mathematical Foundations of Quantum Mechanics, Princeton Univ. Press, Princeton N. J., 1955.

1.9. H. Weyl, The Theory of Groups and Quantum Mechanics, Dover, New York, 1950. 1.10. G. C. Wick, A. S. Wightman, and E. P. Wigner, Phys. Reo., 88, 101 (1952).

Section 1.3.

1.11. A. S. Wightman, notes by A. Barut. Nuooo Cimento, Suppl., 14,81 (1959).

1.12. E. P. Wigner, Group Theory and its Application to the Quantum Mechanics of Atomic Spectra, Academic Press, New York, 1959.

1.13. A. Messiah, Mecanique Quantique, Dunod, Paris, 1959.

L. O'Raifeartaigh and G. Rasche, Ann. Phys., 25, 155 (1963). V. Bargmann, J. Math. Phys., 5, 862 (1964).

Section 1. 8.

1.14. G. Galilei, Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems, Univ. of California

Press, Berkeley, 1967.

1.15. A. Salam, Nuooo Cimento, 5, 299 (1957).

1.16. T. b. Lee and C. N. Yang, Phys. Reo., 105, 1671 (1957). 1.17. L. D. Landau, Nucl. Phys., 3, 127 (1957).

Sections 1.9. and 1.10.

1.18. E. P. Wigner, Ann. Math., 40, 149 (1939).

1.19. R. F. Streater and A. S. Wightman, PCT, Spin and Statistics, and All That, Benjamin, New York, 1964.

CHAPTER 2

Geometrical Symmetries

in Ordinary Quantum Mechanics

2.1 Introduction

After the general considerations of Chapter 1 we come now to the discussion of several specific examples of symmetry transformations. In this chapter we shall limit ourselves to the consideration of those transformations that are of interest in the framework of ordinary (i.e., nonrelativistic) quantum mechanics where the number of particles is conserved in the course of time.

As regards the geometric invariances, we shall consider the transformations of the so-called Galilei group, which contains the translations in space and time, the space rotations, and the transitions to a uniformly moving coordinate system (special Galilei transformations). Besides these, the discrete transformations of space reflection and time reversal will also be discussed. At the end of the chapter, consideration will also be given to the symmetry arising from exchange of identical particles.

We shall not follow here the procedure of requiring from the beginning invariance of the theory under all the transformations of the group in which we are interested. On the contrary, each transformation will be considered separately. This means that we shall not build up all the unitary irreducible representations of the symmetry group, even though it is trivially seen that, excluding time translations, the operators representing the transformations of the Galilei group actually give a representation of this group (see Section 2.8). We have taken this attitude to avoid for the moment having to make a systematic use of the methods of group theory, so that this first part of the book may be accessible also to the young student who is not familiar with such formalism.

As we have seen in the preceding chapter, the correspondence

62

2.2 Transformation Laws of Coordinates and Momenta

63

'1'0 ->- '1'0 = Til' 0 between the rays that two observers 0 and 0, who are related by the considered transformation, assign for describing the physical state of a system S can be represented by a vector mapping. The operator 0/1 which gives this mapping is either a linear unitary or an antilinear unitary operator, according to the particular relation existing between 0 and O.

For each transformation, therefore, the main problem will be to obtain the explicit form of the unitary operator 0/1. When this problem is solved, we shall discuss the implications of assuming invariance of the theory under the considered transformation.

The characterization of the operator 0/1 will be obtained according to the formalism developed in Section 1.3.3. To obtain the key relation Eq. (1.25) of that section, which allows the determination of the operator 0/1, the relations that occur between the expectation va_!_ues of an irreducible set of observables for the two observers 0 and 0 must be known. Since the expectation values of the observables are the quantum mechanical analog of the classical dynamical variables, the relations between the expectation values for a given transformation leading from 0 to 0 are precisely those given by classical mechanics. This is one of the aspects of the correspondence principle. We therefore discuss first of all the transformation laws of the classical variables for a given change of reference frame.

2.2 Transformation Laws of Coordinates and Momenta in Nonrelativistic Classical Mechanics

In classical mechanics a given observer 0 describes a physical system S by means of a set of Lagrangian coordinates qj. The observer 0 uses certain devices to establish the values of the q/s; for example, if the q/s are cartesian coordinates he compares the projections on the x, y, and z axes of the position vectors of the particles with a given rod which he uses as the unit of distance.

In order to define the time t at which events occur, the observer 0 establishes a correspondence between those events and the physical situations of a system called clock. 0 then defines the generalized velocities as q; == dqj/dt. The evolution of the given physical system S is known to the observer 0 and is given by the so-called Euler-Lagrange equations

!._ 3!l'(qk' qk ,t) _ 3!l'(Qk , qk , t) = 0 dt oq; 3q; ,

(2.1)

64

2 GEOME,TRICAL SYMMETRIES IN ORDINARY QUANTUM MECHANICS

where .P is a known. function of the Lagrangian coordinates, the generalized velocities and, possibly, explicitly depending on the time. As is well known, .P is defined apart from a total derivative with respect to the time of some function F(qj , t) of coordinates and time only. The observer 0 defines as momenta the quantities

8.!l'(qk , tjk , t)

p; = ". . uq;

(2.2)

If in place of .P we choose 'p' = .P + dF(qj , t)fdt we correspondingly get a change in the momenta.

Let 0 now be another observer who performs the same kind of measurements on the physical system S that 0 does. For instance, he also uses as Lagrangian coordinates the cartesian coordinates of the particles with respect to his reference frame. In nonrelativistic classical mechanics it is assumed that things can be disposed of in such a way that

i = t,

(2.3)

where i is the time label for O.

The observer 0 establishes then the relation between his Lagrangian coordinates ilj and those used by 0:

if; = ij;(qk , t).

(2.4)

From Eqs. (2.3) and (2.4) the transformation properties of the generalized velocities are obtained:

(2.5)

It is assumed that Eqs. (2.4) and (2.5) can be solved to give qk and qk in terms of ifj and qj . The equations of motion for 0 are given by the Euler-Lagrange Eqs. (2.1), where in place of qj , qj' and .P(qk, qk , t) we have ifj , q; , and

(2.6)

respectively. The equations

2.3 Space Translations

65

imply

and vice versa.

Using the Lagrangian function 2, the observer 0 defines his momenta Pi by means oft

(2.7)

In this way the transformation properties of the momenta are established. With this definition of the transformed momenta it is straightforward to verify the invariance of the Poisson brackets. In particular,

[_. -) _" ( oij; 8Pk _ 8Pk Oif;)

q, ,Pk PB - L.. oq 8'P oq 8'P

t l l ! l

We observe incidentally that if !l'(q;, ti; , t) = .P(q; , q; , t)-i.e., if the Lagrangian is invariant under the considered transformation,-the equations of motion of 0 are the same as those of O. It follows that if q;(t), p;(t) is a possible trajectory for the system S, as viewed by the observer 0, the same set of numbers is also a possible trajectory for the same system S as viewed by the observer O. The trajectories look the same subjectively to 0 and 0, respectively, but they obviously refer to objectively different physical situations for the system S. We say in this case that nature is symmetric for the considered transformation linking 0 and O.

2.3 Space Translations

2.3.1 DETERMINATION OF THE UNITARY OPERATOR REPRESENTING THE TRANSFORMATION. By space translation we mean that the observer 0 uses a frame of reference displaced with respect to that of 0 by a certain vector t and that they make measurements at the same time t on the same physical system S.

t If it happens that in .P an additive term of the type dG(ij; , tlldt appears, it is customary to redefine it as it- sa it - dG(ij;, tlldt. Of course, in so doing, the momenta p; correspondingly change.

66 2 GEOMETRICAL SYMMETRIES IN ORDINARY QUANTUM MECHANICS

The correspondence principle tells us that the expectation values of positions and momenta of the particles assigned by 0 and a are related through the classical transformation

reO) = reO) - I;

p(O) = p(O).

(2.8)

In the active descriptions we correspondingly have two physical systems S and Ii, the system Ii being displaced in space with respect to S by a vector I.

The unitary operator that relates the two observers, and which we now call Df, is determined by means of Eq. (1.25) which reads in this case

DftriD{ = ri - I, D/p;Df = Pi,

D/D{ = DfD/ = 1,

(2.9)

(i = 1,2, ... , N).

The operators r i and Pi appearing in Eq. (2.9) are the operators describing the position and linear momentum vectors of the ith particle of the physical system S, and N is the total number of particles. The orbital angular momentum L, = r, X Pi transforms according to D/LiD{ = L, - I ~~ Pi' Intrinsic orbital angular momenta remain therefore unaltered and, by analogy, the spin variables are also assumed to stay unchanged. It follows that D{ can be chosen to be the identity operator in the spin space of the system. We shall therefore disregard the spin variables in this section. D{ is linear as we can see using Eq. (1.26) taking Cij = ri and Cik = Pi :

Equation (2.9) tells us that D( cannot depend on r, , since it commutes with Pi . It is then a function of the p/s, only. From the first equation (2.9), using the unitarity of De, we get

(2.10)

which gives immediately the following system of equations:

· aD,

-In -0- = Dtl~ , P~i

· aD,

-In At, . = Dtl. ,

VI' ••

· aDI

-In -a - = Dtl •.

P.i

(2.11)

2.3 Space Translations

67

Since D, is a function of the p/s only, Eqs. (2.11) can be integrated. In order to describe the translation of the x coordinate of the ith particle, Dt must then have the form

Dt = D/(Pl , P2 , ... , PH ,P.i , P« , Pi+! , ... , PN) exp[(ijli) P ... /x]·

The complete expression for Dt is therefore

Dt = cD(/) exp[(ijli) P . 1],

(2.12)

where cD(I) is a constant number which may depend on I, and P is the total linear momentum operator of the system:

N

P =L,Pi'

1

(2.13)

Since Di is unitary 1 c:O(/) 1 = !. o, is therefore uniquely determined apart from the arbitrary phase factor.

Let us now consider the eigenvalue equations for the operators ri and Pi:

(2.14a) (2.14b)

where /" = Ix1 y i.: and similarly for cpo I and cp do not belong to the Hilb~rt spa'ce, 'sin~e

(lr;' '!r;) = 03(r,' - r;), (cpp;, ,<pp;) = 03(p/ - p;/li).

(2.15a) (2.15b)

If we write P = fik, then

(<pp;' , <pp;) = 03(k; - k~). .

(2.l5e)

As is well known, the scalar product of an I and a cp gives

1 ( i ") ( ')

(lr;' ,CPp,') =(21T)3/2 exp -,; r •. Pi == <Pp/ r, .

(2.16)

Using Eqs. (2.12) and (2.16) for DI we get

(rpp' , D&) = cD(/) exp[(i/Ii) P' • I](cpp' ,h) = cD(/)(cpp' '/r'-I).

68

2 GEOMETRICAL SYMMETRIES IN ORDINARY QUANTUM MECHANICS

Here 1.' is short for 1. f ,'" 1. ' and similarly for C{!p' • This equation

r ~ ~ ~

implies

We now fix the arbitrary phase factor free in Dl by choosing cD(/) = 1. We then get

D, = exp[(i/Ii) P '1]

(2.17)

and

Dd,' = 1,'-1,

(2.18)

Equation (2.18) implies

.po(r) = (fr, .po) = (fr, Df.po) = .po(r + I).

(2.19)

Note that with this choice for cD(/), we also have

D/<pp' = exp[(i/Ii) P' . I] <pp' •

(2.20)

So far we have considered a particular translation characterized by the vector t. If consideration is given to the aggregate of all translations, which form an abelian continuous group, and if we choose cD(/) to be 1 for every I, the operators Dl form a faithful representation of this group. In fact we have

(2.21)

and all the group axioms are easily verified; in particular, the identity is Dt_o and the reciprocal of Dt is D_t ; moreover, operators assigned to different values of I are different.

2.3.2 ALTERNATIVE METHOD TO FIND Dt. We wish to sketch here briefly another way that could have been followed to determine Dt. We start by considering the effect of applying Dl on the position and momentum eigenstates. From Eq. (2.9) we get

r;Ddr,' = (r/ - I) Ddr( ,

(2.22a) (2.22b)

Equations (2.22) tell us that

Dd,' = a(r')fr'-I, I a I = 1;

D/rpp' = b(p') <pp' , I b I = 1.

(2.23a) (2.23b)

2.3 Space Translations

69

Consider now the scalar product (fr', D(fpp')' Using Eq. (2.23b) we have

(fr' , Dl'P') = b(p')(/,', <pp');

on the other hand, using Eq. (2.23a) we get

(fr' ,Dl'Pp') = (Dl/r' ,w) = [a-l(r' + 1)]* (fr'+l, <pp')' From Eq. (2.16) it follows that

a(r' + I) = b(p') exp[ -(ijli) p' '1] = const.

Using the freedom of the phase factor in Dl we can choose a = 1. Let us now pass to an infinitesimal translation in the direction of the x axis . We consider the limit

(2.24)

Let us suppose that the linear operator obtained taking the limit exists. With our choice a = 1 we have that limax->o Dax = 1. We can therefore write to the first order in 8x:

where, from unitarity, we must have

d",t = dx•

From Eq. (2.9) we get

[dx ,Xi] = -iii,

while dx commutes with all the other operators of our irreducible set. It follows that dx can be identified with P'" , the.x component of the total linear momentum. Therefore the total linear momentum is the generator of infinitesimal translations. From Eq. (2.24), with the substitution .p ->- Dz • .p, and using the composition law Da,,Dz. = Dz.+6x which follows from Eq. (2.23) and the choice a = 1, we get in the limit 8x ->- 0 t

eo,

-iii dl.: = P xDl •.

(2.25)

, The theory of relativity puts energy in the same relation to time as momentum to distance. This appears particularly evident by comparing Eq, (2.25) with Eq, (1.36) (substitute iH/c for t-, and iet for I.) and Eq. (2.19) with Eq. (1.30).

70

2 GEOMETRICAL SYMMETRIES IN ORDINARY QUANTUM MECHANICS

Integration of Eq. (2.25) and its analogs for the y and z components, together with-the boundary condition Dl=o = I, yields Eq. (2.17).

2.3.3 INVARIANCE UNDER SPACE TRANSLATIONS. If the theory is invariant under the whole group of space translations, from the results of Section 1.6. we get

[DI, H) = 0,

[P,HJ = 0, dPH _ 0

dt - .

We say that homogeneity of space implies conservation of the total linear momentum. This means that if the physical system is at a certain instant of time in an eigenstate of P, it will remain in that eigenstate for all later times if left unperturbed. Of course, if the theory is invariant only under the group of translations along a direction n, the conserved quantity is the projection of the total linear momentum along that axis.

The combined invariance under time and space translations, which implies conservation of total energy and total linear momentum, causes the appearance of a four-dimensional Il function over these quantities in the expression of the transition amplitude. For example, reactions like e" + e+ -+ y, p -+ p + y, n -+ p + '1T- are consequently forbidden.

(2.26)

2.4 Space Rotations

2.4.1 SYSTEMS OF SPINLESS PARTICLES. We consider now two observers 0 and 0 whose spatial coordinate systems are rotated with respect to one another. 0 and 0 compare measurements performed at the same instant of time on the same physical system S.

We shall first consider the case in which the elementary constituents of the systemS are spinless particles. For simplicity we assume for the moment that the axis of the rotation is the z axis (see Fig. 2.1). The angle of rotation will be indicated by w. w is positive for anticlockwise rotations. Instead of considering the irreducible set of operators Xi , Yi , Zi , P'" ' Py" P" to characterize the system, it is useful to make use of the variables 'Pi , {}i , Ti (the polar coordinates of the ith particle) and of the momenta canonically conjugated to them. The quantity P",. that is canonically conjugated to 'Pi is, as is well known, the Z component of the orbital angular momentum operator L, of the ith particle,-i.e.,

2.4 Space Rotations

71

--_ .. y'

------ -

---

y

Figure 2.1

where L, = ri X Pi and ea is the unit vector in the direction of the z axis.

Since 0 and 0 are connected by means of a rotation w about the Z axis, we get immediately that the classical quantities {}i , Ti , p",. , P«. , and Pro remain unchanged in going from 0 to 0, while the az'imuth angle ~i changes according to

<p(O) = <p(O) - w.

(2.27)

In the active description we have, instead, two physical systems S and S, the system S being rotated in space through an angle w about the z axis with respect to S.

The operator R that induces the passage from the description of the physical system given by 0 to that given by 0 is therefore determined in the quantum case by the equations

(i = 1,2, ... , N).

(2.28)

and the further requirement that it commute with all the other operators of the considered irreducible set. It follows that R can only be a function of Li . Ca = Lzi , (i = 1,2, ... , N). Moreover R is linear, as can be seen by using Eq. (1.26) with <X; = <Pi and CXk = Lzi .

72

2 GEOMETRICAL SYMMETRIES IN ORDINARY QUANTUM MECHANICS

From Eq. (2.28) we have

[R, '1';] = wR,

(2.29)

which gives immediately

.'" oR -z,,--=wR.

OL'i

(2.30)

?ince R is a function of theL.,'s only, we can integrate Eq. (2.30) followmg the same procedure used for Eq. (2.11), obtaining

R = Cw exp[(i(h) L . e3 w],

(2.31)

where L is the total orbital angular momentum of the system

(2.32)

Cw may depend on w, and its modulus is one from the unitarity of R.

Obviously, if instead of a rotation around the z axis we take into consideration the rotation of the amount w around the generic direction n we obtain, in just the same way,

R = e(a) exp[(£(h) L· n w].

(2.33)

The phase factor c(Bl) may depend on the particular rotation a that we are considering. We shall characterize a particular rotation by means of the matrix that gives the connection between the coordinates xyz of 0 and the coordinates xyz of 0; in matrix notation,

(2.34)

The matrix Bl is a 3 X 3 real orthogonal matrix, with elements Bl .. (i,j ~ 1,2,3). Since we limit ourselves to the consideration of prop;~ rotations, the further condition det fll = + I must be imposed on Bl. Owing to the orthogonality relations, the matrix fll is completely characterized by three real parameters. As already remarked, these can be assumed to be the angle OJ of rotation (in the counterclockwise sense) an? the components n", , ny, n. (satisfying nx2 + ny2 + n.2 = I) of the unit vector n around which the rotation takes place.

2.4 Space Rotations

13

In terms of these parameters the matrix fll turns out to have the following form:

( n.'(l - cos w) + cos w n:ttz~(l - cos w) - nz sin w n,n.(l - cos w) + nv sin w

n.nv(l - cos w) + n. sin w n_n.(l - cos w) - ny sin W) n_'(1 - cos w) + cos w nyn.(l - cos w) + n. sin w • tzlln.ll(l - cos w) - nz sin w n,2(1 - cos w) + cos w

(2.35)

It is easy to verify that the unitary operator R that corresponds to the rotation Bl, when operating on the cartesian components of an arbitrary vector operator v belonging to the physical system, gives

3

Rtv,ft = I BlMV; = (&lvh . ;-1

(2.36)

Here VI , V2 , V3 stand for Vx , Vy , V ••

We now take into account Eq. (2.14a) for the eigenvalue fllr/ :

Let us introduce the complete set of vectors Y~~l that are simultaneous eigenstates of the operators Ll and L, . n:

L;2y~ = h21(l + 1) V!: , L; • n Yz~ = hmYI~ .

(2.37)

We expand the vector ir;' in series of the n::l :

Ir,' == IrJr;' = Ir/ I azm(i;') Y~

1m

(2.38a)

and in an analogous way

(2.38b)

In Eqs. (2.38) Ir is an "improper" eigenvector of the solid angle of the vector r'. In Dirac ket notation I j~) = I {}' '1',>. The relation occurring between a,mUii';./) and alm(r/) is immediately obtained by remembering that

74 2 GEOMETRICAL SYMMETRIES IN ORDINARY QUANTUM MECHANICS

where {} and rp are the colatitude (or zenith) and the azimuth angles of r/ with respect to the polar axis n, The Ylm's are the so-called threedimensional spherical harmonics. From them we choose the phase convention of Rose (Ref. 2.3):

(-)1+'" [21 + 1 (1- m)! ]1/2. [ a ]!+m. .

Yzm(&, '1') = ~ ~ (I + m)! (sin &)m O(cOS &) (sin &)2Z e'm~.

(2.39) A list of properties of these functions is given in Appendix 2a.

Making the substitution rp -+ rp - w we therefore get

Using this equation in combination with Eq. (2.38a) and (2.38b), we get

Rfr, = c(9F) exp[(iJIi) L . n wlfr, = C(9F)fillr"

We therefore choose the arbitrary phase factor c(~) equal to one:

Rfr( =fillr:'

(2.4Oa)

Of course with this choice we also have

R<p .. = 'P!ltp'

(2.4Ob)

and

(lr' R.p) = (I~lr' .p).

(2.41)

2.4.2 PARTICLES WITH SPIN. Let us now consider the case when particles with spin angular momentum are present. In this case we have

Rt(rih R = (9Frih ,

Rt(Sih R = (91Sih ,

(2.42)

(k = 1,2,3), (i = 1,2, ... , N).

where (ri)k is the kth cartesian coordinate of the ith particle and (Sih is the kth component of the spin angular momentum for the ith particle. Since the concept of polar coordinates does not exist for intrinsic angular momentum, the method used above is not applicable. However, we expect that the transformation giving the rotation will be the product of a unitary operator RL acting only in the Hilbert space of spatial coordinates and momenta and a unitary operator Rs acting only in the Hilbert space of spin operators:

(2.43)

2.4 Space Rotations

75

In fact, if we choose RL and Rs in such a way that

RLt(rih RL = (Blrt)k,

Rst(Sih Rs = (BlSt)k ,

[RL,Rsl = 0,

then Eq. (2.42) follows with R given by Eq. (2.43). The operator RL clearly coincides with the rotation operator previously defined in the case of spinless particles:

(2.44)

RL = exp[(ijli) L . n w].

(2.45)

We now determine Rs. Consider for this purpose two directions, with unit vectors I and m, mutually orthogonal and both orthogonal to the direction n around which the rotation takes place. Suppose also that 1 X m = n, Consider the operators Sil = S, . I, Sim = S, . m, Sin = S, . n, They satisfy the same commutation relations as the S:x , SII , and S. and are therefore an irreducible set in the spin Hilbert space. These new spin operators satisfy

R/ S;zRs = SiZ cos w + Sim sin w, RstS;mRs = -Sil sin w + Sim cos w,

(2.46)

Equations (2.46) tell us that the operator Rs can be written as a product of N unitary operators R~i), each of them acting only in the spin Hilbert space of the ith particle. We expand R~i) in power series of w:

(2.47)

the coefficients of the expansion being operators in the spin Hilbert space of the ith particle. Expanding in power series cos wand sin w also, Eqs. (2.46) become

(2.48n)

76 2 GEOMETRICAL SYMMETRIES IN ORDINARY QUANTUM MECHANICS

The two upper indices in the sums refer to the case of even and odd k respectively. Since 4i) commutes with Sin, it is a function of Sin only. It is easily verified that Eqs. (2.48) are satisfied if

(I) 1 (i )k

Ck = k! ¥Sin .

(2.49)

Thus, an expression for Rs is

(2.50)

where S is the total spin of the system:

As discussed is Section 1.3, any other expression of Rs will differ from Eq. (2.50) only in phase. The full rotation operator is then

R = exp[(ijli) J . n w],

(2.51)

where J is the total angular momentum of the system:

N

J = Ii (Li + Si) == L + S.

1

(2.52)

Of course, the same procedure used in Section 2.3.2 could have been used here to determine R. The total angular momentum J is the generator of infinitesimal rotations.

Application of the unitary operator R given by Eq. (2.51) to state vectors gives

(frX,v, Rof) = (exp[ -(ijli) S . n w] x:frFl-.r, of),

(2.53)

where x; is short for X;~x;: ... X;Z ' X;: being the eigenstate of Sl and Siz for the eigenvalues SiCS, + 1) 1i2 and Viii, respectively.

We note in passing that R satisfies the equation

-iii dR = J . nR. dw

(2.54)

2.4 Space Rotations

77

If the angle of rotation is 27T, the two observers coincide, in which case R must be a number of unit modulus. Denoting with qlfJM the simultaneous eigenvectors of J . nand ]2, we have

R(27T) if; == exp[(ijli)J . n 27T] '" = I exp(iM27T) WJM(WJM, .p). (2.55)

JM

Let us first consider the case of integral total spin (total number of fermions even). Since M is integral, exp(iM27T) = 1, R(271") is therefore the identity in this case. If the total spin is half integer (total number of fermions odd), 2M is an integral odd number so that R(271") turns out to be -1. ifF is the total number of particles with half-integer spin (fermions), we have then in general

R(27T) = (-)F 1.

(2.56)

As mentioned in Section 1.2.3, the operator F whose eigenvalues are (-1 t is the so-called univalence operator.

The R's given by Eq. (2.51) form a representation of the group of rotations. Because of Eq. (2.56) the representation is two-valued in the case when the total number of fermions is odd.

2.4.3 MATRIX FORM OF THE ROTATION OPERATORS. The operator of rotations exp[(i/Ii) J . n w] has a simple representation when the total angular momentum is t. We have in this case

Ii

J' n = ia,,;

We have also that a!k = 1, a;k+l = an (k integer); then we get

00 (_ )k ( w )2k . 00 ( - )k ( w2 )2k+l .

= ~k (2k)! 2 + la"~k (2k + I)!

w .. w

= cos 2 + Ian sin 2 .

(2.57)

Using the Pauli spin matrices

(2.58)

78

2 GEOMETRICAL SYMMETRIES IN ORDINARY QUANTUM MECHANICS

and Eq. (2.57), we can represent explicitly the operator of a rotation +w about the direction 0:

exp (~ J' n w) = exp (i ~ an)

_. (cos ~ + in. sin ~ (ny + inx) sin ~ ).

. - (2.59)

• . w w .. w

-(ny - znx) sin T cos T - tn, sm T

The matrix (2.59), which represents the operator R corresponding to the rotation of parameters 0 and w, is an element of the group SU(2) of the unitary unimodular 2 X 2 matrices. Since the operators R give, as already remarked, a representation of the rotation group, the same holds true for the matrices (2.59). In other words, the mapping

[matrix of Eq, (2.35)] ->- [matrix of Eq. (2.59)] (2.60)

gives rise to a two-dimensional unitary representation of the rotation group. An increase of 217 in w leaves the matrix 8l(o, w) unchanged, while it changes the sign of the matrix of Eq. (2.59). Therefore, in the mapping we have two matrices of SU(2) differing only in sign, corresponding to each matrix of the rotation group in three dimensions. The representation is therefore two valued.

By considering all possible values of the total angular momentum we get in a similar way all the unitary irreducible representations of the rotation group.

To evaluate the matrix element of the full rotation operator on the basis qlj' .r of the simultaneous eigenvectors of J2 and J. we can make use of a formal device called the method of boson operators in the literature. t Let us define

o °-=8' x-

(2.61)

If we represent the angular momentum operators by the quantities n

I.,...., 2" (x_o+ + x+o_),

in

Iy""" 2 (x_o+ - x+o_),

n

I. ~ 2" (X+O+ - X_O_),

(2.62)

* The method we follow here is practically the standard one of introducing the spinor calculus in order to build up the unitary irreducible representations of the rotation group. See for example Ref. 3.10.

2.4 Space Rotations

79

it follows that qlj'JM can be represented by

(2.63)

In fact, first of all, it is readily shown, using the definitions of Eq. (2.61), that the ~ngular ~omenta as defined by Eq. (2.62) satisfy the usual ~omm~tatlOn relations. Second, by using Eq. (2.62) we can show that qlj'JM 18 an e1?,enstate of J~ and of J2....., 1i2/2(X+o+ + X_o_)[!(X+i\ + X_o_) + 1] belongmg to the eigenvalues flM and fl2J(J + 1), respectively. Third, the operators J±. = I. ± iJv = lix±.0'f operating on the state (2.63) give

I/!!IJM = n[(] - M)(] + M + 1)]1/2qlJJHl, I_'!!/JM = n[(J + M)(J - M + 1)]1/2qlJy-1,

(2.64)

as they should.

Which effect will give a rotation on qlj'JM defined by Eq. (2.63)?

Intuitively we shall have

R,!!/ M '" (RSX+y+M (Rsx_Y-M

J [(J + M)! (J _ M)I]1/2 .

(2.65)

Equation (~.65! can, however, be proved rigorously using for R its representation in terms of Eq, (2.62) and expanding the exponential in series. This is left to the reader.

T~e beauty. of Eq .. (2.65) lies in the fact that RsX+ and Rsx_ can be explicitly obtained using Eq. (2.59). We write

R,!!/ M = ~ ,!!/M'(qlJM' RqlJ M)

J i..J J J' J' M'

(2.66)

that is,

and we get, quite generally

80

2 GEOMETRICAL SYMMETRIES IN ORDINARY QUANTUM MECHANICS

Using Eq. (2.59) we get for a generic rotation

M' RaN M) _ [U + M')! U - M')!]1/2 ( J+M' • .J-M'

(I!JfJ, -;y J - U + M)! (f - M)! X+ x : ,

x [(cos ; + in. sin ; ) X+ - (n" - inx) sin ; x- r+M

X [(nx + in,,) sin ; x+ + (cos ; - in. sin ~ ) x_r-M). (2.68)

Evaluation of the right-hand side gives

M' M _ U + M')!(] - M')!]1/2 ( J + M )(J - M)

(I!JfJ ' RI!JfJ ) - [(J + M)! (] _ M)! ~ M + M' + k k

X (cos2 ; + n.2 sin" ~ r (cos ~ + in. sin ~ )M'+M. (2.69) In particular, if R represents a rotation about the z axis through an angle +w, we get from Eq. (2.69)

(2.70)

as expected. In the literature the quantity (<??IJ', exp[(illi) w}y] <??IJM) is called dkJ!M{W), A rotation of +77 around the y axis gives

(2.71)

so that application of exp[(illi) 1T}y] to an eigenvector <??IJM produces the eigenvector <??IJM:

exp[(i/Ii)7TJ,,]I!JfJM = (_)J+MI!JfJM.

Analogously, for a rotation of +1T around the x axis we get exp[(i/Ii) 1T Jx] I!JfJM = i2JI!JfJM.

(2.72)

(2.73)

2.4.4 INVARIANCE UNDER SPACE ROTATIONS. If the theory is invariant under all the transformations of the group of proper space rotations, then

[R,H] =0, [J, H] = 0,

dJH = O. dt

(2.74)

2.4 Space Rotations

81

We say that isotropy of space implies conservation of total angular momentum. If the physical system is in an eigenstate of J2 and Jz at a certain instant of time, it will remain in that eigenstate for all future times if left unperturbed. Of course, if the theory is invariant only under the group of rotations about a chosen axis n, the conserved quantity is the projection of the total angular momentum along that axis,

Since H commutes with the raising (] +) and lowering (] _) operators for the eigenvalues of }. , we see that for a bound system (atom, nucleus, elementary particle) we have a degeneracy of the energy levels. For a fixed value of p, the 2J + 1 states with - J ~ J. ~ + } have then the same energy as a consequence of rotational invariance.

For the S matrix we get from Eq. (1.59)

(2.75a)

In particular, in momentum representation, using Eq. (2.40b), we get

(2.75b)

2.4.5 POTENTIAL SCATTERING AND ROTATIONAL INVARIANCE. It is instructive to see the implications of invariance under space rotations for a simple scattering system. consisting of only two structureless particles interacting through a potential. After eliminating the center-ofmass motion, we write the two-particle free wave as follows:

(2.76)

where k = pIli and }1+1/2 is the Bessel function of half-integer order. Y1m is defined by Eq. (2.39). Making use of the Clebsch-Gordan coefficients! we can expand 'f'psv(r) in terms of the eigenvectors of the total angular momentum. We write

Y1m(r) »r = L C(lsJ; mv)I!Jf~~V(r),

J

* We use the phase convention and notations of Rose, Ref. 2.3, for the Clebsch-Gordan coefficients. For a list of the most important properties and tables of these coefficients, see Appendix 2b.

82

2 GEOMETRICAL SYMMETRIES IN ORDINARY QUANTUM MECHANICS

where <??I~8 is the simultaneous eigenstate of p, 1. , L2, and S2. We get

* - M_

'PP8. = L C(lsj; M - v, v) Y!.M_.(k) <l!fJ!.'Pk.l,

JM!

(2.77)

where the representative of Pk.1 is

'Pps. is the solution of

where Ho = p2/2JL and JL is the reduced mass. The solution of the Schrodinger equation

which satisfies outgoing wave boundary conditions is

(2.78)

Use of Eq. (2.77) gives for .p<+)

.p(+)(p, xi) = L C(lsj; M - v, v) Y~M_.(k)[Q(+)<l!f~,Pk!l

JM!

* f' M' .r.(+)JM!8

L C(lsj; M - v, v) Y,.M_.(K) <l!fJ'!'s''I'J'M'!'s' ,

JMJ'M'U's'

(2.79)

where

_1:(+)JM!s O],M' Q(+)""M) _

'PJ'M'!'s' = ('" rv« , "" JI. 'Pk.l·

Invariance under rotations implies [H, n = O. Since [Ho' n = 0 is also satisfied, it follows that [V, J] = O. As a consequence .0(+) also commutes with J. We have then that the matrix element (<??I~;'8" .o(+)<??Irls) vanishes unless 1=]' and M = M'. Besides, since []+, .0<+)] = 0 we get, using Eqs. (2.64),

(",IM+l Q(+)""M+l) _ C-1(M)(""M+l Q(+)j <l!fM)

~ n:« , v.y Jls - ~ n:« , + ru

= c-l(M)(]_<l!f~~~, d+)<l!f~s)

(2.80)

2.5 Special Galilei Transformations

83

Here C(M) = /i[(] - M)(] + M + 1)]1/2. The considered matrix element is therefore independent of M. In the coordinate representation we finally get for the scattering wave function

.I,(+)(p. ·i. r)

"r "XSi '

(+)J

~ j'M * (i.) ",IM (A) '1, ,pI's' (kilis; ; T)

(2 )3/2 L... C(I;Si' - vi, vi) YI,.M-., n; "" JI', r , k, .

7T JMltl's' tT

(2.81 )

Using this expansion for .p<+), the Schrodinger equation becomes

~ 2f1- JOC> dr' 'VJ (') .1.(+)J(k I ')

= ~ ~ r rr ,'5',1"8" T, T 'Pl"s" i iSi, r ,

l"S"" 0

(2.82)

V?s'.I8(T', T") SJJ' SMM' = J J ur ar <l!f~;:,(r')(fr' , Vir) <l!f~s(r). (2.83)

Since the rotation operator commutes with .0<+) and is the product of an operator acting only on the space variables, RL = exp[(i/Ii) L • n w], times one acting only on the spin variables, Rs = exp[(ijli) S . n w], we have

= Q<+)['P91-'pRsx:l = ,p(+)(~lp, Rsx:).

(2.84)

2.5 Special Galilei Transformations

2.5.1 DETERMINATION OF THE UNITARY OPERATOR REPRESENTING THE TRANSFORMATION. Let us have two observers 0 and (J describing the same physical system S and using reference frames moving with respect to each other with velocity Vo and coinciding at the instant t = O. 0 and (J compare their measurements at the same instant of

84

2 GEOMETRICAL SYMMETRIES IN ORDINARY QUANTUM MECHANICS

time and their clocks are identical; the transformation law for the classical dynamical variables is therefore!

ri(O) = ri(O) - vot,

Pi(O) = Pi(O) - mivO ,

t(O) = t(O), (i = 1,2, ... , N),

(2.85)

m; being the mass of the ith particle of the system S. Equations (2.85) define the special Galilei transformations, which play an important role in nonrelativistic mechanics. In the active descriptions of this transformation we have, as usual, two physical systems Sand S. The system S moves in space, with respect to S, with a velocity Vo •

If l§ is the operator that gives in the quantum mechanical case the translation from the language used by 0 to that used by 0, it must satisfy

'1Jtr/§ =, ri - vot, '1Jtpi'1J = Pi - vOmi ,

(2.86)

'1Jt'1J = '1J'1Jt = I, (i = 1, 2, ... , N).

Spin variables are supposed to remain unaltered, since this happens for any orbital angular momentum intrinsic to the system, as is immediately verified. Just as in the case of space translations we shall then ignore the spin variables of the system in what follows. We see from Eq. (2.86), using Eq. (1.26) with (Xj = ri and (Xk = Pi , that l§ is a linear operator:

['1Jtri'1J, '1Jtpi'lJ) = [r, - vot, Pi - VOmi] = +[ri, Pi].

Since l§ does not commute with both ri and Pi , it is a function of both dynamical variables. However, the simple structure of Eqs. (2.86) together with the fact that l§ is unitary gives us a hint about its form. Let us assume that l§ can be written as the product

(2.87)

with l§p a function of the p;s only and l§r a function of the r;s only, l§p and l§r both being unitary operators. If we write

'1J,/r;'1J" = r; - vot, '1Jrtpi'1Jr = Pi - vOmi'

(2.88)

; Note that the Lagrangian g(qi' iii ,t) obtained for the observer 6 according to Eq, (2.6) contains the total derivative (d/dt)('L,; m,r, • Vo + tmvo't). One omits such a term in order to get the usual transformation properties [Eq. (2.85)] for the momenta.

2.5 Special Galilei Transformations

85

then Eqs. (2.86) follow, and this shows that l§ can be assumed to have the form given in Eq. (2.87). From Eq. (2.88) we have

['1J" ,ri] = vot'1J" , ['1Jr, Pi] = vomi'1Jr,

(2.89a) (2.89b)

that is,

(2.90a)

(2.90b)

Equations (2.90) can be immediately integrated remembering that l§ p is-a function of the p;s only, while l§r is a function of the r;s only. We obtain

'1J" = Cf> exp[(i(li) P . vot],

'1Jr = c; exp [-(i(li) ti miri • vo] ,

where I Cp I = I c; I = 1. cp and c; may depend on t and vo. For the full l§ we therefore obtain

'1J = y(t, vo) exp[(i(li) P . vot] exp[ -(i(li) MR . vo].

(2.91)

M is the total mass of the system, P the total linear momentum, and R the operator describing the position of the center of mass. The modulus of y(t, vo) is 1, from unitarity.

It is possible to show that the order of l§ p and l§ r in l§ is not essential.

For this purpose we use the relation

(2.92)

valid for any pair of operators A and B whose commutator is a C number. Since e·HB = eB+A, Eq. (2.92) implies

(2.93)

which in our case reads

exp (- ~MR. vo) exr(~ p. Vot)

86 2 GEOMETRICAL SYMMETRIES IN ORDINARY QUANTUM MECHANICS

From Eq. (2.94) we see, as already anticipated, that the order of the exponentials in Eq. (2.91) is not essential, the two operators differing only by a time-dependent multiplicative constant of modulus one which is I for t = O. We shall see that the time dependence of y is determined by the requirement of invariance of the theory of free particles under Galilei transformations.

Operating with ~ on the eigenstate f,,1 I.' ... f'N' == t, , we get

!§/r- = yet, vol exp] -'(i/n) MR' . voll,' -'.1 .

(2.95)

Analogously, in momentum space we get

If .p(t) is the state of the system S at the time t for the observer 0, we get for the representative of the state of S as viewed by (J at the same time

(I" , ~(t) .p(t» = yet, Vol exp[ -(i/n) MR' • vo](I"+,.I, .p(t». (2.97)

2.5.2 INVARIANCE UNDER SPECIAL GALILEI TRANSFORMATIONS.

Expression (2.91) for the unitary operator describing the special Galilei transformation of velocity Vo still contains the undetermined factor yet, vol of modulus I which may depend on t and vo' We shall now show that we cannot dispose of this arbitrary phase-factor as usual choosing it simply equal to 1. In doing this, we would in fact obtain that a quantum mechanical system containing only free particles is not invariant under special Galilei transformations. This essential difference from the other cases we have considered so far arises from the fact that the unitary operator ~ that performs the transformation is explicitly dependent on the time.

The theory is invariant under special Galilei transformations if Eq. (1.61a) of Section 1.6.3 with ~ substituted for O/j holds:

. o!§(t)

,Ii ---at + [!§(t), H(t)] = O.

(2.98)

We have H = K + Vet) where

N

Li Pi2 K=_l __

2m;

is the free Hamiltonian (kinetic energy) and Vet) is the interaction Hamiltonian. In nonrelativistic classical mechanics the theory of free

2.5 Special Galilei Transformations

87

particles is, in any case, invariant under special Galilei transformations, since the equations of motion contain only the particle acceleration. The same is assumed in ordinary quantum mechanics:

in o~~t) + [~(t), K] = O.

(2.99)

This means that the requirement of invariance under special Galilei transformations for the interacting system reduces to

[~, Vet)] = o.

(2.100)

Substitution of Eq. (2.91) in (2.99) gives

(2.101)

Evaluating the commutator on the left-hand side, we get

- ~ (vo • P ~ + !§ Vo • P) = iii dy~ vol y-l(t, vol ~ - (Vo • P) e,

that is,

1 [( P) (,R .: " dy(t, vol -l( ) m 2 Vo' , "'] = m--dt-y t, Vo ."..

(2.102)

From this equation we finally get

'J:. dy(t, vol 1 M 2 (t ) I" -d-t- = - 2 Vo y , Vo ,

(2.103)

whose solution is

I C(vo) I = 1.

(2.104)

Since Eq. (2.99) still leaves a free time-independent phase factor in ~, we can choose the phase c(vo) equal to 1. For ~ we finally get the expression

. 1 . .

C§(t) = exp (~ 2 MVo2t) exp (~ p. vot) exp (- ~MR' vo)

88

2 GEOMETRICAL SYMMETRIES IN ORDINARY QUANTUM MECHANICS

It is possible to write a more compact expression for ~(t). In fact from Eq. (2.92) we immediately get

=! ~ (Pt - MR)' vol

(i 1 ) « ) (i )

= exp -,; 2. MVo2t exp -,; P . vot exp -Ii MR' Vo ,

which shows that the operator ~(t) can also be written as

<§(t) = exp [~ (Pt - MR) . vo).

(2.106)

Let us now discuss the transformation properties of the energy operator. According to Eq. (1.48), using Eq. (2.102), we have

H(t) = <§(t) H(t) <§t(t) + iii o~~t) <§t(t)

(2.107)

We get then for the expectation values of the energy operator for the observer 0 and 0, respectively,

(2.108)

which simplifies when 0 is at rest relative to the center of mass of the physical system, in which case <P)o = O. Equation (2.108) is just the relation obtained in classical mechanics.

Equation (2.107) is useful if one wants to use the arguments of Section 1.6.3 to obtain a conserved quantity. In fact, if we require invariance of the full theory under the group of special Galilei transformations we get in the Heisenberg description of motion

d[Pt - MR]H = 0

dt .

(2.109)

If space translation invariance is assumed,-i.e., PH(t) = const,-this gives

dRH(t) PH

~=M'

which shows that the center of mass moves with uniform velocity.

We finally point out that in this and in the preceding section we have worked in the Schrodinger picture of motion, obtaining then an opera-

(2.110)

2.6 Space Reflection

89

tor ~ explicitly dependent on the time. As discussed in great detail in Section 1.9, if the observers use Heisenberg pictures and we have invariance of the theory under the considered transformation, the corresponding operator ~H equals ~(tH) as it follows from Eq. (1.92), where tH is the instant at which the Schrodinger and Heisenberg pictures coincide. Choosing tH = 0, ~H obtains then the simple form

(2.111)

2.6 Space Reflection

.2.6.1 DETERMINATION OF THE UNITARY OPERATOR REPRESENTING THE TRANSFORMATION. All transformations considered so far are continuous in the sense that they can all be generated as a continuous unfolding of infinitesimal transformations. We shall consider in this and in the next section two kinds of transformations that cannot be . obtained in this manner. For this characteristic they are often said to be discrete transformations.

By space reflection we mean the following: We have two observers 0 and 0 looking at the same system S at the same instant of time and using reference frames with oppositely oriented spatial coordinate axes:

riCO) = -r;(O).

(2.112)

In the active points of view we correspondingly have two physical systems Sand S, S being reflected relative to S with respect. to the origin. Calling P the unitary operator giving the translation from the language of 0 to that of 0, from Eq. (2.112) we get

ptpip = -Pi, P'P = ppt =1,

(2.113)

(i = 1,2, ... , N).

The operator P is linear, as can be seen as usual using Eq. (1.26) with ati = r, and atk = Pi' From Eq. (2.113) we see that P commutes with orbital angular momenta and therefore, by analogy, we assume that spin angular momenta are also unaltered. * We can then also in this

: Note that while the spin projections on the coordinate axes are unaltered, the helicity of a particle, defined as the projection of its spin along the direction of its motion, S • p/l p I, changes sign under P.

90 2 GEOMETRICAL SYMMETRIES IN ORDINARY QUANTUM MECHANICS

case forget about spin variables. Vectors that transform under P like f and pare called polar vectors, while those, like the angular momenta, that do not transform under P are the so-called axial vectors.

We shall determine the effect of P on the "improper" eigenvectors of the spatial coordinates and momenta. An explicit expressi_on for P will be derived at the end of the section. Let us apply P to the eigenvalue equations for r, and Pi , respectively:

riP/r' = -r:Pfr' , PiP'P.' = - p,' P'P-p'

(2.114a) (2.1 14b)

From Eqs. (2.114) it follows that

Plr' = a(r')/_r' , P'P.' = b(p') 'P.' .

(2.115a) (2.115b)

Consider now the scalar product (Ii, PCP .. )' Using Eq. (2.115b) we have

On the other hand, using Eq. (2.115a),

(fr' , P'PP') = f daNr"(fr" Pk)(fr' ,'P.') = a( -r')(f-r' ,'PP')

= a( -r')(fr' , 'P-.')'

It follows that

a = b = const.

(2.116)

Of course, unitarity of P implies I a I = 1. Since, as usual, P is defined apart from a constant phase factor, we can choose a = l=-i.e.,

Pf, =I-r,

(2.1 17a) (2.117b)

P'P. = 'P-p,

In what follows we shall use this definition of P.

In general for pz, since it commutes with all dynamical variables and satisfies p2p2t = I, we can only say that it is equal to a number of modulus 1. With the choice of the phase we have made we get, however,

p2 =1.

(2.1 IS)

2.6 Space Reflection

91

Combining Eq. (2.118) with the unitarity equation, we get hermiticity for P:

P = pt.

(2.119)

With this choice P is therefore an observable with eigenvalues:

P' = ±1.

(2.120)

The observable associated with P is called parity. The representatives of the operator P in the coordinate and in the momentum representations are

(P)r' .r· = 1)3N(r' + r"), (P).'.p' = 1)3N(p' + p").

(2.12Ia) (2.12Ib)

We write I, as the tensor product

Ir =IJ~·

(2.122)

From Eq. (2.l17a) we get'

Pll =1-1'

(2.123)

For a generic state vector t{l we obviously have

(fr, N) = (f-r, f), ('P., N) = ('P-., f)·

(2.1 24a) (2.124b)

The application of P on an orbital angular momentum eigenvector Ylm gives, using Eq. (2.123),

(h, PYlm) = (PIr, Ylm)' = (f-1> Ylm)

= (_)1 (/1, Ylm),

that is,

(2.125)

Ylm is then an eigenvector of P belonging to the eigenvalue (-1 )1.

* By 1-1 we mean 111 - {}, 'P + 11) in ket notation.

92 2 GEOMETRICAL SYMMETRIES IN ORDINARY QUANTUM MECHANICS

Sometimes it is useful to consider, instead of a complete reflection, a reflection of only one axis, say the y axis:

Xi(O) = x;(O),

Yi(O) = -Yi(O), (2.126)

Zi(O) = z;(O), (i = 1,2, ... , N).

It is clear that in order to go in this case from the description given by 0 to that of 0, we can apply first the operator P and then the operator of rotation of angle tt around the y axis. Calling Pg the unitary operator corresponding to the transformation (2.126), we have then

r, = ~ exp[(ijli) 7T I.] P,

(2.127)

The order of the operators P and exp[(i/Ii) 7r}y] in Eq. (2.127) is not essential, since P commutes with }y. The operator Py satisfies

(2.128a) (2.128b) (2.128c) (2.1 28d)

(i = 1,2, ... , N),

while Py commutes with Xi' Zi, Px, ' P" and }y,' We see therefore that PlI acts also in the spin space.

We shall now obtain an explicit expression for Py • From Eqs. (2.128) we see that we can put

r, = g exp[(ijli) 7TS.] P(y, P.),

gl = I,

(2.129)

where P( Y, Py) does not operate in spin space. P( y, Py) is linear and unitary and must satisfy Eqs. (2.128a) and (2.128b). Equations (2.128c) and (2.128d) are then reproduced due to Eqs. (2.128a, b) and to the factor exp[(i/Ii) 7rSy]. In order to determine P( y, P,J we require that

(/x .v.a , P(y, p,,) ,p) = (/.,._" .• , .p),

(2.130)

which in turn implies

pt(y, P.) = P(y, P.), P2(y, P.) = I,

(2.131)

2.6 Space Reflection

93

and also

(2.132)

,.

!

i'

Use of the Taylor series expansion which gives !/J( -y) in terms of the values of r/J and its derivatives in the point y

co (-2y)n on

.p( -y) = ~"-n-! - Oy" .p(y)

(2.133)

in Eq. (2.130), yields

N ['" 2 n 1 n n]

P(Y,PlI)=il ~n(~) n!YiP.,.

(2.134)

In terms of P( y, P,J and its analogues for the reflection of the x and z axes we get an expression for P satisfying Eqs. (2.118) and (2.119):

P = P(x,p.,)P(y,p,,)P(z,P.).

(2.135)

The explicit expression (2.135) for P is, however, not useful. This is why we have not introduced it from the very beginning.

It is instructive to see the effect of the various P's introduced above on the eigenvectors Y1m of [2 and 1., the square o~ an orbital ang~lar momentum and its projection on the z axis. Recallmg that a reflection of the x axis means <p ~ -tr - <p for the azimuth, a reflection of the Y axis means <p ~ + ur, while a reflection of the Z axis means 8- ~ tt - 8- for the colatitude, we get

P(x, p.,) Y'm = (_)m Y,-m , P(y, P.) Y,m = Y,-m,

P(z, pz) Y'm = ( - ),+m Y,m .

An alternative expression for P can be obtained by combining Eq. (2.127) with (2.129):

P = exp[ -(ijli) 7TL.] P(y, P.)

and similar expressions for P(x, Px) and P(z, Po). Finally, we note that if we require Py2 = I, which means P/ = Py, w~ must choose the phase factors in Eqs. (2.127) and (2.129) so that [usmg Eq. (2.55)]

,2 = gz = (_ )F,

where F is the total number of fermions of the system.

94 2 GEOMETRICAL SYMMETRIES IN ORDINARY QUANTUM MECHANICS

2.6.2 INVARIANCE UNDER SPACE REFLECTION. If the theory 1S invariant under space reflection, then according to Eqs. (1.61)

[P,H] = 0, dPH/dt = O.

(2.136)

Space-reflection symmetry yields therefore the conservation law for t~e physical quantity P which is called parity. If the state of the system 1S at a given time an eigenstate of P belonging to the eigenvalue + 1 (-1 )-i.e., its parity is + I (-1 )-for any later time the state must maintain the same parity + I (-I). The concept of parity as a good quantum number was introduced for the first time by Wigner (Ref. 2.6) in nuclear physics where it leads to the so-called Laporte selection rules. Unlike the other space-time symmetries-i.e., translations in spacetime, rotations in space, special Galilei tr~nsformations, and time reversal (see for the latter Section 2.7)-the effects of parity conservation are not relevant for classical mechanics. The classical systems are in fact arrangements of mixed parity, so that no new information is obtained by taking their mirror images.

2.6.3 INTRINSIC PARITY. Let us now have a bound system ex composed of two or more particles and suppose that the Hamiltonian describing the system ex is invariant under space reflection.

Let met be the mass of our particle ex. In the center-of-mass system we shall have"

H

7i"'" = m"",,,.

(2.137a)

From (2.136) we immediately see that H

-2 P",,, = maP"'" ,

c .

(2.137b)

i.e., the space reflected eigenstate Po/a possesses the same energy m; of </1 e » If the level met is not degenerate, from Eqs. (2.137a) and (2.l37b) we see that P.fro must be proportional to .fr" :

• Actually, in ordinary quantum mechanics the mass M of a given physical system is defined as the sum of the masses of the constituent particles: M = E. m, . By ma , mass of the particle o, we mean here M - I B lie' where B is the binding energy of the system «, Of course, we can do this since the Hamiltonian is defined apart from an additive constant.

2.6 Space Reflection

95

Multiplying this equation by P, since p2 = 1, we find C" = ± l. That is, .pa is an eigenvector of P:

Na = ±,p'"

(2.138)

On the other hand, if the level is degenerate one can also in this case choose among the degenerate states a set of states of definite parity.

Let us now consider a physical process in which the bound system ex takes part, and suppose that we disregard, in the description of the process, the internal structure of the system ex, so that we are considering it as an elementary structureless system. It is obvious, however, that if we are interested in the parity of the total system, we must take into account Eq. (2.138)-i.e., the fact that the internal wave function of our particle may change sign under space inversion.

This gives rise to the concept of intrinsic parity. We say that the particle ex has intrinsic parity + I or -I if for space inversion its internal wave function does not or does change sign. We say also that the particle is scalar or pseudoscalar, respectively. The concept of intrinsic parity which we have introduced can be extended to cover more general situations, such as systems that we do not know whether or not are composite such as the so-called elementary particles. It is quite obvious that the concept of intrinsic parity for a particle is meaningful only if the forces that bind the given particle are invariant for space reflection. If this were not so, in fact, the stationary states of the system would not necessarily possess a definite symmetry for space reflection.

The intrinsic parity of a system of particles is defined as the product of the intrinsic parities of the various particles times the parity of the relative orbital angular momenta. We can introduce then a new quantum number, the intrinsic parity tr, for the general description of the state of a bound system of particles.

Conservation of parity in a process implies then

(2.139)

where L, and Lf are the total relative orbital angular momenta of the initial and final state, respectively. For the definition of this quantity see Eq. (A2.24) of Appendix 2c. If parity is conserved, we have therefore

. the following allowed transitions:

Lf =LI +2n

Lf = LI + (2n + 1)

if 1rf = 7Tj,

if 7T1 = -7T;.

(n integer)

Equation (2.139) enables us to determine the intrinsic parity of a

96

2 GEOMETRICAL SYMMETRIES IN ORDINARY QUANTUM MECHANICS

particle that participates in a process with particles whose intrinsic parity is already known. For example, consider in the center-of-mass system the experimentally observed absorption of a K- meson by 'He with formation of an hyperfragment and a 1l'- meson in the final state:

Here ~He denotes the bound system of one neutron, two protons, and a A hyperon. It is called hyperfragment due to the presence in it of a particle (A hyperon) heavier than the nuclear particles (proton, neutron). Suppose now that the spin of the !He hyperfragment is zero ( experimental and theoretical work are in favor of this assignment). Since the spins of 'He, 1l', and K are also zero, conservation of total angular momentum, as implied by rotational invariance, indicates that the relative orbital angular momenta in the initial and final states are the same. We therefore get that, if parity is conserved in the absorption of K - by 'He, the product of the intrinsic parities of the K -, neutron and A hyperon equals the intrinsic parity of the 1l'-:

The product 1l'K-1l'n1l'A is also called the relative K-A parity.

As' a second example, consider the production cross section for the process

11-+p--K+.t1

at the threshold energy for production of 1: hyperons:

It is known that a cross section, at the threshold energy for a new two-body channel, exhibits an anomaly of the form of a cusp or step as a function of the total energy (see Ref. 2.7 for more details). Moreover, the anomaly appears in the wave that is coupled to the 8 wave of the newly opened channel. In our example, therefore, an anomaly will appear in the partial wave cross section a~~ApK~AK leading to that IAK wave which is coupled to the lEK = 0 wave of the 1:-K system. From conservation of parity we get

Consequently, if the anomaly appears in the partial wave IAK = even (odd) the relative .111: parity is + 1 (-1).

The very same type of analysis can be applied in the case in which a

2.6 Space Reflection

97

sharp (compound state) resonance appears in various production

. F' cross

sections. or example, III the two processes

il + i2 -- a1 + a2 , il + i2 -- b1 + b2 ,

if we know the relative waves l~eB and {'i,e" of the (a + a ) and (b + b )

. I . hi 1 2 1 2

systems, res~ect1Ve y, in w ich the resonance appears, we can determine

the a-b relative parity, if parity is conserved in the considered reactions:

For the S matrix, invariance under space reflection gives

(2.140a)

In ~omentum space cPi (<Pf) is the product of the various free waves ~D8' tlme~ ~he bound-state wave functions .pB of the fragments appearing III the initial (final) configuration:

For the S matrix we get

(</>1>1[' SIf. VU.P2f'S2f'V2f"··J Sfi¢Pli. 811,lIlj.P21. 82i 'V2i ••• )

= 1Tf7Tl( cP-»lf.Slf,V!f.-P2f,S2r.V2f···J Sft<P-Pl1,Sli.Vli.-PZi.S2i.V21"')' (2.140b)

If w.e write Eq, (2.140b) as a matrix equation in spin space (this is obtained ?y slm~ly dr?pping the spin indices Vf and Vi) we discover that

the matrix obtained IS scalar if 1l' = 1l'. pseudoscalar if _

L. f 1 , 1l'f - -1l'; •

et us consider for example the process

in which 81t = 81, - 0 and 8 - 8 1 As ' I h lidi

, • ~ - 2t - 2i =~, summg a so t e va I rty

of rotational mvariance we get quite in general in the center-of-mass system

S = A + Be ' (PI X Pc),

S = A'(a • PI) + B'(a . pr),

11f = '"1,

(2.141)

where A, ~, AI, and BI are functions of the scalars pl and Pi • PI . This

last scalar IS related to the angle of scattering J). - p/'.....p If ' h

U' - if' one WIS es,

98

2 GEOMETRICAL SYMMETRIES IN ORDINARY QUANTUM MECHANICS

one can of course parametrize the coefficients A, B, A', and B' as functions of total energy E and momentum transfer \ Pi - Pf [. Note that terms bilinear in a do not appear in Eq. (2.141), since

(a' u)(a . v) = (u . v) + i(u X v) . a.

Another implication of space-reflection invariance is that the static electric dipole moment of a bound system with definite parity is zero. The proof is an application of Eq. (2.138):

(o/a, Do/.) "'= II eM., rio/.)

= -II ei(Po/. , riN.) = -(o/.,D%).

(2.142)

The sum on the right-hand side of Eq. (2.142) extends over the particles, whose charge is ei' compounding the system ex, and the ri are the coordinates of the particles in the center-of-mass system.

It is interesting to see how the wave function for the scattering system, in which the initial configuration consists of two compound systems BI and B2, transforms under P when we have invariance under space reflection. In this case we have a Lippmann-Schwinger equation similar to Eq. ~2.78) with V and fPl>S' replaced by (H - E) and cPi == rp~!.pBl"'B. ' respectively:

o/!+)(i) = .pi + E -1 + i" (H - E).pi .

(2.143)

Applying P to this equation we get

(2.144)

where 7Ti is the intrinsic parity of Bi . The index (i) on '" reminds us of the particular initial configuration considered.

2.6.4 NONCONSERVATlON OF PARITY. Let us consider the decay of an unstable particle. If parity is conserved in the decay process, Eq. (2.139) again enables us to determine the intrinsic parity of the decaying particle if the intrinsic parities of the final products are known. Historically, however, it was just the consideration of a decay process that first indicated that nature is not invariant under space reflection. The whole thing came out of the so-called -r-{) puzzle, which we are going to describe.

2.6 Space Reflection

99

In 1955 two particles, called {}+ and -r+ at that time, exhibited the decays

D+ --+ 71+ + 71°, (D)

7'+ --+ 71+ + 71+ + 71-. (7')

B~th . the m~ss~s and the lifetimes of the two particles were known to

COInCIde, within experimental errors so that one would ha b

.. lined to thi ' ve een me me to think that {}+ and -r+ were simply two different decay modes

of the same parent particle. The spins of the 71' mesons were known to ~e zer~ and their intrinsic parities -1 (we shall see their determination In Sections 2.9.4 and 2.9.5).

Let us suppose that the spin of the {}+ and r+ is J. In the center-ofmass. syste.m th.e initial orbital angular momentum will be zero. Using rotational mvanance and parity conservation, we then get

11'c+ = (-y,

w_here 11 is the relati.ve orbital angular momentum of the two positive pions and 12 the orbital angular momentum of the negative pion with respect to the center of mass of the (71'+ + 71+) system. For the splitting of the ~otal angular momentum into these two, see Eq. (A2.27) of Appendix 2c.

I~ ord~r to determi.ne II + 12, consider the decay pattern, which is realized In nature WIth nonzero probability in which the - h

. hi I ' 71 as

varus Ing y small kinetic energy. In this case 12 = 0 and conservation

of total angular momentum implies 11 = J-that is,

71,+ = -(-V.

We ~herefore ~eet the following puzzling situation: If we want the considered particles, besides the same mass and lifetime to have also the sa~~ spin,. their intrinsic parities must be different. 'On the other hand, It IS ObVIOUS that if we want the intrinsic parities to be the same w~ ~ust assu~e their spins to differ by an odd integer. From th~ principle of panty conservation it follows then that {}+ and -r+ must be two different particles.

. To solve this dilemma Lee and Yang in 1956 anticipated that parity I~ not co~served in the processes (fJ) and (-r) and that they are therefore SImply different decay modes of the same parent particle, since then called ~he K + meson. They proposed various experiments to check unamh.Igously whether parity is conserved in weak decay processes. We shall dISCUSS here two of these proposed experiments.

100 2 GEOMETRICAL SYMMETRIES IN ORDINARY QUANTUM MECHANICS

a. fJ-decay. Let us consider an ensemble of 6OCO nuclei. This

nucleus has spin 5 and is ,B-radioactive with lifetime 5.2 yea~s. The glv~n sample of 60CO is cooled at very low temp~rature (,,",?01 K) to aV?ld thermal agitation and placed inside a solenoidal, electrically conducting coil. We start counting the electrons emitted in the various directions via the process of ,B-decay. Without current in the coil the electrons are emitted isotropically from the source. This is obvious, since there is no preferred direction in the given sample, the spins of the ~C? nuclei being oriented at random. When the current flows, however, It IS found that more electrons are emitted in the direction antiparallel to the

magnetic field B produced by the solenoid. . .

Which kind of angular distribution is expected if there IS conservation of parity? Since the magnetic field B polarizes more 60CO ~uclei. of the sample in the direction parallel to B, we can base our considerations on only one of these nuclei. We compare our experiment with its mirror image. That is to say, we use the second active point of view.

In Fig. 2.2, S is the solenoid that produces the magnetic field. The

\ !

\ !

~S~B Ii 1 \\

I j 1 \\

Mirror-reflected experiment

Actual experiment

Figure 2.2

direction of the motion of the electrons in S is shown. Note that the plane of S is perpendicular to the paper. From the figure we unders~and immediately that if we suppose that the mirror images of the vart~us particles involved in the process coincide with the cor~espondmg particles, the hypothesis of parity conservation tog.eth~r ~th that of rotational invariance gives an isotropic angular distribution for the

2.6 Space Reflection

101

emitted electrons. That is, since the only vectors at our disposal are the 60CO spin a and the electron momentum P (all the other vectors are averaged on), the probability distribution has the form

(parity conserved).

(2.145)

The experiment shows, on the contrary, that the distribution is not isotropic-that is,

(experimentally).

(2.146)

In particular, the ,B-rays from the oriented 60CO nuclei are preferentially emitted in the direction opposite to that of the sOCo spin. This means that the mirror image of our experiment does not represent a possible experiment. The principle of parity conservation is then violated. This pioneering experiment was performed by Wu et al. in December 1956 and provided the first conclusive evidence that nature does not possess left-right symmetry.

b. Hyperon decay. Information concerning parity nonconservation can also be obtained by studying the decay of hyperons. Consider the reaction in which the spin tAo hyperon is produced:

followed by the decay

110 --+ TT- + p.

From the first reaction, along a given direction PA, the beam of AO hyperons turns out to be partially polarized along the direction of the normal to the production plane. In Fig. 2.3 the combined processes are shown for the two cases of decay up and decay down. The situation (b) happens to be the mirror image of the situation (a), if we suppose that the mirror images of the various particles involved in the processes coincide with the corresponding particles. If in the decay, for the considered PA, the number of pions emitted is not the same above (i.e., in the oriented direction of P"inc X PA) and below the production plane, then reflection symmetry does not hold good and parity is not ~onse~~ed in the process. In case (a) the quantity (P"inc X PA) • P"decay IS. pO~lttV:, while in case (b) it is negative. It follows that if the probability distribution of the decaying pions contains the pseudoscalar quantity (P"inc X PA) • P"decay' then the mirror image of our experiment does not represent a correct experiment and parity is not conserved.

102 2 GEOMETRICAL SYMMETRIES IN ORDINARY QUANTUM MECHANICS

.inc

production plane

Actu.t experiment

mirror

11,mc

Mirror- ref lee ted experiment

Figure 2.3

The above experiment, done at Brookhaven and Berkeley, has shown that more pions are emitted upward (i.e., for (p"inC X PA)' P"decay positive). Recent accurate measurements have also shown that the pions are emitted preferentially in the direction opposite to the A spin, which means that the A beam is preferentially polarized in the direction

opposite to P"inc X PA'

2.6.5 SOME FURTHER REMARKS ON PARITY. If all natural laws were invariant under space reflection, the intrinsic parity of a particle would be unambigously determined once we had fixed the intrinsic parities of the fundamental stable particles (proton, electron, neutrino, photon). As we have seen above, there is, however, experimental evidence that parity is not conserved. As a consequence, it does not make sense in general to talk about intrinsic parities. It happens, however, that in nature certain processes, in which only strong or electromagnetic

2.6 Space Reflection

103

int~ractions are involved, are parity conserving. The concept of intrinsic panty, can then be maintained for the particles that take part in processes ?f this type. An instance of parity conservation in electromagnetic interactions is provided in the same lOCO experiment. The {J-decay of 60CO is followed in fact by y-radiation whose angular distribution has the right-left symmetry expected for parity-conserving processes. For the probability amplitude F for parity mixing defined by

where. ~ is a~ eigenvector of the total Hamiltonian and ~+ and ~_ have opposite panty, upper limits have been found experimentally. In particular, for the case of y-radiation considered above, 1 F 12 < 10-4• The corresponding F for atomic spectroscopy satisfies 1 F 12 < 10-6, while from double scattering of protons a limit 1 F 12 < 10-4 has been found.

In many .cas~, even if t~e invol.v~d interactions are parity conserving, the determination of relative panties may be impossible owing to the occurrence of superselection rules. In fact, from the foregoing it should be clear that the assignment of the intrinsic parity amounts to a certain choice for the phase factor multiplying the state vector. The determination .of the relative parity of two states is therefore possible only if the relative phase of the two states can be measured. But we know that if a supe.rselection rule is operating, the relative phase of vectors belonging to different coherent subspaces cannot be determined. Therefore it is impossible to talk about the relative parities of states belonging to different coherent subspaces.

Another consequence of the nonconservation of parity is that the elementary particles could acquire a nonvanishing static electric dipole moment. Hitherto this possibility has, however, been excluded by time-reversal invariance (see Section 2.7.9).

Finally, we should like to comment on the possibility of maintaining space-reflection invariance by making some additional hypotheses on the nature of things. In our experiments in Section 2.6.4, the conclusion that parity is violated in weak interactions was based on the assumption that the mirror images of the particles occurring in the processes coincide with the corresponding particles. In fact, if this were not so, then, for example, situation (b) of Fig. 2.3 would not be the mirror image of situati?n (a), and therefore no inferences could be drawn on the space., ~eHectlOn symmetry. Let us then conjecture, with Lee and Yang, that 10 the universe two different kinds of elementary particles exist, with the same masses, charges, spins, and lifetimes but exhibiting opposite asymmetry under space inversion. In such a picture we should have two

104 2 GEOMETRICAL SYMMETRIES IN ORDINARY QUANTUM MECHANICS

AO hyperons, one right-handed and one left-handed, decaying according to

ARO~7TR- +PR, ALo~7TL-+PL'

and while in the decay of the ARo more 7TR - are emitted in the direction of the spin of the hyperon, in the decay of the AL 0 more 7TL - are emitted in the direction opposite to the spin of the hyperon. If this were the case the over-all symmetry for space reflection would be maintained. since the mirror image of a ARo would then be ALo (and similarly for the other particles). The observed asymmetry would then be ascribed simply to a cosmological local preponderance of one kind of particle, the ALo's, over the others, a situation similar to the preponderance of matter over antimatter in our neighborhood of the universe. Until now there is no experimental evidence in favor of the existence of two kinds of elementary particles. The foregoing discussion therefore remains pure speculation.

Another way of interpreting the parity violation, which partially restores the left-right symmetry in nature, is to assume that when we perform a reflection we must at the same time make a charge conjugation. This new symmetry operation, which is called CP, has already been discussed in Section 1.8. More details will be given in Chapters 5, 6, and 7.

2.7 Time Reversal

2.7.1 DETERMINATION OF THE ANTILINEAR UNITARY OPERATOR REPRESENTING THE TRANSFORMATION. Let us now consider two observers 0 and 0 looking at the same physical system S and having clocks moving opposite in time with respect to one another. That is, while the observer 0 uses the parameter teO) to characterize the instant of time at which he makes measurements on the system S, the observer 0, taking as zero the time when the two clocks coincide, uses the parameter teO) = -teO) to characterize his time coordinate. This is simply a change in the convention establishing the correspondence between a physical situation of the system called clock and the numerical value of the parameter t. For instance, both observers may use the daily apparent motion of the sun around the earth to characterize the time at which they perform measurements. While the observer 0, starting from a certain situation at which he assigns the instant t( 0) = 0, attributes increasing values of the parameter teO) to a certain sequence of positions taken by the sun, the observer 0 attributes instead decreasing values of his parameter t(O) to the same sequence of events.

2.7 Time Reversal

105

W~y should we consi~er this transformation at all when we all feel

that time runs one way m nature? As a matter of fact the e . t f

f. . , XIS ence 0

?n arrow 0 time III almost all physical, chemical, and biological processes IS one of the first concepts that man learns in his childhood Th . t

h is th .. . epom,

owever, IS t at considering the active description of this trans" ti

[i h .. rorrna IOn

m t e spirit of our second active point of view) in the frame of I . al

h..f . c aSSlC

mec ames, 1 a particle moves in a time-independent force field then

bo~h q(t~ and q( -t). are p~ssible trajectories for the particle. Also, the traJecto:les ~re described With opposite momenta. We have the situation shown III ~lg. 2Aa and 2Ab: qI(t~ = qIl( -t), pI(t) = -pIle -t). This mea~s that If we take the motion picture of the first trajectory and then run It back~ards, what we shall see will be exactly the second trajectory of the particle. We say that classical mechanics, if no time-dependent

I

I

f f

q It)

(0)

pet)

,"-, _, , - .. _...... ,

, , , , ,

(b)

, ,

"

' ....... , ... _- ----;11

p (t)

Figure 2.4

106 2 GEOMETRICAL SYMMETRIES IN ORDINARY QUANTUM MECHANICS

forces enter into the picture, is invariant under the time-reversal transformation. This is the content of the principle of dynamical reversibility (see Ref. 2.10, p. 102). It is therefore expected that important physical implications can be obtained by its consideration.

Let us come to the definition of time reversal in quantum mechanics. The operator O/I(t) will now be called e(t). It relates the two observers

o and 0 who make experiments on the same physical system at the same subjective time t:

.pa(t) = e(t) .po(t).

(2.147)

It is convenient to introduce another operator, which we call {}:

.pa( -t) = {} tfro(t).

(2.148)

The operator {} gives the correspondence between the state vectors assigned by 0 and 0 to the same physical system at the same objective time (t for 0, -t for 0). As we shall see below, the operator {} does not depend on the time. The relation between e(t) and {} is immediately obtained:

e(t) = {} T( -t, t) = T(t, -t) {},

(2.149)

where T and T are the time-evolution operators for the observer 0 and 0, respectively. Therefore in determining the time-reversal transformation we can limit ourselves to the construction of the operator D, since e(t) differs from it only for a time translation. If the two observers use Heisenberg pictures and we have invariance of the theory for the time-reversal transformation (2.147), the corresponding operator eH equals e(tH) as it follows from Eq. (1.92), where tH is the instant at which the Schrodinger and Heisenberg pictures coincide. Choosing tH = 0, eH obtains the simple form

(2.150)

The observers 0 and 0 assign, at the same objective time, the same positions and opposite momenta to the various particles of the physical system-i.e., in terms of expectation values,

(.pa(t), r, .pa(t» = (.po( -t), r, .po( -t», (tfra(t), Pi .pa(t» = -(.po( -t), Pi .po( -t».

From Eq. (2.151), using Eq. (2.148), we get the correspondent of Eqs. (1.25):

(2.151)

{}fr;{} = r i , {}tpi& = -Pi, {}t{} = {}{}t = I,

(2.152)

(i = 1, 2, ... , N).

2.7 Time Reversal

107

As a.lr:ady anticipat.ed, from Eq. (2.152) we get that {} does not depend

explicitly on the time, From Eq (2152) h f

{}+( '. we ave, 0 course, that

r, X Pi){} = -ri X Pi and by analogy we require for the spin angular momentum vectors

(2.153)

In t~e active descriptio~ of this transformation we then have two physI.cal system~ S and S, S being obtained from S by reversing the ve~oclty and spin of all the particles. {} is antilinear, as can be seen usmg Eq. (1.26b) with otj = ri and otk = Pi:

[8-tr;{}, {}tp;{}] = -[r;, Pi]'

Since {} is antilinear, it clearly has no classical counterpart. Equations (2.152) and (2:153) define {} apart from a phase, as usual. We shall look for a~ expression of {} as a product of an operator acting on the spatial coordl~ates and mome~ta and an operator acting only on spin variables. For t?IS purpose con~lder K, the complex conjugation operator in the coordinate representation

(frxi, K.p) = (frxi, .p)*,

(2.154)

where .p belongs to the Hilbert space. As usual t, stands for!.!. ... t,

From Eq. (2.154) we have ' r t r. 'N'

(f,xs', K[Cl.pl + c2.pJ) = (frX:, C1.p1 + C2.p2)*

= C1 *(f,xs', tfr1)* + C2 *(f,xs', .p2)* = C1 *(frXs', K.p1) + C2 *(f,xs', Kif;2),

that is, K is antilinear:

K[ClY,l + c2y,a] = c1*Ky,1 + C,!;*KY,2' From Eq. (2.154) we get also

(2.155)

(K,p, Ky,) = L f d3Nr (f,xs', K,p)* (frXs', K.p)

..

= L f d3Nr (frX:, ,p)(f,xs', if;)*

.r

(2.156)

K is therefore unitary; K' K = KKt = I.

108 2 GEOMETRICAL SYMMETRIES IN ORDINARY QUANTUM MECHANICS

We note that the operator that takes the complex conjugate of the representative of the vectors in a given representation does not do the same in all the representations. In fact no unitary operator 0/1 exists for which (t/J, o/I~) = (4), .p)* for 4> and .p arbitrary vectors in Hilbert space. Its definition would imply nonlinearity and also (0/14>, o/I.p) = (4), .p), meeting contradiction. The complex conjugation operator m~st be defined in a representation. If we define K through Eq. (2.154) In the coordinate representation, we can easily get the expression of K in the momentum representation:

('PoX,', K.p) = f daNr ('Po ,!r)(frX,', "')*

= f daNr ('P-o ,fr)* (frXs', .p)* = ('P-oxs', .p)*.

(2.157)

Let us consider the operator K2:

(frXs', K2.p) = (frXs', K.p)* = (frXs', .p);

therefore

K2 =1.

(2.158)

Equation (2.158) together with Eq. (2.l56) yields hermiticity:

Kt=K.

Let us now show that K is able to reproduce Eqs. (2.152):

(2.159)

(fr'X~: , Kr;K.p) = (fr'X~: ,r;K.p)* = r;'(fr'x~: ,K.p)* = r/(fr'X~: ,.p)

= (fr'x;: , r;.p),

(fr'X~:, KpiK.p) = (/r-x;: ,PiK.p)* 'Ii o(fr'X~: , K.p)* = tor;'

'Ii o(fr'x~: , .p) = lor;'

2.7 .Time Reversal

109

which shows that

Kr;K = ri,

(2.160)

As long as we are concerned with spatial coordinates and their canonically conjugated momenta, we can take K for the time-reversal operator. Let us see the effect of the operator K on spin angular momenta. We have" (j = x,y, z):

(frX,v, K(Si); K.p) = (frxs', (Si); K.p)* = «Si);/rXs', K.p)*

= L (X;:, (S;); x:)(frX;: , .p).

,s'J/'

(2.161)

The matrix elements of Sj , with the phase convention established by Rose (Ref. 2.3), satisfy the following equations:

(2.162)

We then obtain, introducing Eq. (2.162) in (2.161),

(Xs', K(Si)Z K.p) = (xs', (Si)Z .p),

• a

(xs', K(Si). K.p) = -(Xs', (S.) • .p),

or

K(Si)Z K = (Si)", , K(Si). K = -(S,)", K(Si). K = (Si).,

(2.163)

so that K is also able to reproduce the time-reversal transformation operation on Sy, but is not able to do so on Sx and Sz. {} does not coincide with K when we have particles with spin. {} and K are both antiunitary, so 1: = K{} is unitary. We have

{} = K1:

(2.164)

t Note that from Eq, (2.154) it does not follow that «S,),xlfr, K.p)* = «S'),Xlfr, .p), since (S,),X! is in general a combination of the basic xl with complex coefficients.

110 2 GEOMETRICAL SYMMETRIES IN ORDINARY QUANTUM MECHANICS

and the unitary E will operate only in the spin space. A physical requirement is that

tf2 = c~,

(2.165)

with I Cf) I = 1. That is, making time reversal twice, we return to the same ray of the Hilbert space. We have from Eq. (2.164)

{}2 = (Ja)(K2.') = K2Z*Z = Z*Z,

where the elements of the matrix E* are complex conjugate of those of the matrix E. From Eq. (2.165) we have

E*E = Cf),

i.e., multiplying on the right by Et and using the unitarity of E, Z* = c~t.

Let us take the complex conjugate

E = c~*zr,

(2.166)

where the matrix zr is the transposed of the matrix E. Let us transpose Eq. (2.166):

which together with Eq. (2.166) tells us that

Ci) = ±l.

We have then in general

{}2 = ±l.

(2.167)

Note that Eq. (2.167) is independent of the phase free in {}; in fact if we take for the time-reversal transformation {}' = ei'f'{}, we have {}'2 = ei'P{}ei'P{} = e"'e-i'P{}2 = &2. We shall see below that the (+ 1) in Eq. (2.167) holds for a system containing an even number of fermions, while (-1) holds for a system containing an odd number of fermions. In other words, indicating with F the number of fermions present in the system, we shall show that

{}2 = (- V.

(2.168)

&2 coincides with the univalence operator. According to Eq. (2.168) we also have

(.f;,{}.f;) = (-)"(tf2.f;,{}.f;) = (-V(&.p,.p)*,

2.7 Time Reversal

so that D1p is orthogonal to ,p if the number of fermions is odd. This may

turn out to be useful sometimes. .

From Eqs. (2.153), (2.163), and (2.164) we obtain

zt(S;)"1: = -(S;)z, 1:t(Sj)" 1: = +(S;). , 1:t(Sj).1: = -(S;).,

(2.169)

(i = 1,2, ... , N).

111

E is .easily constructed for any spin. In fact, from Eq. (2.169) we see that .It corresponds to a rotation in spin space of an angle 7T around the y axis. Apart from a phase factor of modulus one, we have

1: = exp[(i/Ii) 7TS.],

(2.170)

where

In pa~icular, if we have only.spin t particles, since (S.), = (fi/2)(CT.)I' [(CT.) I] = 1, I = x, y, z, we easily get for E

(2.171)

In the Pauli representation, which uses the Rose phase convention, we have

. (0 1)

UJ~ = -I 0'

which is a real matrix and consequently commutes with K. Note that (i(7I/)2 = -/.

The time-reversal operator &, apart from a phase factor of modulus one, is then

{} = K exp[(i/h) 178"J,

(2.172)

and for a system of spin t particles

(2.173)

The order of the operators in Eq. (2.173) is not essential, since the i(CTk)lI'S commute among themselves and with K.

112 2 GEOMETRICAL SYMMETRIES IN ORDINARY QUANTUM MECHANICS

The operator {}, as defined by Eqs. (2.172) and (2.173), when applied to spin t eigenvectors, gives

1/2 ~ (1) __ -1/2

{lx'/2 {} ° - X1/2'

{}X-1/2 '" o (0) = Xl/2

liZ 1 112 •

(2.174)

Therefore, using the spinor representation (2.63), we get for a generic system of particles

(2.175)

Application of {}2 then gives

{}20,y JM = ( _)2J qy JM.

(2.176)

Since 2J coincides with the number of fermions, modulo an even number, formula (2.168) is then proved.

We can easily see that the definition (2.154) can be extended to nonnormalizable vectors. Consider in fact, in place of .p, the improper vector 'PoX;: . We have

(frXs', 'Pox~:)* = (frX:, 'P-.X~:)·

We then identify K'PoX;: with 'P-oX;: :

(2.177)

If use is now made of Eq. (2.159) with frX~: in place of .p, we get correspondingly

KJ.xs' = J.xs'·

(2.178)

For a linear operator, Eq. (2.178) would correspond to saying that K is the identity; since K is antilinear, that is clearly not so. From Eq. (2.178) we have

K.p = KI J d3N, (frXs', .p)JrXs'

sv

= I J d3N, (frXs', .p)* JrXs'·

.,

(2.179)

The operation {} on a state describing the free motion of a particle with spin gives

(2.180)

2.7 Time Reversal

113

2.7.2 ENERGY TRANSFORMATION PROPERTIES. In order to get H in terms of H we can use Eq. (1.48) with our antilinear unitary operator e(t) substituted in place of CU'(t):

H(t) = -e(t) H(t) et(t) + in il~~t) et(t). (2.181)

Using Eq. (2.149) and the equation

. ilT(-t t)

-!n at ' = H( -t) T( -t, t) + T( -t, t) H(t),

(2.182)

which follows immediately from the Schrodinger equation for T( -t, to) ~ T( -t, t) T(t, to), we get the energy operator for 0,

H(t) = {} H( -t) (}t.

(2.183)

We can obtain Eq. (2.183) in another simpler way. Let us multiply the Schrodinger equation established by 0 for the system S

in d.po(t) = H(t) .po(t) dt

times {} on the left. We get

Since {}.po(t) = 0/0<- t), we get the Schrodinger equation as established by 0 for S,

in d.pz(t) = H(t) .fio(t), with H given by Eq. (2.183).

For the expectation values of the energy evaluated by 0 and 0, respectively, since Ht(t) = H(t), we get

(.po(t), H(t) .po(t» = (.po( -t), H(-t) .po( -t».

(2.184)

From the equations

.po(t) = T(t, to) .po(to) = T(t, to) {} .po( -to), .po(t) = {} .po( -t) = {} T( -t, -to) .poC -to),

we get the following relation between the time-evolution operators:

T(t, to) {} = {} T( -t, -to)' (2.185)

114 2 GEOMETRICAL SYMMETRIES IN ORDINARY QUANTUM MECHANICS

2.7.3 INVARIANCE UNDER TIME REVERSAL IN THE PASSIVE POINT OF VIEW. In Section 1.6.1 we have formulated the criteria of invariance in the passive point of view under a generic transformation connecting the observers 0 and 0. Equation (1.51) in our case gives, using Eq. (2.183),

{} H( -t) {}t = H(t).

(2.186)

Of course the time-evolution operators of the two observers are also equal in this case. Equation (2.185) becomes

T(t, to) = {} T( -t, -to) {}t. (2.187)

If the theory, besides being invariant under time reversal, is invariant under time tranelations= i.e., the Hamiltonian does not depend on the time-s-Eq. (2.186) becomes

[{}, H] = O.

(2.188)

Since {} is antilinear, we do not get from Eq. (2.186), or (2.188), a conservation law as we did for the other transformations. However, as we shall see below, also in this case the invariance requirement has important physical implications.

2.7.4 INVARIANCE UNDER TIME REVERSAL IN THE ACTIVE POINT OF VIEW. In Section 1.7.2 we formulated the invariance requirements in the active point of view, assuming that the operator Olt(t) givi~g t~e transformation was linear. Since the time-reversal transformation IS represented by an antilinear operator, we shall reformulate the problem for this transformation.

The observer 0 is making an experiment on his physical system S during the time interval (to , t) on his clock. The observer (5 repeats this experiment on his system S durin~ the time inter~al (to , t) as. shown by his clock which runs backwards WIth respect to 0 s clock. If It happens that

(2.189)

for all .p's and all times to and t, we say that nature is symm~tric for time reversal. From Eq. (2.189) we obtain again Eq. (1.71), which now reads

T(t, to) == {} T( -t, -to) {}t = exp{i[S(t) - S(to)]} T(t, to). (2.190)

Using the fact that {}2 = [{}t]2 = ±l and exchanging to -- -to and t -- -t, we get

T(t, to) = exp{ -i[S( -t) - S( -to)]} {} T( -t, -to) {}t,

2.7 Time Reversal

1lS

which tells us that

(2.191 )

We can now redefine the evolution operator T as follows:

T'(t, to) = exp{(i/2)[S(t) - S(to)]} T(t, to), 1"(t, to) = exp{ -(i/2)[S(t) - S(to)]} T(t, to).

Calling T and T again the new operators T' and T', we get

(2.192)

which is the equation obtained in the passive point of view. If the observer 0 at his own time to prepares his system S in the state e and (5 at his own time to prepares his system S in the same (for him) state '" (this means that while spatially the system of particles S occupies the same positions of the corresponding of S, all momenta and spins of S are opposite with respect to their corresponding ones in S), they find for the evolved states in the Schrodinger picture

T( t, tolo/ = "'os(t), '1'( t, to).p = "'os(t).

The invariance requirement (2.192) then gives

"'os(t) = "'os(t).

That is, the symmetry established at the initial times to is preserved as time g!)es on. Of course, the invariance requirement (2.192) gives again

for the Hamiltonian Eq. (2.186). .

We notice that since oCt) satisfies Eq. (2.191), we have fixed only the symmetric part of the phase free in T(t, to)' In fact the operator

T"(t, to) = exp{i[..::I(t) - ..::I(to)]} T(t, to)

with

..::I(t) = -..::I ( -t)

still satisfies Eq. (2.192). If, moreover, time-translation invariance holds, we see from Eq. (1.74) that the phase LI(t) must be linear in t, so that the Hamiltonian is still defined apart from an additive constant c number.

116 2 GEOMETRICAL SYMMETRIES IN ORDINARY QUANTUM MECHANICS

2.7.5 MICROSCOPIC REVERSIBILITY. Using Eq. (2.185) and t~e unitarity of {}, we get the transformation properties of the S matnx under time reversal:

= lim & T!(O, -t) T( -t, -to) TI( -to, 0) &t

t~+C()

= &[ lim Tj(O, to) T(to , t) TI(t, OW &t

t~-a:> to~+CO

(2.193)

The time-reversal-invariance requirements 1'i = T;, t; = Tf, l' = T tell us that

s, = Sf[,

(2.194)

that is,

Sn = &[ Slf]t &t = &t[Sur o.

(2.195a) (2.195b)

For the matrix elements, using Eq. (2.l95b), we have the following time-reversal-invariance requirement:

(rPf, SnrP') = (rPr , &t[Sif]t &rP') = (&rP!, [Slf]t &rP')* = (&rPl , SIf&<pr).

(2.196)

Invariance under time reversal gives a connection between a reaction process i ->- f and its inverse ~ ->- i. E.quation .(~. ~ 96) is the expression of the so-called principle of microscoprc reversibility. From Eq. (2.196), using Eq. (2.180), we get

= (_ )81+V1+82+"'+" '+81'+111' +S2' +"2' +. o.

X (9'-0,' ,s,' .-v,' .-02 .s; .-" .... ,Su9'-O,.Sl'-'l'-O, .• ,.-, ... ..), (2.197)

where we have considered for simplicity structurelcss particles .only. We note that for the case of pure elastic scattering of two spinless

2.7 Time Reversal

117

particles, the only rotational invariant quantities in the center-of-mass system by which we can construct the S matrix are Pi2 = pi and Pi . PI . These quantities happen, however, to be also invariant under the substitutions Pi ->- -Pi' PI ->- -Pt, and Pi ->- -Pt, Pt ->- -Pi' It follows then that rotational symmetry implies the space-reflection and time-reversal symmetries for this particular case.

Let us now consider the elastic scattering of two particles in the center-of-mass system and in the angular-momentum representation. Its basic vectors are

<wYzs = L CCl, s,}; M - v, v) YI,M-,X:,

where the C's are, as usual, the real Clebsch-Gordan coefficients, s and v are the total spin and its projection on the z axis. From Eqs. (2.195b) and (2.175) we get

(<wM, Sn<wMi) - ({)t!IJMl S .-,.o)lM, )

Jrlr8r' Jlli8t· - Jilist' ifU";Y JrlfSf

If rotational invariance holds, then Ji = Jf , Mj = Mt , and the S matrix elements are also independent of M. Since (- )2U+M) = I, from time reversal and rotational invariance we get

(2.198b)

The S matrix is then symmetric in this representation.

It is interesting to note that the operation of time reversal transforms an incoming (outgoing) wave into an outgoing (incoming) wave. In particular, using the Lippmann-Schwinger equation (2.78), we get

& op{+)(p, s, v) == &[1 + (E + ie - H)-l (H - E)] 'P." = [I + (E - ie - H)-l (H - E)] &9'0" = (- )S+' op{-I( - p, s, -v).

(2.199)

The very fact that the operation of time reversal exchanges the initial with the final state can make it difficult to check the invariance of nature under this transformation (e.g., in a decay process it is very difficult to reproduce the time-inverted process). However, in some calculations, use can be made of only the first-order perturbation theory as in the case of a certain class of weak interactions,

(2.2ooa)

118 2 GEOMETRICAL SYMMETRIES IN ORDINARY QUANTUM MECHANICS

2.7 Time Reversal

119

W(G, Pe) = W( -G, -Pel.

(2.201)

If the initial 1?artic!es are unpolarized and we use detectors that register the final particles independently of their polarization, then a sum over the ~al and an ~verage over the initial spins must be performed. The relative cross section is then

( dU!~I(k!, kl) )

dQ = [(2sI! + 1)(2s2! + 1)]-1

unpol

X '\' ( dUI<-I(k!, SI! , VI! ,52! , "2! j k! , $11 , I'll , 521 , "21) ) •

L.. dn (2.205)

Initial and ,,, pOI

ftnal aptna

where HI is the part of the Hamiltonian responsible for the transition. In these cases, invariance under time reversal gives

(2.200b)

Clearly, in Eq. (2.200b) no interchange of the initial with the final state has been performed. Equation (2.200b) gives, for example, in the case of the decay of the 6OCO nucleus,

Since experimentally W has the structure given by Eq. (2.146), I in the approximation considered time reversal holds good in ~-decay. Equation (2.200b) does not hold when important final-state interactions appear in the decay process. However, similar conclusions can also be obtained in this case. The reader is referred to the review article by Lee and Yang (Ref. 2.11).

2.7.6 THE REQUIREMENT OF TIME-REVERSAL INVARIANCE ON CROSS SECTIONS. For the S matrix describing a two-particle --->- two-particle scattering (elastic or inelastic) in the center-of-mass system we write

From Eq. (2.204) we get for the cross section of unpolarized particles ( dU!<-I(kf, kl) ) = {~)2 (2sI! + l)(2s2! + 1) ( dUtrl( -kl , -kf) )

dQ unpol hi (2sl1 + 1)(2sz1 + 1) dQ .

unpol

(2.206) If rotational invariance holds, rotating the scattering system by an an~le 7r a~out ~n axis perpendicular to the scattering plane ( - ki , - kr), taking this axis as the spin quantization axis and using the fact that f?IlX: = ei""X:' we get

(cP! , SflcPl) = Sn - 2-rri S(EI - EI) Tn , where Tli is given by

(2.202a)

('P-p,x;::x::: ' Slf'P-p,X;::x:::> = exp[i(vI! + V2! - I'll - 1'21) 7T] X ('PPIX~:X;::, SU'P.,x;::x;::).

Eq. (2.206) therefore gets the final form,

Tu = (.pl-llll, (H - E)cPl)

(2.202b)

with .pHIfl satisfying Eq. (2.143) with" replaced by -E (incoming-wave boundary condition). For the cross section we have

dU!<-I(k! , Sll , Vlf ,52! , V2! ; kl , Sll , I'll , S21 , "21) = (2-rr)4 2 Vf 1 T 12

dQ! Ii Wf VI II,

(2.203) where w = p(v, being P = lik the momentum of one particle in the center-of-mass system, v = I VI - V2 I. For the cross section the following reciprocity relation is obtained from the time-reversal-invariance requirement of Eq. (2.196):

(2.207) 2.7.7 DETERMINATION OF THE SPIN OF THE CHARGED 7T-MESON.

Equation (2.207) can be profitably used in the reaction process in which two colliding protons give a rr-meson and a deuteron:

p + p --+ 7T+ + d.

In this case t being the spin of the proton and 1 that of the deuteron, from Eq. (2.56) we already know that the spin of the rr-meson is an integer. Equation (2.207) now reads

( dad~pp ) = ~ (~n f (2s" + I) ( dU~~"d ) .

unpol P unpol

~~~~,~,~,~,~;~,~,~,~,V~ dQ

I Search for correlations of, for example, the type a • (Pe X p,) has been so far unsuccessful.

Comparison with the experimental results shows undoubtedly that S" = 0

120 2 GEOMETRICAL SYMMETRIES IN ORDINARY QUANTUM MECHANICS

27 8 DETAILED BALANCE. The relation (2.207) is referred to as the "prin~iple of detailed balance.'" Ho~ever, we shall u~e.t~is terminology to mean that the transition probability between an Initial state q,i and a final state rpr equals that for the inverse process leading from rpr to rpi • In particular, for two-particle ~ two-particle collisions the principle of detailed balance reads

(2.208)

In order to illustrate better the difference between microscopic reversibility and detailed balance, we give in Fig. 2.5 the classical

\

\

\

Origin.! eettislen

a.rorl'

Art"

\

\

\

Timt-rfY,rs.d collision

eetort

After

\

\

D.tail.d- blllncinQ eetustee

\

Blfor.

Figure 2.5

* This is more properly called semidetailed balance by Heider, Ref. 2.12, p.413.

2.7 Time Reversal

121

example by Blatt and Weisskopf (Ref. 2.13) of a two-nonsphericalparticle collision. As originally pointed out by Boltzmann in his original work on statistics, while from time-reversal invariance the time-reversed collision occurs with the same probability, the same does not necessarily hold for the opposite collision, in the sense of the detailed balance principle, for nonspherical particles.

Equation (2.208) certainly holds good if for the process considered use can be made of only the first-order perturbation theory. In this case in fact Eq. (2.200) holds: Sir '" Ilfi + HI '" Sfi. Using now the hermiticity of HI we get

(2.209)

from which Eq. (2.208) follows in the first-order perturbation theory. By the way, this can happen even if the theory is not time-reversal invariant and does not imply this invariance at all. However, Eq. (2.208) can be proved more generally in other cases. In particular:

[a) Consider the very simple case of elastic scattering of two spinless particles. If invariance for space rotations holds, as we have already discussed in Section 2.7.5, the S matrix isa function of the invariants Pi2 = Pr2 and Pi • Pr. Therefore the S matrix is also invariant in this case for the substitution Pi ~ Pr , which means detailed balance

(2.210)

As discussed in Section 2.7.5, in this case we have also that the S matrix is time-reversal and space-reflection invariant.

(b) Consider now the possibility of having only two open channels at the considered scattering energy. We could have two different kinds, 1 and 2, of spinless particles in the initial and final states or the elastic scattering of two particles with two spin states, I and 2. Assuming again rotational invariance, in the representation. in which the total angular momentum is diagonal the S matrix is a 2 X 2 matrix

From the unitarity of S we easily obtain detailed balance for the reaction 1 --+ 2:

(2.211)

The above discussion shows that the detailed balance principle of Eq. (2.208) could hold even if the theory is not invariant under time

122 2 GEOMETRICAL SYMMETRIES IN ORDINARY QUANTUM MECHANICS

reversal. There is, however, no general way of deriving it as for the time-reversal transformation.

2.7.9 VANISHING OF THE STATIC ELECTRIC DIPOLE MOMENT. We shall now show that as a consequence of space rotation and time-reversal invariance, the static electric dipole moment of a bound system 0: is zero. If rotational invariance holds we can choose, in the center-of-mass system, H, p, iz and T as a complete set of commuting observables for our system. The observables T represent other properties (such as isotopic spin, strangeness, etc.) which, besides mass and spin, are necessary to characterize the particle 0:. The fact that the r's commute with H is usually deduced from other symmetry principles. We say that the particle 0: has mass ma , spin i, and projection on the z axis M, and other properties y. This means that in the center-of-mass system its state vector .pf,;(m.) is a simultaneous eigenvector of H, ]2, iz, and r. Suppose that time-reversal invariance holds"; then applying {} on the left of Eq. (2.137a) we get

(2.212)

that is, (}.pf,(m.) is also an eigenvector of H for the same eigenvalue m.c2• On the other hand [8-,]2] = {{}, iz} = [8-, r] = O. The level m.JMy not being degenerate, it follows that

(2.213)

Let us now consider the expectation value of the static electric dipole moment D == Lieiri' r, being the coordinates in the center-of-mass system, on the state .pX(m.). From the Wigner-Eckart theorem (see Section 3.9.5), the following vector formula is obtained:

(rf;X(ma), D rf;X(m.» = (rf;X(m.), J rf;X(ma)) • x, (2.214)

where the coefficient :;f{' does not depend on M and is given by

x: = (rf;X(m.), J . D rf;X(m.» (2.215)

1i2 J(J + 1) .

; We have of course assumed time-translation invariance for H.

2.8 The Galilei Group

123

Let us now use Eq. (2.213) in the expectation values of D and J on the left an~ ~ight sid~s o~ Eq. (2.214). Using the fact that [&, D] = {{}, J} = 0, the antilinear umtanty of &, and the hermiticity of D and J, we get

Exchanging M for -Min this equation, and comparing the result with Eq. (2.214), we see that

(2.216a)

The above procedure does not apply if the particle 0: has spin zero. In that case, however, we have again

(rf;gAm.), D rf;g.,(ma» = 0,

(2.216b)

as a consequence of rotational invariance alone: take the generic component Di on the axis j and rotate of an angle tt around an axis k orthogonal to j; since

and

exp[(ijli) tt Jk] D; exp[ -(ijli) tt Jk) = -D;,

the result (2.216b) follows.

We conclude that in general, rotational and time-reversal invariance imply the vanishing of the static electric dipole moment of a particle 0: of given mass and spin.

Experimentally, the upper limit on the electric dipole moment of the neutron is

I Die I ~ 10-20 em,

which is rather stringent in view of the fact that the size of the neutron is of-the order 10-13_10-14 ern.

2.8 The Galilei Group

We have determined in the preceding sections the unitary operators that give the "code of translation" of the information obtained on a system of particles from an observer 0 to another observer 0 who is displaced in space or in time, or rotated with respect to 0, or who moves with respect to 0 with uniform velocity, with the space-time axes possibly oppositely oriented. Each of these transformations has been considered separately. In classical mechanics, and correspondingly in ordinary quantum mechanics, the theory of an isolated (i.e., not

124 2 GEOMETRICAL SYMMETRIES IN ORDINARY QUANTUM MECHANICS subject to external fields) system is, however,. usu~lly as~umed. to be invariant under the whole set of the above-mentrone .tr~ns ormations-e. der the transformations of the so-called Galilei group. As we

r.e., un ... h

have stressed in Section 1.10, III this case the. umtary operato~s t at

represent the transformations must yi~ld a u~ltary reprcsentatton up to a factor of the transformation group m t~e Hilbert s~ace ~f the states of the physical system. We wish now to Illustrate this point. Let us consider first the proper part of the group-i.e., let us disregard for the moment the transformations of space reflection and time reversal.

The restricted Galilei group contains the translations in space ~nd time the proper rotations, and the transitions to a uniformly moving coordinate system. The general element of the group will be denoted by ii, 7, v, ai), where I r.epresents t~e space translatio~ of Eq. (2.8) riCO) = riCO) - I, T the time translation of Eq. (1.29) !!O) = teO) - T, V the special Galilei transformation ~ Eq. (2.85) riC?) = riCO) - vt, and ai the rotation of Eq. (2.34) riCO) = ai riCO), with det ai = + 1. The order in which the transformations appearing in (I, 'T, v, ai) a~e performed is from right to left. The identity eleme.nt of .the grou~ IS (0, 0, 0, I), I being the identity element of the three-dimensional rota~lOn group. The multiplication laws among the elementary transformations

are

(/1,0,0,1)(/2,0,0, I) = (12 , 0, 0, 1)(11 , 0, 0, I) = (fl + 12,0,0, I),

(0,71,0,1)(0,72 , 0, I) = (0, 72 , 0, 1)(0, 71 , 0, I) ~ (0,1"1 + 72 , 0, I),

(2.217a)

(2.217b)

(0,0, V1 , 1)(0, 0, v2 , I) = (0,0, v2 , 1)(0, 0, v, , I) = (0,0, v1 + v2 , I),

(2.217c) (2.217d) (2.217e) (2.217f) (Z.217g)

(0, 0, 0, 9t'1)(0, 0, 0, 9t'2) = (0, 0, 0, fA1fA2), (1,0,0,1)(0,7,0, I) = (0,7,0,1)(1,0,0, I), (1,0,0,1)(0,0, v, I) = (0,0, v, 1)(1,0,0, I), (0,0,0, fA)(/, 0, 0, I) = (aif, 0, 0, 1)(0, 0, 0, fA),

(0,0, v, 1)(0,7,0, I) = (-7V, 0, 0,1)(0,7,0,1)(0,0, v, I)

= (-TV, 7, v, I),

(2.217h) (2.Z17i) (2.217j)

(0,7,0,1)(0,0,0, fA) = (0,0,0, 9t')(0, 7,0, I) (0,0,0, fA)(O, 0, v, I) = (0,0, 9t'v, 1)(0, 0, 0, 9t').

2.8 The Galilei Group

125

It is easy to calculate the effect of successively applying two transformations:

(2.218)

where

(2.219)

As we have seen, the unitary operators corresponding to the elementary jransfcrmations are

dII(f, 0, 0, I) = "If exp[(i/Ii) P . fl, dII(O, 7, 0, I) = 1J, exp] -(i/Ii) BT],

dII(O, 0, v, I) = 1J. exp[(i/n)(Pt - MR) • v], dII(O, 0, 0, 9t') = 1J1lt exp[(i/n) J . nw].

(2.220a) (2.220b) (2.Z20c) (2.220d)

Note that we assume invariance of the theory under all the considered transformations. This leads in particular to the simple form of Eq. (2.220b) for the time-translation operator, since the Hamiltonian is independent of time (time-translation invariance). We also have

[P,H] = 0 [J, H] = 0

(space-translation invariance), (2.221a) (space-rotation invariance), .(2.22Ib)

[exp[(i/n)(Pt - MR) . vl. H] = (iMv2 + V • P) exp(i/Ii)(Pt - MR) . v] (invariance under special Galilei

transformations). (2.221c)

From the preceding considerations we see that the generic element (f, T, v, f!l) of the Galilei group must be represented by the operator

dII(f, 7, v, fA) = 1J(f, T, v, 9t') exp(ijli) P 'f] exp[ -(i/Ii) B7l

x exp[(i/n)(Pt - MR)' v] exp(ijli) J . nw). (2.222a)

We now consider the following problem: Is it possible, with a proper choice of the phase factors T)(I, 7, v, ai) to obtain that the operators dII(I, T, v, &f) give a representation of the restricted Galilei group that is not up to a factor, but simply up to the sign? Of course we must allow

126 2 GEOMETRICAL SYMMETRIES IN ORDINARY QUANTUM MECHANICS

up-to-the-sign representations, since the pure rotation grou? pos~esses significant representations of this type (see Chapter 3 for a discu~slOn ?f this point). We consider now the subgroup of the rototranslations m space. In this case Eq. (2.222a) becomes

llIt(t, 0, 0, 91) = TJ(t, 0, 0, 91) exp[(i/Il) P .f] exp[(i/Il) J 0 nw], (2.222b) Since the operators exp[(i/Il) P of] exp[(i/Il) J . nw], without any phase factor in front, already give an up-to-the-sign repres~ntation of the rototranslation subgroup, in order that the representation (2.222a) be up to the sign, the phase factors "1(1,0,0, 9t') must in turn give a ~n~dimensional, up-to-the-sign representation of the same group. But It IS well known that only one such representation exists-i.e., the trivial one given by the identity. We have therefore obtained

"1(1,0,0,91) = 1,

(2.223)

which implies, in particular, that the 1Jt and '1)tJt appearing in Eq. (2.220) are also equal to 1. . . ..

Let us now consider a time translation followed by a special Galilei transformation. Using Eq. (2.220) with 7Jt = 1 and Eq, (2.221) we get

%'(0,0, v, I) %'(O,"T, 0, I)

= exp[ -(i/Il) tMv2"T] %'( -"TV, 0, 0, I) 1lIt(0,"T, 0, I) 1lIt(0, 0, v, I).

(2.224)

The phase factor exp[ -(ijll) iMv2t] appearing in ~his equation cannot be eliminated. This means that the representation (2.222a) of the restricted Galilei group is necessarily up to a phase factor ', Defining llIt(t, T, v, 9t') by Eq. (2.222a) with '1)(1, T, v, 91) = I, we get III general

1lIt(ll' Tl , VI, &l1) %'(12' T2, V2, 912)

= ±exp{(i/Ii)[M(&ll2) . VI - lMvI2T:J}

X 1lIt(11 - T2Vl + 91112 , "T1 + "T2, VI + &lIV2 , &l1&l2)·

(2.225a)

It is interesting to point out that as a consequence of ~q. (2.~2?a), the operators corresponding to space translations and special Galilei transformations do not commute:

%'(1 ° ° I) 1lIt(0 ° v I) = exp[ -(i/Il) Mv .f] 1lIt(0, 0, v, I) 1lIt(1, 0, 0, I).

, " '" (2.225b)

In general a phase factor always appears when a special Galilei transformation is involved.

2.8 The Gali1ei Group

127

Owing to the fact that the physically interesting representations of the Galilei group are representations up to a phase (see also Ref. 2.15), it can now be shown that the assumed invariance of ordinary quantum mechanics under the transformations of this group implies the occurrence of a superse1ection rule associated with the mass of the considered quantum mechanical system. That is, it is impossible to superpose states describing particles with different masses in nonrelativistic quantum mechanics. In order to see this, consider the following sequence of transformations:

g4l3g2g1 == (0,0, -v, 1)( -1,0,0,1)(0,0, V, 1)(1, 0, 0, I) = (0,0,0, I).

The operator l1II(g4gag2gl) must therefore be a multiple of the identity. From Eq. (2.225b) we see that

llIt(g4l3g.g1) = exp[(i/Ii) Mv .f], (2.225c)

since o/I( -t, 0, 0, I) 1111(1, 0, 0, I) = 0/1(0,0, -v, I) 1111(0, 0, v, I) = 1 with our choice of the phase factors. The quantity M appearing in Eq. (2.225c) is the total mass of the considered physical system. Let us now consider a superposition of states describing two systems of total masses MI and M2 , respectively:

.p =v, + .p a-

Application of 0/I(g4gag2gl) to the state if; according to Eq. (2.225c) gives

llIt(g~3g2g1).p = exp[(ijli) Miv . f].pl + exp[(i/Ii) M.v .f] "'2 . (2.226)

This means that the transformation l1II(g4g3g2gl), which is identical with the identity, can affect the norm of the superposition .pI + .p2 . In other words, the relative phase of two states describing particles of different masses is completely arbitrary if one demands invariance under Galilei transformations. In accordance with the discussion made in Section 1.2 one is then led to conclude that the superposition of different mass states has no physical meaning and therefore that no physical observable can exist that has nonvanishing matrix elements between such states. We say that in nonrelativistic quantum mechanics there exists a superselection rule associated with the mass. As a by-product, we obtain conservation of mass in nonrelativistic quantum mechanics.

Let us briefly consider the problem of the reducibility of the representation obtained above of the restricted Galilei group. We do not discuss this problem in detail but limit ourselves to considering some very simple cases. Let us consider the quantum mechanical system consisting of a spinless particle. In this case the linear momentum p and the

128 2 GEOMETRICAL SYMMETRIES IN ORDINARY QUANTUM MECHANICS

position operator r form an irreducible set of operators. It follows immediately, by identifying these operators with P and R of Eq. (2.220), that the considered unitary representation is irreducible. Conditions (2.221) for H must also be considered. Condition (a) implies that H is a function of p only, and condition (b) that it depends only on p2. We finally get from (c)

H[(p + mv)2] = H(p2) + imv2 + v • p. (2.227)

Expanding the left-hand side of this equation in series of mv and comparing the first-order terms, we get

and therefore

p2

H = 2m + const,

(2.228)

where the constant is real, from hermiticity. The system so obtained is therefore that of a free particle. As we have already stated, the corresponding representation of the restricted Galilei group is irreducible.

A very simple example in which we get a reducible representation is given by the system of two free particles. In this case, in fact, the relative coordinate r = f2 - fl commutes with all the infinitesimal generators of the group.

Inomi and Wigner have considered the possibility of obtaining true (i.e., not up to a phase factor) unitary irreducible representations of the restricted Galilei group. They have shown that it is not possible to give a physical meaning to the representations so obtained. This follows from the fact that the only representations of this type that might have a physical meaning are characterized by a fixed value of pz. This in turn implies that it is not possible to give in this framework a sensible definition of localized states. Let us now corne to the extension of the restricted Galilei group.

The extended Galilei group consists of the transformation of the restricted Galilei group considered above and of the inversions Is and It of_the space and time coordinate axes-i.e., fj(O) = -fj(O) and teO) = -teO), respectively. The multiplication laws among Is, It and the transformations (f, T, v, Pl) are

1,2 = Itz = 1,

lit = Itls,

1,(/, T, v, 9l!) = (-I, T, -v, 9l!) Is, It(f, T, v, 9l!) = (I, -T, -v, El) It .

(2.229)

2.9 Permutations of Like Particles

129

The. transformations of the e:-tended Galilei group splits up into four pieces. In fact, the determinant of a generic rotation !JI can be now ~I be.cause of ~he space-reflection transformation Is, whose determinant IS - I. Besides, for a given sign of det !JI we have the two possi~il.ities t' ~ ±~ +. constant. Of course, of these pieces, only that contammg the Identity IS a subgroup (the restricted Galilei group).

~s we ha~e seen in Sections 2.6 and 2.7, to Is and It there correspond a linear umtary. operator ~s = P a~d an antilinear unitary operator o/it = {}, respectively, Invanance reqUires that

[0/1., H] = [o/It , H] = O.

(2.230)

By requiring

(2.231)

the phase free in o/is is fixed up to the sign. The same cannot be done for o/it • For this we have found

(2.232)

whe:e F is th: number of fermions; this relation, as already discussed in Section 2.7, is not able to fix the phase of <FIt, since <FIt is antilinear. With the above choice of phase for o/is, we have [see Eq. (2.135)]

[0/1, , o//tl = o.

(2.233)

It is now easy to see that the operators

O//(Ir' t, T, V, El) = o//r o/I(t, T, v, El)

(2.234)

(where o/ir = I, o//s' o/it, o/ist = o//so/it) give a representation of the extended Galilei group. Of course this representation is up to a factor as shown by Eqs. (2.225) and (2.231). Note the trivial fact that even if we do not require invariance of the laws of nature under the extended Galilei group, the operators o/i,.D{§.,!JI., form a representation (up to a factor) of the group of rototranslations (including space and time reflections) and transitions to a uniformly moving coordinate system.

2.9 Permutations of Like Particles

2.9.1 DETERMINATION OF THE UNITARY OPERATORS REPRESENTING THE TRANSFORMATIONS. We shall now consider the symmetry arising from the exchange of identical particles belonging to the same physical system. This is a symmetry that lies halfway between the geometrical

130 2 GEOMETRICAL SYMMETRIES IN ORDINARY QUANTUM MECHANICS

principles of invariance and the internal ones-i.e., those arising from a relabeling of nongeometrical parameters. It can in fact be formulated in the same way as the internal principles of invariance, while it shares with the geometrical ones the fact that in the active points of view the systems Sand S under consideration are identical.

In the passive point of view we have as usual two observers and one physical system that contains a pair of identical particles. The first observer calls particle 1 (particle 2) the particle that is called 2 (1) by the second observer.

We have

(.po, a.Ju.po) = (.po' IXj2).pO)' (.po, 1X;2).pO) = (.po' IXjl).pO)·

(2.235)

Here IX~I) is a generic dynamical variable associated with the first particle, while (X~2) is the same dynamical variable for the second particle. For the operator fYJ that connects the two observers we get

f}§tlXj1)f}§ = IX;'), f}§tlXj2)9 = IX;I),

(2.236)

9t9 = 99t =1.

The operator fYJ is linear, as can be checked in the usual manner. In the active descriptions we have two systems Sand S, where S differs from S by having particle 1 actually interchanged with particle 2.

Clearly, by applying fYJ twice we come back to the initial situation. fYJ2 commutes with all the dynamical variables of the system and is therefore a number whose modulus is one, since fYJ is unitary. Consider the eigenvalue equations for the corresponding observables IXII) and 1X12):

1X(l)<p!~)<p!~) = IX' <p~~)<p~:l, 1X(2)<p~~)<p~:) = 1X"<p!~)'I'!~)'

(2.237)

'I'~!) is eigenvector of IXli) belonging to the eigenvalue IX'. We suppose that o;li) is a complete set of commuting observables in the Hilbert space of the ith particle. Let us multiply Eqs. (2.237) on the left by fYJ. Using Eqs. (2.236) we get

1X(2)9'1'!~)'I'!;) = (Y.'9'1'!~)'I'~2}, a.1l)9'1'~~)'I'!~.' = 1X·9'1'~~)'I'~~'

(2.238)

2.9 Permutations of Like Particles

131

From Eqs. (2.238) it follows that

(2.239)

Using the same procedure followed for the operator P of space reflection, we see that c cannot depend on the coordinates r', r" or on the linear momenta ~' ?nd p". of the two particles. Then c can be a function only of the rernammg van abIes. Consider now the dependence on the ordinary spin. We have

Let us multiply this equation on the left by S~) = S~l) + iS~l), since S~)9 = 9S~);

we have

But the left-hand side equals C(II', II" + 1) X~2)·'X~1).'+1; therefore we get

C(II', v') = C(II', V' + I).

This shows that c does not depend on v", Similarly, repeating the arguII_Jent by. using S<;) instead of S~) we see that C cannot depend on II' either, C IS therefore a constant number and, fYJ being defined apart from a phase, we can choose that phase in such a way that'

(2.240)

According to Eq. (2.240) we sec now that 92 =1

(2.241)

and, using unitarity, fljJ is self-adjoint: f}§t = 9.

(2.242)

Its eigenvalues are ±l.

For the state vectors we get

('I'!~)'I'!~), f}§.p) = ('P~!)'I'!~), .p).

(2.243)

Whefo1 more than one pair of similar particles are interchanged, we can agam define an operator of permutation. As can easily be seen, this

; This can of course also be done in the case in which we have other internal degrees of freedom such as isotopic spin.

132 2 GEOMETRICAL SYMMETRIES IN ORDINARY QUANTUM MECHANICS

operator turns out to be the product of operators permuting one pair at a time and therefore satisfies Eqs. (2.240)-{2.243). If the system contains n identical particles and we take into account all possible permutations among them, we have the symmetric group of the nth degree, whose order is n!. The operators gJ corresponding to these transformations give a representation of this group.

2.9.2 CONSEQUENCES OF THE IDENTITY OF PARTICLES: THE PAULl PRINCIPLE. Having developed the mathematical apparatus describing the interchange of like particles, we wish to discuss some consequences of the assumption that a physical system contains several identical constituents.

In classical mechanics we have essentially two ways of characterizing the single individuals (let us assume for simplicity that they are particles) in an assembly: we can take advantage of the different physical properties of the members of the assembly that are not identical, or, for those that are identical, we can focus our attention on a single member and follow its trajectory during the evolution of the total system in such a way that at any time we are able to know which is the chosen member.

The situation in the quantum mechanical case is very different since, owing to the uncertainty principle which limits the simultaneous measurability of position and momentum of a particle, the concept of trajectory completely loses its meaning. It is intrinsic to the structure of quantum mechanics that identical individuals that belong to the same physical system completely lose their individualities in the sense that it is impossible to devise any measurement that can distinguish between them. This fact in turn may be assumed to be the definition of identical constituents of a quantum mechanical system.

Assuming this point of view we define two particles as identical if no measurements can be made on the system whose outcome will be different if the two particles are interchanged. An immediate consequence of this assumption is that in order to describe a state of the system, it is perfectly equivalent to use the state .p or the state gJ.p, where gJ corresponds to an arbitrary permutation of the identical particles.

Let us now consider a generic observable of the system (which we indicate with the symbol "') and the eigenvalue equation

"''1'" = "'n'l',,·

(2.244a)

We know that if .p =" 'Pn , a measurement of the observable", gives the ~esult "'n with certainty. The same must also be true for the state &f{Jn - i.e., we must have

(2.244b)

2.9 Permutations of Like Particles

133

On the other hand, from Eq. (2.244a) we also have

(2.244c)

Equations (2.244b) and (2.244c) together with the assumption that the lPn'S form a complete set, imply

[&,,,,] =0.

(2.245)

Of course, the contrary is also true-i.e., if Eq. (2.245) is satisfied, then the result of a measurement of '" does not change by a permutation of identical particles.

,A system of identical particles is therefore characterized by the fact tha~ all the observables of the system commute with all the operators f!lJ. This of course holds true also for the Hamiltonian. Invariance of the theory is then already implied by the very definition of identical particles. Moreover, the symmetry character of a state vector with respect to exch,ange of two identical particles is preserved in the course of time.

. We. are here faced with a situation very different from the usual one III which we have invariance for certain transformations. In fact in this case all the observables of the system commute with all the operators &. If we want to maintain the postulate that the set of all the observables is irreducible (see S~ction 1.2.2), then we must assume that the operators & a~e cons!ant multiples of the identity in the Hilbert space of the system. Since & = 1, this constant is either + 1 or -1.

Let us focu~ our. atte~tion for. the m~ment on the exchange operator ~i of the fixed pair of ~dentlcal particles (I;). The Hilbert space of the system must then be restricted according to the above considerations to one of the two eigen_manifolds of ~j • This means that the physically realizable states are elt?er all symmetric (~i = + 1) or all antisymmetric ~~i ~ -1) ~Ith respect to the exchange of the considered pair of ldentlc~l pa~tlcle~. What about the exchange 'of another pair, say (k, 1) of particles Identical to those of the pair (ij)? We consider first of all the exchange of particle i with particle k, and we get

(2.246)

Since all physically realizable states satisfy either f?Il;k.p = +.p or f?Il;k* = -.p we get from Eq. (2.246) ~k.p = ~i.p, i.e., the physically re~hz~?le states behave in the same manner for the exchange of the pan (y) an~ of. the pair (i~). Repeating this argument we can now go from the paIr (Ik) to the paIr (lk). In this way we get that, owing to the

134 2 GEOMETRICAL SYMMETRIES IN ORDINARY QUANTUM MECHANICS identity of the particles and the irreducibility postulate, either all physically realizable states satisfy

(2.247a)

or all of them satisfy

(2.247b)

for any operator ~j exchanging a pair of iden~ical particles. ~he behavior of the physically realizable states under arbitrary permutations follows immediately, since all permutations can be resolved into elementary ones.

Identical particles for which Eq, (2.247a) is satisfied are said to obey the Bose-Einstein statistics and are called bosons, while identical particles for which Eq. (2.247b) is satisfied are said to obey the Fermi-Dirac statistics and are called fermions. The statistics obeyed by a compound system depends of course on the number of fermions that compose the system. If this number is odd, then the compound system obeys the Fermi-Dirac statistics, while if it is even the compound system obeys the Bose-Einstein statistics.

As is well known, a connection exists between the statistics obeyed by a particle and its spin: particles of in_teger spin ar~ bosons, while particles of half-integer spin are fermions. In ordmary quantum mechanics this property has to be assumed as a postulate Imposed by the laws of nature. As we shall see, the connection between spin and statistics can be derived from very general postulates in the framework

of quantum field theory (see Section 6.9). .

We introduce now a complete orthonormal set of vectors {cpl."} in the Hilbert space of the jth particle. For our system of identical particl~s the vectors m(l) r». m(2) ® ... ® cpl."') are then a complete set of states m

Tkl 'CI Tk2 • ., 1 Hilb

the Hilbert space which is the direct product of single-partie e ~ ert

spaces. However, as discussed above, this is no~ the ~roper HI~bert space for our system. We have to single ?ut from ~t th~ linear mamfold of states that are either symmetric or antisymrnctric With respect to the exchange of a pair of particles, according to the fen-r:ion or boson character of the identical particles. Let us consider for this purpose the operators

8=LP,

p

(2.248a)

(2.248b)

2.9 Permutations of Like Particles

135

Here p is the operator that, when applied to the state

'P == 'P~~ ® 'Pl~ ® ... ® 'P~~'

(2.249)

gives the state obtained from this by permuting in a certain manner the indices kl , ~ , ... , k", . The symbol lip is + 1 or -1 according to whether the permutation p is even or odd, and 1:p is the sum over all the permutations. If the considered particles are bosons, the Hilbert space of the system is obtained by applying the operator 8 to the set of vectors (2.249), while if they are fermions we must apply the operator A to the same set. The state Acp can also be written as the following determinant:

men) mCn)... Cn)

rkl Tk, 'Pic"

(2.250)

Of . course, a proper normalization factor should be included in the definition of S and A to make Scp and Acp normalized. From Eq. (2.250) we immediately see that the state vector of a system of fermions must have zero projection on the state in which we have two fermions in the same single-particle state, since in that case the determinant vanishes. This is the so-called Pauli exclusion principle: In a many-fermion system we cannot have two fermions with all their quantum numbers equal. As is well known, the Pauli exclusion principle furnishes a straightforward interpretation of the order found in the Periodic Table of Elements and of the lack of certain spectral lines in the spectra of may-electron atoms.

Let us now consider the elastic scattering of two generic identical particles 1 and 2. The initial and final states, being physically realizable states, must have definite symmetry:

1 .

</> = v2 [</>(1,2) ± </>(2, 1)],

where the + sign (- sign) holds if the two particles are bosons (fermions). The (V2)-1 makes the state normalized if we suppose that r,b(l, 2) is normalized. For the S matrix we get

(</>1, S</>,) = i([4>f(l, 2) ± 4>1(2,1)],8[4>,(1,2) ± (/>1(2,1)]).

Using the fact that r,b(2, 1) = Gilr,b(l, 2) and [Gil, S] = 0, we finally get

(</>I , 8</>1) = ([ 4>1( I, 2) ± </>1(2, 1 )], 8 </>1(1, 2».

(2.25Ia)

136 2 GEOMETRICAL SYMMETRIES IN ORDINARY QUANTUM MECHANICS

The same holds for the T matrix:

(cpt, Tcpl) = ([CPr(l, 2) ±cpt(2, I)], Tcpl(l, 2)).

(2.25Ib)

2.9.3 SYSTEM OF Two SPIN! IDENTICAL PARTICLES. Let us apply the above concepts to the example of two identical spin i particlese.g., two electrons or two protons. The total state vector of the system must be antisymmetric. We introduce for this system a complete set of vectors which are obtained as the tensor product of a spatial wave function and a spin wave function both having definite symmetry for the exchange of the two particles. For the spin part we have two possibilities, called singlet and triplet states:

I r • .(1) (2) (1) (2)]

V2 LX.,1/2X.,-1/2 - X.,-1/2X.,1I2

singlet,

(2.252a)

(1) (2)

X.,1/2X.,1/2

I [(1) (2) (1) (2) 1

V2 X.,1/2X8,-1/2 + X.,-1/2X',1/2

(1) (2)

X8,-1/2Xs,-1/2

(2,252b)

triplet.

The singlet state is antisymmetric and describes a system of total spin zero, while the triplet states are symmetric and describe a system of total spin one. Of course, the threefold degeneracy of the triplet state corresponds to the three possible values of the projection of the total spin on the z axis.

For the spatial part of the wave functions, in the center-of-mass system, in this particular case of a system of two identical particles, the effect of the exchange operator is the same as that of the space reflection operator-that is,

.o/Y1,m = (-)' Y1,m .

(2.253)

Therefore the Pauli principle allows our system to be only in the elementary states

where as usual the letter indicates the relative orbital angular momentum, the upper index the singlet (1) or the triplet (3) spin state, and the lower index the total angular momentum.

Let us now consider the scattering of these two identical spin i particles in the case when the interaction is spin-independent, as it happens for example for the Coulomb potential. Suppose that in the center-ofmass system the intial and final states are eigenstates of the relative

2.9 Permutations of Like Particles

137

momentum, the total spin, and its projection on the z axis. For the scattering in the singlet state we get from Eq. (2.251b)

(.J. 'T'.J. )Slnglet ([ slnglet(1 2) slnglet(2 I)] T slnglet(1 2) )

'l't , 1 '1'1 = 'Pp,XsPln , - 'P-o,Xspln , ,XSPln , 'Po,

= ('Po" T'Po,) + ('P-." T'Po,). (2.254a)

Analogously for the scattering in the triplet state we have

(2.254b)

The differential cross section for the scattering of an unpolarized beam is given by

d da fJ = ! If(fJ) + f(1T - fJ)12 + i If(fJ) - f(1T - fJ)12

cos

= If(fJ)12 + If(1T - fJ)12 - Re[j*(fJ)f(1T - fJ)),

(2.255)

where

(2.256)

The factors t and ! are the statistical weight factors for singlet and triplet states, respectively [see Eq. (2.205)).

2.9.4 PARITY OF THE CHARGED PION. The Pauli principle, together with the assumption of conservation of parity and rotational invariance, allows the determination of the parity of the charged 1T meson.

Consider the capture of negatively charged 7T mesons by deuteron.

The 7T- is rapidly captured in an S Bohr orbit around the deuteron. The spin of the 7T- is zero. This follows from the fact that the spin of the 71'+ is zero and the assumption of invariance under the combined transformation charge conjugation X space reflection X time reversal (see Sections 2.7.7 and 6.10). The total angular momentum of the 7T--deuteron state is then equal to the spin of the deuteron: ] = 1. The parity of this state coincides with the intrinsic parity of the 7T-, normalizing to + 1 the intrinsic parity of the neutron times that of the proton. After a time of the order of 10-23 sec the 7T- gets absorbed by the deuteron and the following reactions occur:

1T- + d ---+ 1 n + n, (2.257)

n + n + photon,

while the final state n + n + 7TO appears experimentally to be highly forbidden. The final state in the case of the first reaction contains two

138 2 GEOMETRICAL SYMMETRIES IN ORDINARY QUANTUM MECHANICS

identical particles of spin t. The allowed values of the total spin are therefore S = 0, I. Conservation of angular momentum implies that the final state has] = I. It follows that only the following states are possible:

Since the final state contains two identical fermions, the total wave function must be antisymmetric for exchange of all the coordinates of the two particles. This rules out all the above-considered states except the aPl state. Since the final wave has parity -I, conservation of parity implies that the 1T- meson has parity -I.

The fact that the reaction 1T- + d _,.. n + n + 1T0 is highly forbidden suggests that 1T0 has the same parity as 1T-. From the arguments used above in fact we see that the state with lowest possible angular momentum of the n + n + 1T0 system corresponds to a 3p state of the two neutrons and a P state of the ~ meson, if we assume that the parities of 1T- and 1T0 are equal. If, on the contrary, the 1T- and the 1TO have opposite parities, the 1T0 meson can emerge in an S state and the considered reaction would consequently be much more probable. The fact that it is highly forbidden therefore favors the assignment of equal parity for the two pions.

2.9.5 ON THE SPIN AND PARITY OF THE NEUTRAL PION. Similarly we can show that the spin of the nO meson cannot be I. Consider in fact the decay of nO into two photons in the center-of-mass system:

7T0 ---+ 2')'.

The final state contains two identical bosons, so that the wave function must be symmetric for interchange of these two particles. If 1T0 has spin I, its wave function behaves like a vector under rotations in the center-of-mass system. The wave function of the final state must also be a vector, and in order to construct it we can use the polarization vectors E1 and E2 of the two photons, and the final relative momentum p == P2 - PI . Of course, these vectors satisfy the transversality condition (E1 • p) = 0, and the wave function must be linear both in E1 and

2

in E2• The possible wave functions in momentum space are E1 X E2,

(E1 • E2) p, "1 X ("2 X p) and p X (EI X "2)' Under interchange of the

2 1

photons we have E1 _,.. E2, P _,.. - p. The first three possibilities are

2 1

then shown to be antisymmetric and we must drop them; the only good

one is the fourth possibility, but p X ("1 X "2) vanishes by the transversality condition. Thus the 7T0 spin cannot be I if angular momentum

Appendix 2a. Spherical Harmonics

139

is conserved in the decay and if Bose-Einstein statistics holds good for the photons.

Suppose .that th~ spin is zero; then, according to Eq. (2.140b), the deca~ ampht~de will be a scalar or pseud~scalar according to whether the n meson IS a ~calar or pseudoscalar particle. The only scalar quantity we can c~nstruct In the center-of-mass system is (E1 • E2), since the other two possible scalars (E1' p) vanish on account of the transversality

condition. On the other hand the only pseudoscalar we can have is p . ~ "1 X E2~' A y-ray interacting with matter produces an electronpositron pair whose production plane is statistically parallel with the (E, p) plane. * There follows that by studying double pair creation

1TO_y + ')'

e- + e+ e- + e+

we can decide the parity of the 1T0 meson from the determination of the relative orientation of the two production planes. If the amplitude is ~EI • E2), th~ con~guration in which the two planes are parallel is favored; If the amplitude IS p X (El X "2)' the planes will preferably be orthogonal to each other. The latter is actually the case realized experimentally. There follows that if the spin of the 1T0 is zero, its parity is -I.

Appendix 2a. Spherical Harmonics

We lis~ here so~e of th~ properties of the Y,m's defined by Eq. (2.39).

They satisfy the differential equations (2.37)-that is,

L2 Y = _ [_1_ ~ (.~) I 02]

1t2 1m - sin {} of) sm {} (){} + sin2 {} Ocp2 Ylm

= 1(1 + 1) Y'm ,

L. Y . 0

T 1m == -ta;p Ylm = mY1m•

Apart from l/r2, the differential operator that appears in the first equation is the same as the one appearing when we separate the Laplacian in spherical coordinates:

A == ;2 :r (r !) - ;2 ~: . (A2.2)

(A2.I)

The Y'm's are thus the three-dimensional spherical harmonics.

* Note that E gives the direction of the electric field.

140 2 GEOMETRICAL SYMMETRIES IN ORDINARY QUANTUM MECHANICS

The normalization and completeness relations for these functions read

(A2.3)

~

L: L: Ylm(Q) Y,!(Q') = S(Q - Q'),

l m=-l

(A2.4)

where Q is the solid angle defined by the angles & and cp. Other useful relations are

[YI.m(&, rp)]* = (_)m YI.-m(&, rp), Y1m(TT - &, rp + TT) = (_)1 Y~m(&' cp),

(21 + 1 )1/2

Y,m(& = 0, rp) = 8m•D ~ •

(2/ + 1 )1/2

Yoo(&,rp) = ~ P,(cos&),

, * {' A 2/+1 A

I Y~m(K) Y1m(r) = ~PI(coskr),

1n=-l

(A2.S)

A

where cos kr = cos &T cos {}k + sin &, sin &k cos(rp, - CPk) and PI(cos &)

are the Legendre polynomials given by

(A2.6a)

Useful properties of Pi are

PI(I) = 1,

(A2.6b)

I 21 i 1 PI(z) Pj(z') = S(z - z').

z

The spherical harmonics can be easily expressed through the Legendre polynomials:

[ (I - m)1 (21 + 1) ]1/2 (d)m .

Ylm(&'rp) = (_)m 4(1' )1 (sin&)m-d Q P1(cos&)e·m'P.

TT + m . cos If (A2.7)

The explicit expression for the I = 0, 1,2,3 spherical harmonics Y1m, harmonic polynomials rlY1m, and Legendre polynomials PI are listed

in Table 2.1.

Appendix 2b. Vector-Addition Coefficients

141

Table 2.1

I m

Y, .. (8,9')

SPHERICAL HARMONICS, HARMONlC AND LEGENDRE POLYNOMIALS

P,(cos 8)

o

o

(4,,)'/'

(4,,-)'/'

( :" )'" z

'F ( 8~ )'" (x ± iy)

COS 8

o

( 3 )'/'

4,. cos"

( 5 )1/'

- (3z'-")

16"

!(3 cos' {} - I)

( 3 )'/'

± 1 'F g,;- sin {} e±''''

2 ( 5 r
• 0 ~ (3 cos' " - I)
±1 ( 15 r
'F s;;- sin 8 cos 8 e±'9'
±2 ( 15 r
- sin" /} e±2iqJ
32"
3 ( 7 r
0 ~ cos 11-(5 cos' II- - 3) ( 21 )1/'

± 1 'F 64" sin 8(5 cos' 11 -1)e±''''

(' 105 )1/'

±2 - sin' {) cos 11 e±2i9'

32"

±3 'F (~)1/' sin' 11 e±"" 64,.

( 15 )1/'

'F, s;;- (x ± iy)z

( 15 )1/2

32" (x ± iy)'

( 1~" )'/' z(5z' - 3r') t cos 8(5 cos' 8 - 3)

( 21 )'/'

'F 64" (x ± iy)( 5z' - ,.)

(105 )1/'

32,. (x ± iy)2Z

( 35 )'/'

'F 64,. (x ± iy)'

Appendix 2b. Vector-Addition Coefficients

It is our purpose to list here .only some of the most useful properties of the Clebsch-Gordan coefficients, For the theoretical discussion of these results we refer the reader for example to the book of Rose (Ref. ~.3). As is well known, the Clebsch-Gordan, or vector-addition, coefficients are the transformation functions leading from the basis where the angular momenta J12, 112, J22 and 12z are diagonal to that where J2 == (J1 + J2)2, 1. , J12 and J22 are diagonal:

(A2.8)

142 2 GEOMETRICAL SYMMETRIES IN ORDINARY QUANTUM MECHANICS

Here "'1.m• satisfies

(A2.9)

With the standard phase convention (see Rose, Ref. 2.3) the C coefficients are all real. The inverse of Eq. (A2.8) is therefore

(A2.l0)

Notice that in Eqs. (A2.8) and (A2.1O) we have already placed m2 = m - ml' since the C coefficient is zero otherwise (because of J2z = J. - JIz)· The coefficients are also zero if j does not lie in the range

(A2.!I)

and if i, + j2 - j is not an integer number. Wigner has given the following dosed expression for the C coefficients:

C(itj2j3 ; m1m2111a) = om3.m,+me

X [(2' + 1) Ua + i1 - i2)! Ua - i1 + i.)! (i1 + i2 - ia)! U3 + ma)! (ia - rna)! ]1/'

':13 (j1 + j. + i, + I)! (i1 + ml)! (il - ~)! U. + m2)! (j2 - m2)!

XL (-r,+m,. . (j~ + ja + ~l - v)! (i1 - ~1 +. v)! 1 •

v! (Ja - 11 + 12 - v)! (]a + ma - 1')1 (), - 12 - ma + v). (A2.12)

For simplicity we have introduced also ma in the C coefficients. In Tables 2.2 and 2.3 we give the explicit expressions for them for j2 = t and 1. From Eq. (A2.12) the following symmetry relations can be derived:

Appendix 2e. Relative Coordinates for a Generic System of Particles 143

Table 2.2

CLEBSCH-GoRDAN COEFFICIENT C(j, V; m - m., m.J

.... =-t

[i' + m + t]'/'

2i, + 1

[i' - m + t]'/' 2i, + 1

j=j,+!

i = i,-t

_ [i,-m + !]'/' 2i, + 1

[i' + m + t]'/' 2i, + 1

Other useful relations are

CUlJia ; mlOma) = Oi,;, om,m, ' C(Oj.i3 ; Om.ma) = Oi,/, 8m•me '

C(itj.O; m1m.O) = (-/'''''''' (2j1 + 1 )-1/2 81,1, 8m,._m, .

(A2.14)

If jl , j. , and ja are integers, then

c(M.ja ; (00) = 0

unless j1 + i. + ja = even

(A2.15)

The following coupling rule for the spherical harmonics is rather interesting;

Y (Q) Y (Q) = " [ (2/1 + 1)(2l. + 1) ]112

I,m, I,m, '7 4n-(21 + 1)

X C(lilal; mlm2) C(lll.l; 000) YI.m,+m,(Q). (A2.16)

Note the trivial fact that this equation 'differs substantially from Eq. (A2.l0). In fact the arguments of the functions. appearing in Eq. (A2.10) are different, and moreover the function ",7;.") cannot be a spherical harmonic.

Appendix 2c. Relative Coordinates for a Generic System of Particles

We want to show here a possible way of constructing relative momenta and angular momenta for a system of N particles. From the set

144 2 GEOMETRICAL SYMMETRIES IN ORDINARY QUANTUM MECHANICS
,--, ,--, ,--,
::;- ~ -
+ N + +
i ~ + ~ ::;- ~ ~
-
l!j + + + +
e . .:::~ .~ . ..:;: .~ . .;:
~ '"
~ + ~~ ~~
t: ~
I .,::: I +
N
"~ :L :L
~
E "
,--,
e + ,--,
E
~ I IE ;:::- " + ;:::-
E 0 + + . .:::
.~ .~ .~ +
~ ~ IE + ~ .,:::
€ ~ ~ :5 ~
. .::: - ~ I
C) + + ::S . .:::
'" .-=: 2.L
N f- IE
~ I ~
..
:0 8 :L
~ c,
... '"
"'
0
o
~
0: e. s "'-
0
o ,--, ,--, ,--,
~ ~ ;:::-
~ - -
o + N + +
"' + ii1 ~ i: ;:::-
~ IE -
U ~~ I + I +
€ ..... - :5::; :5($
~ + E~ E~
+ '.., + I'"
N
"~ :L :L
~ +
. .::: .-=: . .:::
..... '.., . ..., Appendix 2e. Relative Coordinates for a Generic System of Particles 145

r1, r2 , ••• , rN of Cartesian coordinates we start by defining a set of relative coordinates as follows:

rl' = r2 - CI = the distance between any two chosen particles to be called 1 and 2.

, 11Ztrl + ~r2

c. = r3 - M. = the distance between particle 3 and

the center of mass of the system (I + 2).

..... , .

N-I

L miri

r~_l = CN - i1& = the distance between particle Nand

N-l the center of mass of the system

(I + 2 + ... + N - I).

(A2.17)

N

L miri

r/ == R = i~~ = the distance of the center of mass of the

N total system (I + 2 + ... N) from the origin of the chosen reference frame.

Here Mi = m1 + m. + ... + mi .

The momenta p,' canonically conjugated to these new coordinates can be obtained by requiring the validity of the commutation relations

[r,', p/] = iii S;;,

(A2.lS)

or alternatively, in a more straightforward way, one constructs the generating function F. of the canonical transformation leading from the Cartesian coordinates ri to the new coordinates c/ (i = I, 2, ... , N). F2 is very easily obtained:

N N

F. = I I A;iri • P/. i~l j~l

(A2.19)

From Eq.(A2.19) we get

(A2.20a)

Pi = ~~. = f AjiP/'

1 ;=1

(A2.20b)

The determinant of A IS equal to + I. The connection between the

146 2 GEOMETRICAL SYMMETRIES IN ORDINARY QUANTUM MECHANICS

relative momenta p/ and the old momenta Pi. canonically conjugated to the Cartesian coordinates ri (i = 1,2, ... , N) is therefore given by

N

p/ = L (A-I);; p;.

;=1

(A2.21)

A is simply constructed from the recipe (A2.l7) given above. For example, for N = 3 we have

(A2.22)

Evaluating A-I in general we get

,Mj mj+l ..0

Pi = zw:- Pi+l - ~ L... P; ,

~+l z+l ;=1

i oj:: N,

(A2.23a)

and PN' coincides with the total linear momentum of the system:

N

PN' = L P; == P. ;=1

(A2.23b)

For the total orbital angular momentum it is easily proved by induction that

N N

L == L ri X Pi = L r;' X p,' = Lrel + R X P,

i=1 i=l

(A2.24)

where Lrel is the so-called total relative orbital angular momentum that coincides with the total angular momentum in the center-of-mass system defined as that system in which only states of the system belonging to the eigenvalue zero of the total linear momentum are considered:

Eigenvalue of P = 0,

center-of-mass system.

(A2.25) (A2.26)

L=Lrcl,

center-of-mass system.

For example, for a system of three particles in the center-of-mass reference frame we get

(A2.27)

References to Chapter 2

147

where rl' X P1' is the relative orbital angular momentum of particles 1 and 2 and rz' X P2' is the orbital angular momentum of particle 3 with respect to the center of mass of the system (I + 2). By induction one can also prove that the nonrelativistic kinetic energy in terms of the relative momenta has the following form:

(A2.28)

References to Chapter 2

Section 2.2. See for example

2.1. E. T. Whittaker, Analytical Dynamics, Dover, New York, 1944.

2.2. H. G. Goldstein, Classical Mechanics, Addison-Wesley, Reading, Mass., 1959.

Section 2.4.

2.3. M. E. Rose, Elementary Theory of Angular Momentum, Wiley, New York, 1963. 2.4. M. L. Goldberger and K. M. Watson, Collision Theory, Wiley, New York, 1964. 2.5. R. G. Newton, Scattering Theory of Waves and Particles, McGraw-Hill, New York,

1965.

Section 2.6.

2.6. E. P. Wigner, Z. Physik, 43, 624 (1927).

For a concise review of scattering theory, including a treatment of threshold effects, see 2.7. L. Fonda, in Scattering Theory (A. O. Barut, ed.), Gordon and Breach, London, 1969, p. 129.

Hysterical papers on parity violation are

2.8. T. D. Lee and C. N. Yang, Phys. Reo., 104, 254 (1956).

2.9. C. S. Wu, E. Ambler, R. W. Hayward, D. D. Hoppes, and R. P. Hudson, Phys.

Reo., 105, 1413 (1957).

Section 2.7.

2.10. R. C. Tolman, The Principles of Statistical Mechanics, Oxford Univ, Press, Oxford, 1950.

148 2 GEOMETRICAL SYMMETRIES IN ORDINARY QUANTUM MECHANICS

2.11. T. D. Lee and C. N. Yang, Elementary Particles and Weak Interactions, Associated Universities Inc., Brookhaven National Laboratory, 1957.

2.12. W. Heider, The Quantum Theory of Radiation, Oxford, New York, 1954.

2.13. J. M. Blatt and V. F. Weisskopf, Theoretical Nuclear Physics, Wiley, New York, 1952.

Section 2.S. See Bargmann, Ref. 5.2, and the following:

2.14. F. A. Kaempffer, Concepts in Quantum Mechanics, Academic Press, New York, 1965. 2.15. E. Inontl and E. P. Wigner, Nuovo Cimento, 9, 705 (1952).

;TnUTO DE flSICA --

CHAPTER 3

A Survey of Group Theory

3.1 Introduction

So far we have tried to avoid, whenever possible, the use of concepts and methods of group theory. We have done this in order to make the first part of this book, which deals with the use of symmetry principles in ordinary quantum mechanics, accessible also to the student who is not familiar with the formalism of group theory. It should however be already clear that the natural mathematical scheme that must be used for the description of principles of invariance is that provided by the theory of groups. In fact when coming to discuss the internal and dynamical symmetries in ordinary quantum mechanics and the symmetries of relativistic quantum theories both in their first and second quantized versions, one is forced to make a more and more systematic use of the methods of group theory.

In an attempt to make this book as self-consistent as possible to the reader, we have decided to give in this chapter a very concise introduction to the theory of groups. However, since there exist several excellent textbooks on the subject, we have preferred to limit ourselves to listing in a logical way all relevant definitions, theorems, and rules, omitting almost completely all the proofs.

3.2 General Notions on Groups

3.2.1 SOME BASIC DEFINITIONS. A group C§ is a set of elements g equipped with a composition law satisfying the following conditions:

l. If gl E C§ and g2 E '§, then glg2 = ga E '§.

149

150

3 A SURVEY OF GROUP THEORY

2. The composition law is associative:

(glg2)ga = gl(g2ga) ~ glg2ga .

3. There exists a unique unit element e E C§ called left identity such that eg = g for any g E t;g.

4. For any g E C§ it exists an element g-l (left inverse) such that

g-lg = e.

There follows immediately that the left identity is also/aright identity and the left inverse is also a right inverse:

ge =g,

gg-l = e.

The distinct elements gi E C§ may be finite in number, in wh.ich case their number n is called the order of the group and the; group IS called finite, or they can be a denumerable infinite set in which case the gro~p is called discrete, or finally they can constitute a non denumerable set In which case the group is said to be continuous. In this case the elements of the group are characterized by the values of a set of real parameters a1 , a2 .... , an , varying continuously over cer~ain ~anges. If t~e number of parameters is finite, the continuous group IS said to be fintte and the number of parameters is called the order of the group.

A group C§ is called abelian if g1g2 = g2g1 for any gl , g2 E C§.

A subset C§' C C§ is called a subgroup if is itself a group under the same composition law. A necessary and sufficient condition for C§' to be .a subgroup is that glg?:1 E C§' for any gl ,g2 E C§'. A subgroup C§' of C§ IS called an invariant subgroup if gg'g-1 E C§' for any g E C§ and g' E C§'.

In terms of the concept of invariant subgroup we can now give a first

general classification of groups: ..

A group C§ is said to be simple if it does. not possess any nontrivial

invariant subgroup (i.e., apart from e and C§ Itself). . .

A group C§ is said to be semisimple if it does not possess any nontrivial invariant abelian subgroup.

A group C§ is said to be homomorphic onto another group C§' if there is a mapping g -->- g' (several elements of C§ may be mapped onto the same element of C§') that preserves the composition law-i.e., if

s, +s: gz ---+ g2' g. ---+ g;

glgZ = ga

(3.1)

implies

3.2 General Notions on Groups

151

The set K of elements of C§ that are mapped onto the identity e' of C§' is called the kernel of the homomorphism. K is an invariant subgroup of C§, as is easily checked. If the correspondence established by the mapping g -->- g' is one to one (i.e., K = e), we say that C§ is isomorphic onto C§'.

Let C§' be a subgroup of C§ and g E C§. The set of all elements gg' where g is fixed and g' runs over the whole C§' is called a right C§' coset and shall be indicated by gC§'. The whole C§ decomposes into disjoint C§' right cosets, since if glC§' and g2C§' have one element in common, they are in fact coincident. Correspondingly we define the left cosets C§'g. If C§' is an invariant subgroup of C§, then the left and right C§' cosets of C§ coincide. Suppose that this is the case. We can then define the so-called factor group of C§ with respect to C§', which shall be denoted by C§/C§'. It is a group whose elements are the cosets gC§' equipped with the multiplication law:

The unit element of C§ /C§' is then eC§'.

If C§ is homomorphic onto C§', the kernel of the homorphysm K is, as already remarked, an invariant subgroup of C§. It is then easy to show that C§/K is isomorphic onto C§'.

Finally a group C§ is said to be the direct product of its two invariant subgroups C§l and C§2' and this fact shall be indicated by C§ = C§l ® C§2' if

1. The intersection of C§l and C§2 contains only the identity element.

2. Everygl E C§1 commutes with every g2 E C§2 .

3. Every g E C§ can be written in an unique way as the product of an element of C§1 times one of C§2 :

g = glg2'

3.2.2 GROUP REPRESENTATIONS. Let C§ be a group and L a linear vector space. A correspondence g -->- T(g) between the group elements and linear operators in L is said to constitute a representation of C§ if

(3.2)

In other words the mapping g -->- T(g) is an homomorphism of C§ onto the group of linear operators in L. If L is finite dimensional we say that we have a finite dimensional representation of C§. If in the linear vector space L a positive definite scalar product is defined, we can consider unitary representations of C§-i.e., those characterized by the fact that all the operators T(g) are unitary.

152

3 A SURVEY OF GROUP THEORY

Suppose that we have two representations T1(g) and T2(g) of ~ in the two linear vector spaces Ll and L2 . If there exists a one-to-one linear mapping A of L2 onto Ll , such that

(3.3)

the two representations are said to be equivalent. The set of all representations of c:§ can then he divided into classes of equivalent representations.

The representation T(g) of ~ in L is said to be reducible if it exists in L at least one nontrivial subspace Ll of L that is left invariant by all the operators T(g). If no invariant subspace for all T(g) exists, the representation T(g) is said to be irreducible. Suppose we have a reducible representation. By properly choosing a basis in L all the matrices representing the operators T(g) shall obtain the block form

T(g) ,....., (T1(g)Q(g) )

o Tlg) ,

(3.4)

where T1(g) maps t., onto itself. T1(g) and T2(g) define in any case two representations of C:§. If the linear manifold La orthogonal to Ll is also an invariant subspace for all the operators T(g), Eq. (3.4) assumes the block-diagonal form

(3.5)

We shall write in this case

(3.6)

and we shall say that the representation T(g) decomposes into the direct sum of the representations T1(g) and T2(g). We remark that when the T(g) are unitary operators and Ll is an invariant subspace, also LIt is an invariant subspace so that reducible unitary representations can always be put in the block diagonal form of Eq. (3.5).

We can now go on and see whether in turn Ll and L2 contain invariant subspaces for the operators Tl(g) and T2(g). If it is possible to write L as the direct sum of invariant sub spaces, L = Ll (£i L2 (£i ... (£i Ln , such that T(g) = Tl(g) EB T2(g) EB ... EB Tn(g) and in addition the representations T1(g), T2(g), ... , Tn(g) are irreducible, we say that the original representation T(g) is completely reducible. From what we have stated above there follows that the unitary finite dimensional reducible representations are always completely reducible."

:t: For the infinite dimensional unitary representations this is not generally true. See for instance Ref. (1.18).

3.2 General Notions on Groups

153

Suppose that we have two representations Tl(g) and T2(g) of the group ~ in the linear vector spaces Ll and L2 . Define now

(3.7)

It is easily seen that the matrices Tl(g) ® T2(g) also give a representation, in general reducible, of '# in the tensor product of the two linear vector spaces. Moreover, if c:§ is the direct product of two of its subgroups c:§ = c:§1 @ '#2 and if Tl(g) and T2(g) are two irreducible representations of G1 and G2 respectively, writing g = g1g2 and putting

T(g) = T1(gl) ® T2(g2),

it is easily proved that the matrices T(g) yield an irreducible representation of '#. All its irreducible representations can actually be obtained in this way.

3.2.3 TOPOLOGICAL GROUPS AND LIE GROUPS. Before continuing the study of the properties of the representations of groups it is useful to introduce a topology in the group. This is obtained by introducing into the abstract set of the group elements the notion of "nearness" of two elements of the set, which will allow the introduction of the concepts of limit and continuity. To introduce the topology in the group, we shall limit our considerations to a particular class of groups-i.e., those for which it is possible to establish a one-to-one correspondence between the elements of the group and the points of a subset of an n-dimensional real euclidean space e;» We shall indicate by P(g) the point of En corresponding to the element g. In En we can then consider the spherical neighborhood S, of this point

I P' - P(g)1 < E.

The points belonging to this neighborhood that are images of elements of ~ constitute then a neighborhood 1:, of If in the group ~; in symbols,

g' EI:,

if I P(g') -r-r- P(g)1 < E.

By using this family of spherical neighborhoods we can now define the concepts of limit and continuity in the group manifold.

For instance, let us consider the composition law of the group

glg2 = g3'

~ The introduction of a topology in the group can be made in a much more general way, without referring to the particular parametrization of the group elements we have introduced here. However, for our future purposes our definition of topological group is sufficient.

154

3 A SURVEY OF GROUP THEORY

We say that this law is continuous ing2 if, for any arbitrarily fixed € > 0, there exists a 0, such that for all g belonging to the neighborhood 1:~, of g2' I P(g) - P(g2)1 < 0, , the element gIg lies in the neighborhood E, of g3:

Using these concepts we can now define a topological group: It IS a group ':1 for which the composition law and the inversion are continuous in the sense defined above. A topological group ':1 is said to be compact if the image P(':1) of all elements of ':1 is a compact-i.e., closed and bounded-set of points. It is called locally compact if any image point P(g) has a compact neighborhood of points that are images of elements of ':1.

Let us now consider a continuous correspondence g(x) between real numbers x, 0 ~ x ~ 1, and elements g of the group. The set of elements so obtained is called a continuous path on ':1. If for any pair of elements g, g' E ':1 there exists a continuous path having them as end points-i.e., g(O) = g and g(1) = g'-the group is called connected. We can also introduce the concept of simply or multiply connected group. To this end we consider a closed continuous path-i.e., one for which g(O) = gel). Considered two continuous paths g(x) andf(x), we say that they can be continuously deformed one into the other if there exists a function A(x, y) continuous in both variables, with values in ':1, such that

A(x, 0) = g(x), A(x, 1) = I(x).

A group (§ is now said to be simply connected if any closed curve g(x) is continuously deformable to a point-i.e., to the constant function

I(x) =1

O:(x:(l.

If this is not the case, we say that (§ is multiply connected. All closed paths on ':1 can be divided into classes of paths that are continuously deformable into each other. If the number of distinct such classes is m, we say that ':1 is m-times connected.

Finally, we want to define a Lie group. A topological group is called a n-dimensional Lie group if there exists a neighborhood N of the identity element e such that

1. The parameters (aI'"'' an) labeling the subset of En whose points are images of elements of N are essential-i.e., it is not possible to express anyone of them in terms of the others.

3.2 General Notions on Groups

155

2. If gl == glCal '''., an) and g2 == g2(bl , ... , bn) belong to Nand glg2 == g3(CI '''., cn) and gIl = gidl '''., dn) belong to N, then

(3.8)

are analytic functions of their arguments. It is useful to choose the parameters ai,"" an in such a way that the image of e is the origin of En -i.e., e = e(O, 0,,,., 0). This shall always be understood in what follows.

3.2.4 PROPERTIES OF THE REPRESENTATIONS OF COMPACT LIE GROUPS.

In what follows we shall be interested in finding all the representations of the topological groups that are relevant for physical applications. In the particular case in which the group is either finite or if continuous it is compact we shall take advantage of some general theorems that are stated below.

We confine ourselves to consider continuous representations of the group-i.e., those for which

g _., g'

g,g'EG

implies

T(g) _., T(g')

in the sense of strong convergence with respect to the metric of the space L on which the T(g)'s are defined

II [T(g) - T(g')] '" II ;::7 0

for all of; E L. Moreover if L is infinite dimensional, we shall further require that the T(g)'s be bounded operators.

Forfinite and for continuous compact g~oups we can then prove

I. In any class of equivalent representations there is a unitary representation.

2. Any unitary representation is completely reducible.

3. Any irreducible representation is finite dimensional.

These theorems allow us to confine our considerations to the finite dimensional, irreducible, unitary, inequivalent representations of such groups. On the other hand, in the case in which the group is noncompact it can be proved that all unitary representations, apart from the trivial one given by the identity, are infinite-dimensional. There is also another

156

3 A SURVEY OF GROUP THEORY

theorem that turns out to be useful and does not refer to the compactness property of the group. It states that all the continuous representations of a semisimple, and therefore a fortiori of a simple, group are completely reducible.

3.2.5 MULTIVALUED REPRESENTATIONS AND THE UNIVERSAL COVERING GROUP. As we have stated above, there are continuous topological groups for which there exist different closed paths not continuously deformable into one other. We have called these groups multiply connected. It may then happen that given a function defined on the group manifold, as for example the matrix elements of the operators representing the group elements, this function will be multivalued, and that it may be impossible to get rid of this multivaluedness if we do not want to give up the continuity requirement for the operators T(g). These multivalued representations must be taken into consideration, since, as we shall see in the following chapters, they are relevant for physical applications.

In this case it happens then that we are compelled to associate different operators TCa)(g), TCb)(g), ... , TCZ)(g), to the same element of the group. The important fact is that the multiplication law of the group is satisfied by these operators in the sense that the product of any two operators corresponding to the elements gl and g2 is one of the operators corresponding to the element glg2 . It can be shown in general that given an n-connected group, we can have only representations that are at most n-valued.

To handle this complicated situation we can take advantage of the following general theorem. For any multiply connected topological group ':§ there exists a unique simply connected topological group @, homomorphic onto ':§ and such that none of its simply connected subgroups is homomorphic onto ':§. The group @ is called the universal covering group of ':§. Since @ is simply connected, it has only one-valued continuous representations. Moreover it can be shown that every representation of ':§ is a one-valued representation of @. To find all the representations (both one- and many-valued) of ':§ one can then look for all the (one-valued) representations of @.

3.3 Lie Groups and Lie Algebras

3.3.1 THE CONCEPT OF LIE ALGEBRA. Let us consider a Lie group ':§ of order n and let

3.3 Lie Groups and Lie Algebras

157

be a continuous representation of ':§ in a linear vector space L. Let us characterize the elements of the neighborhood of the identity of ':§ by the n essential real parameters a1 , a2 , ... , an . Define the quantities

(3.9)

The operators lk are called the infinitesimal generators of the considered representation of ':§, and satisfy

[Ik ,I;] = I ci,;I!

!

(/, k,j = 1, 2, ... , n).

(3.10)

The quantities cki appearing in Eq. (3.10) are real numbers, the socalled structure constants of the group, and are independent of the particular representation considered. They are characteristic of the considered abstract group ':§ and depend only on the particular parametrization that has been chosen for ':§; for a change of the parameters they transform through a nonsingular matrix

c~; = I AkqAlmC~m(A-l)t!.

omi

(3.11)

Moreover, they satisfy

(3.12a) (3.12b)

We come now to the introduction of the concept of the Lie algebra associated to a Lie group. Quite generally a Lie algebra 2 is a real linear vector space equipped with a composition law between its elements, which is indicated by [x, y], x, y E 2, satisfying

[x,y] E s:

[x,y] = -[y, x], (3.13)

[x, [y, z]] + [z, [x,y]] + [y, [z, x]] = o.

We use the symbol [x, y] for the composition of two elements of the algebra, and we say that if [x, y] = 0, x and y commute, since, as we shall see in Section 3.3.3, when operator representations of the algebra are considered, the symbol [x, y] goes over into the commutator of the corresponding operators. Given a Lie group ':§ of order n, with structure

158

3 A SURVEY OF GROUP THEORY

constants C~i , we introduce the corresponding Lie algebra in the following way." Let Ak (k = 1,2, ... , n) be the basic elements of an n-dimensional real linear vector space. For the two elements of the algebra x = l:k X0k and y = 24 y/t.: we define the composition law in the following way:

[x,y] = ~>kYi[Ak'-\] = ~:XkYiC~iAL' (3.14)

ik

kH

Owing to Eq. (3.12), the composition law Eq. (3.14) satisfies Eq. (3.13). The algebra so defined is called the Lie algebra associated with the considered group <g. To the change (3.11) induced by a change in the parameters of the group, there corresponds in the algebra the change of basis

(3.15)

The importance of the concept of Lie algebra stems from the following theorem: There is a one-to-one correspondence between Lie algebras and connected and simply connected Lie groups.

Actually the algebra is uniquely determined by the group-composition law in a proper neighborhood of the identity. There then exists a unique extension of the local group that is connected and simply connected. This is the universal covering group of all the groups that have the same Lie algebra.

We can extend the concept of Lie algebra by allowing combinations of the' basic elements with complex coefficients and maintaining the form (3.14) of the composition law. This procedure is known as complexification of the Lie algebra and is useful in what follows. I

3.3.2 SIMPLE AND SEMISIMPLE LIE ALGEBRAS. It is possible to define in the algebra the concepts corresponding to those of simple and

; The definition of the structure constants of the Lie group, as well as the introduction of the associated Lie algebra, can be given in a more general way in terms of the composition law for the group, without making reference to a particular representation. Since, however, all the Lie groups we shall consider are transformation groups in finite-dirnensionallinear vector spaces, the definition of the group yields immediately a representation ofthe group itself, the so-called self-representation. We can then use Eqs. (3.9) and (3.10) to determine the structure constants.

I When we consider the complex extension of the Lie algebra associated with a given group, care must be paid to the fact that different Lie groups can have the same complex Lie algebra. An example is given by 0(3) and 0(2, 1) (the rotation group and the Lorentz group in three dimensions). While 0(3) is compact, 0(2, I) is not compact, and therefore they are two completely different groups. This is a particular example of a general result:

Every complex semisimple Lie algebra has precisely one compact real form.

3.3 Lie Groups and Lie Algebras

159

semisimple Lie groups. Let us denote by :T a sub algebra of the Lie algebra 2"-i.e., :T is a set of elements of 2" such that [x, y] E:T if x, Y E:T. If the algebra 2" admits a sub algebra :T, the corresponding group admits a subgroup. :T is said to be an invariant subalgebra if

[x,y] E:T

for any y E:T and x E 2.

If moreover

[x,y] = 0

for any x,y E:T,

the invariant subalgebra is called abelian.

By using this concept we can now define the simple or semisimple Lie algebras in an obvious way. An algebra is called simple if it does not possess any invariant subalgebra except 2" itself and zero; it is called semisimple if it does not possess any abelian invariant subalgebra. It is easily shown that if the algebra possesses an invariant subalgebra or an abelian invariant subalgebra, the corresponding group possesses an invariant subgroup or an abelian invariant subgroup and vice versa, so that there is a one-to-one correspondence between simple (semisimple) Lie algebras and simple (semisimple) connected and simply connected Lie groups."

The properties that an algebra is abelian, or possesses an invariant subalgebra or an invariant abelian subalgebra are easily expressed in terms of the structure constants 4'k . In fact if the algebra is abelian, [x, y] = 0 for all x, y E 2"-i.e., all structure constants vanish:

(i, h, k = 1,2,.", n)

2 is an abelian algebra.

(3.16a)

If !l' has an invariant subalgebra :T, denoting by AI' .\2 '''., Ap (p < n) the basic elements of :T, we get that

~

P'k , A;] = L C~;.:IL

l~l

(k ~ p,j arbitrary),

so that

for k ~ p, I > p,

2 possesses an invariant subalgebra.

(3.I6b)

; Actually this is true only if we make the convention to call simple a continuous group if the only invariant subgroups it may possess are discrete. The corresponding algebra is then simple. The definition of simple Lie group is then more fundamentally obtained through an analysis of their algebras. As an example we note that while the algebra of SU(n) is simple, the corresponding group has as an invariant abelian subgroup the n nth roots of the identity.

160

3 A SURVEY OF GROUP THEORY

Finally if the invariant subalgebra or is abelian, Eq. (3.16b) holds and moreover

for k. j ~ P. l arbitrary.

!l' possesses an invariant abelian subalgebra.

(3.16c)

We shall now define the Tank of a Lie algebra: it is the maximum number of independent elements of the algebra that commute among themselves. If the algebra has rank r, the corresponding group is also said to be of rank T.

We shall now state a theorem due to Cartan. Let us consider the n X n matrix

(3.17)

The theorem states that a necessary and sufficient condition for an algebra to be semisimple is that

det I gi; I =1= O.

(3.'18)

Moreover if Eq. (3.18) is satisfied. the necessary and sufficien~ conditi~n that the corresponding group be compact is thatgii be a negative definite matrix.

3.3.3 REPRESENTATIONS OF LIE ALGEBRAS. In complete analogy with the case of group representations we define a representation of a Lie algebra as a mapping of the elements of the algebra onto linear operators of a linear vector space L

x --+ T(x)

such that

T(Ci.X + f3y) = " T(x) + f3 T(y), T([x, y]) = [T(x), T(y)].

(3.19a) (3.19b)

The expression [T(x), T(y)] in Eq. (3.19b) is the commutator of the two operators T(x) and T(y). Obviously owin~ to Eq. (3.19~) we have only to deal with the operators T(~) c.orresp~ndmg to t~e baSIC elements of the algebra. The definitions of irreducible, red~clble, completely reducible, and equivalent representations of the Lie algebra are the

same as for the groups. .

From what we have said in Section 3.3.1, if we have a representation

3.4 The Exponential Form of the Representations

161

of a Lie g_roup, the infinitesimal generators Ik of the group yield a representation of the corresponding Lie algebra. The interest in studying the representations of the Lie algebras comes from the fact that the converse is also true-i.e., a representation of the Lie algebra determines a representation of the group in a way that will become clear in what follows.

3.4 The Exponential Form of the Representations

Given a Lie group of order n, we define a one-parameter subgroup in the following way: It is a subgroup of C§ whose elements get) depend continuously on the real parameter t ( - co < t < + co).

It can be shown that by properly changing the parametrization, we can have for the elements get) the simple composition law:

g(tl) g(t2) = g(tl + t2). g(O) = e.

(3.20)

In such a case, t is said to be a canonical parameter. We remark that since the group elements are characterized by the values of the parameters a1 • a2 , •••• an , a one-parameter subgroup is obtained by properly expressing the ai in terms of t. Suppose now we have a representation of the group T(g). We can write the operators corresponding to the elements of the one-parameter subgroup as T(al(t). a2(t), ... , an(t», and from Eq. (3.20) we have

T(tl) T(t2) = T(tl + t2). (3.21)

Let us now evaluate the derivative of T(t) at the point t = O. We have

dT(t) I = I [ oT(t) ~] I

dt t~o k oak ot t=o

(3.22)

where we have put

and have used the fact that the value t = 0 of the parameter corresponds to the identity element ai = O. The operator

dT(t) I

~ = I Ikck

t-o k

162

3 A SURVEY OF GROUP THEORY

is called the infinitesimal generator of the one-parameter subgroup in the considered representation and is a linear combination of the infinitesimal generators Ik• The generators, in turn, constitute a representation of the Lie algebra associated with the group.

Using Eqs. (3.21) and (3.22) we can now express the general element T(t) in terms of the Ik's. In fact, differentiating Eq. (3.21) with respect to tl and putting tl = 0, t2 = t we have

(3.23)

whose solution is

T(t) = exp (~ITht).

We have therefore learned how the generic element of the oneparameter subgroup is expressed in terms of the infinitesimal generator Lk Ikck' Actually T(t) is uniquely determined by the generator. The important point is now that for a connected Lie group it can be proved that every element of the group belongs to a one-parameter subgroup g(t). As we have stated several times, we are interested in the unitary representations of the Lie groups. There follows that the operators Ik must be skew hermitian. It is then customary to write Eq. (3.24) as

(3.24)

(3.25)

with l« self-adjoint.

The earlier statement that to find a representation of the group we can confine ourselves to the representation of the corresponding Lie algebra should now be clear. In fact a representation of the algebra yields a set of linear operators corresponding to the infinitesimal generators Ik of the group satisfying Eq. (3.10), and Eq. (3.24) allows us then to determine the generic group element T(t) in terms of the Ik's. Strictly speaking, this is certainly true only for finite dimensional representations. In the case of infinite dimensional representations we must be careful, since, even if the operators Ik are defined on a set everywhere dense, it may happen that the exponential formula yields an operator that is not defined on a dense set. Nelson and Harish Chandra (Ref. 3.6) have given sufficient conditions for the operators lk ensuring that Eq. (3.24) can be used also in the infinite-dimensional case.

Finally, before concluding this section we want to make some comments about the algebras of multiply connected groups. If two groups

3.5 Casimir Operators

163

have Lie algebras that are isomorphic, they are said to be locally isomorphic. All groups having the same universal covering group are locally isomorphic-i.e., they have essentially the same Lie algebra. Equation (3.24), when used for connected and simply connected Lie groups, gives a true representation of these groups. In particular, therefore, it yields a representation of the universal covering group of all the locally isomorphic groups. On the other hand, if the group is multiply connected the representation obtained through Eq. (3.24) may be a many-valued representation. This is not surprising, since we know that all true representations of the universal covering group of a given group '§ contain all possible (one- and many-valued) representations of '1/. However, as already stated, we are interested both in one- and many-valued representations, so that we can use Eq. (3.24) in any case.

3.5 Casimir Operators

A very useful concept in group representation theory is that of Casimir operators. Consider the Lie algebra associated with the group

[Ai' A;] = I cT;Ak .

k

We call Casimir operator for the considered algebra (or for the corresponding group) every expression C in the \'s that commutes with all the basic elements of the algebra:

(3.26)

Note that C. does not, in general, belong to the algebra, since it is not linear in the '\/s. The importance of determining the Casimir operators is obvious; in fact, from the above we can deduce that in any representation of the algebra or of the corresponding group, C is an operator, expressed in terms of the generators of the considered representation, that commutes with all the generators and therefore also with all the operators representing elements of the group. If the considered representation is irreducible, C must then be a constant multiple of the identity in the linear vector space carrying the representation. The irreducible representations can then be labeled by the eigenvalues of a sufficiently large number of Casimir operators.

If the considered Lie algebra 2 is semisimple, we can immediately obtain a Casimir operator in the following way. Since Y is semisimple,

164

3 A SURVEY OF GROUP THEORY

Cartan's theorem guarantees that the matrix gi; given by Eq. (3.17) is nonsingular. We can then define gi; by the equation

(3.27)

Let us now put

C = I gHA;)..; • i;

(3.28)

By evaluating [C, Ak] it is then easily shown that C commutes with all Ak so that it is a Casimir operator, the so-called quadratic Casimir operator.

It can be proved that the minimum number of Casimir operators required to have a complete set-i.e., to specify completely the irreducible representations-equals the rank of the algebra. To determine other Casimir operators, we must specify the Lie algebra we are dealing with. The problem of determining all Casimir operators has been solved for some general classes of algebras-for instance, for the algebras associated to the groups SU(n) or to the symplectic groups Sp(n). We shall not give here these general expressions, we shall only introduce in Section 3.6.2 a second Casimir operator for the group SU(3), which is relevant for physical applications.

3.6 Some Specific Examples of Groups and Their Properties

3.6.1 THE ROTATION GROUP 0(3) IN THREE DIMENSIONS AND ITS UNIVERSAL COVERING GROUP SU(2). The group 0(3) is defined as the set of transformations in three-dimensional real euclidean space Ea which preserve the distance between any two points and leave unchanged a fixed point O. Given 21} , 212 E 0(3) we define the product 21}212 by the requirement

(3.29)

It is easily checked that 0(3) is a group. Introducing an orthogonal reference frame in Ea we can associate to any transformation of the group

r -+ r' !Jt

I r' I = I r I

the 3 X 3 nonsingular real matrix 21ik according to

3

Tk' = I 9fkiT; • i=1

(3.30)

3.6 Some Specific Examples of Groups and Their Properties

165

From the requirement of invariance of the distance between two points we immediately get

BlBlT = I. (3.31)

Owing to Eq. (3.31) 21ik depends only on three real parameters. The correspondence between the elements of the group and the matrices 21ik IS an Isomorphism; we can then identify the group with the set of 3 X 3 real matrices satisfying Eq. (3.31). From Eq. (3.31) we see that (det ~)2 = 1 so that the elements of the group are divided into two sets according to whether det Bl = 1 or det 9l' = -1. Note that there actually exist elements with det 9l' = -1, a typical element of this set being the space reflection

(-1

Is = -1

-J

(3.32)

Since it is not possible to go continuously from the elements of one set to those of the other, the group 0(3) is not connected. The set of elements with det Bl = + 1 is a subgroup of 0(3) that is usually called ~he ~roper rotation group Op(3). It is easily checked that Op(3) is an mvanant subgroup of 0(3); in fact

det(9fBl,,9l'-I) = + I

for any fJip E Op(3) and Bl E 0(3). The kernel of the homomorphism of O(~) onto (_)p(3) is given by the identity matrix I and the space~eflec:lOn ma~nx Eq. (3.32) These two elements generate in turn an mvanant abelian subgroup P of 0(3), with the multiplication law

lIs = lsI = Is .

(3.33)

Every eleme~t of ?(3) can be written in a unique way as the product of a p~oper rotation times an element of the group P so that 0(3) is the direct product of Op(3) and P:

0(3) = Op(3) ® P.

(3.34)

According a previously quoted theorem all irreducible representations of O(~) are obtained by taking the direct product of irreducible repre~entatI~ns of Op(3) and P. Since P is abelian, it has only one-dimensional irreducible representations, and they are

I = Is = I

166

3 A SURVEY OF GROUP THEORY

or

1= 1,

Is = -1.

We can therefore confine our considerations to Op(3).

Let us now study the topological properties of Op(3). To establish a one-to-one correspondence between the group elements and the points of Ea , we identify each rotation by a vector (0) = wn where n is a unit vector and 0 ~ w ~ 7T. The image points of Op(3) then fill up the sphere of radius 17. The explicit expression of the matrices f1.fik in terms of nand w has been given in Eq. (2.35). Note that the same rotation corresponds to two diametrically opposite points, so that to preserve the one-to-one correspondence we must identify these points.

Since the set of image points of the group elements is a bounded, closed, and connected set, the group Op(3) is a compact connected group. However, owing to the identification of the diametrically opposite points it is not simply connected. Considering in fact a continuous path connecting two of these points it is a closed path that cannot be reduced to a point. There are actually only two kinds of closed paths which cannot be deformed into each other, so that Op(3) is doubly connected.

Finally, it is easily proved by using the matrix multiplication law that the parameters of the product of two rotations (or of the inverse) are analytic functions of the parameters of the rotations that are multiplied together (or of the direct transformation), so that Op(3) is a Lie group.

The fact that Op(3) is doubly connected means that we have to look for its universal covering group. The universal covering group of Op(3) is the group SU(2) of the unimodular! (i.e., with determinant +1) unitary 2 X 2 matrices. The proof of this fact is given in Section 3.6.3, where we shall introduce the universal covering group of the restricted Lorentz group that has the proper rotation group as one of its subgroups.

The general form of an SU(2) matrix is

"I' = (_:* !*) , 1 a 12 + 1 b 12 = 1. (3.35)

Putting a = ao + iaa, b = a2 + ia1 , Eq. (3.35) reads

"I' = aoI + ia . a,

(3.36)

where a are the Pauli matrices and a == (a1 , a2 , a3). The real parameters ai satisfy

s

L a;2 = 1, i=O

• The matrices having these properties are also called special in the literature.

3.6 Some Specific Examples of Groups and Their Properties

167

so that by introducing the norm a of a we have

We can then write

w ao = COST'

. w a=sInT

(0 ~ w ~ 217)

and (3.36) becomes

"I'(w) = cos~ - isin~ n : a

2 2

~ exp (-i ; n.,,)

(0 ~ w ~ 27T)

(3.37)

with n the unit vector in the direction of a. Equation (3.37) establishes a correspondence between the elements of SU(2) and the points of the sphere of radius 17 in the three-dimensional euclidean space. In the correspondence all elements of the surface of the sphere are identified with the element -1 of SU(2). SU(2) is then not only a compact and connected Lie group but it is also simply connected.

The homomorphism of SU(2) onto Op(3) is realized by mapping the two matrices ±"I'(w) of Eq. (3.37) onto the matrix f1.fikCw) ofEq. (2.35). From the general theorems of the preceding section we can then conclude that Op(3) has only one-valued and two-valued representations; these are all one valued representations of SU(2). We can then limit ourselves to determine the unitary irreducible finite dimensional representations of SU(2). This well be done in Section 3.8.3.

To determine the Lie algebra of Op(3), which is isomorphic to that of S~(2), we use Eq. (3.9) by choosing as operators T(g) the 2 X 2 matnces (3.37) of the self-representation of SU(2). The parameters characterizing the transformations of the group are the Wl, W2, Wa appearing in Eq. (3.37) (Wi = wni). We have then

t

II = - 2: G~,

i

13 = - 2: G"

satisfying the commutation relations

[Ii ,I;] = L €;;klk'

k

(3.38a)

It is customary to define hermitian operators I, = a,

168

3 A SURVEY OF GROUP THEORY

in terms of which the algebra assumes the usual standard form characteristic of the angular momentum operators

[Ji , J;] = I iEmJk .

k

(3.38b)

We have thus determined the structure constants of the group SU(2). According to Eqs. (3.17) and (3.38a) we have then

gil = -8i;,

(3.39)

so that using Cartan's criterion Eq. (3.18) the group SU(2) is semisimp.le. Actually it does not possess invariant subgroups at all [compare with

Eq. (3.16b)], so that it is in fact simple. .

From Eq. (3.38) we see that it is not possible to build up two commuting elements of the algebra; therefore the group S U(2) has rank 1.

Finally from Eqs. (3.39) and (3.28) we see that the quadratic Casimir operator is, apart from the sign,

(3.40)

Equation (3.40) expresses the very well-known fact that the square of the angular momentum operator commutes with all its components. Since the algebra has rank I, the irreducible representations can be uniquely characterized by specifying the constant value of C in the

representation space. .

Summarizing, SU(2) is a compact, connected and simply connected, simple Lie group of rank 1. We can then confine ourselves to the construction of its unitary, finite-dimensional, irreducible, inequivalent representations. This problem is discussed in Section 3.8.3.

3.6.2 THE GROUP SU(3). The group SU(3) is the set of complex unitary unimodular 3 X 3 matrices. The elements of this group are characterized by 18 real parameters. The unitarity and unimodularity conditions give 10 real relations among these parameters, so that we remain with 8 real parameters. The generic element of the SU(3) group can be written in the form

(3.41)

with Ck real parameters and Fk the eight 3 X 3 linearly independent

3.6 Some Specific Examples of Groups and Their Properties

169

hermitian matrices (iFk are then the generators of the infinitesimal trans-
formations in the self-representation of the group):
Ie I ~) F2 = ~G -I ~)
r, = 2 ~ 0 0
0 0
, I ( 0 ~) Ie 0 i)
r, = 2 ~ -~ F4 = 2 ~ 0
0
Ie ~ -~) Ie 0 D (3.42)
r, = 2 ~ F6 = 2 ~ 0
o 0
I( ~ -D 1 ( 0 -~)
F7 = 2 ~ Fa = 2 v:3 ~ I
0
The operators Fk satisfy the commutation relations
[F; ,F;] = iIfm.Fb (3.43)
k where the fijk are skew symmetric under the interchange of any two indices. The nonvanishing values of fijk (i ~j ~ k) are given in Table 3.1. Equation (3.43) then defines the structure constants of the

Table 3.1
ijk t., ijk fm
123 1 257 !
147 t 345 !
156 -t . 367 -!
246 ! 458 '\1'5/2
678 '\1'5/2 group that characterize the abstract Lie algebra of SU(3). The matrices F; of Eq. (3.42) give a three-dimensional representation of this algebra that induces the self-representation of the group. Remembering that the generators are Ik = iFk , we see that the structure constants are real, as it must be, and are given by

(3.44)

170

3 A SURVEY OF GROUP THEORY

Using Eq. (3.44) we see that the tensor gij is now given by

(3.45)

which show that SU(3) is a semisimple and compact Lie group.' It is also easy to prove that SU(3) is connected and simply connected. In the case of the self-representation, the infinitesimal generators (3.42) also satisfy the anticommutation relations

{Fi , F;} = lOi;! + I di;,.Fk ,

k

(3.46)

where diik are symmetric under the interchange of any two indices and their nonvanishing values are given in Table 3.2.

Table 3.2
ijk dwc ijk dwc
118 I/V:} 355 !
146 1 366 _J.
"2 2
157 J. 377 _.1
2 2
228 I/v3 448 -1/(2V3)
247 1 558 -1/(2V3)
-"2
256 1 668 -1/(2V3)
"2
338 I/V3 778 -1/(2V3)
344 l 888 -l/v3 There exists a relation between the fiik and the diik that will be useful in what follows. To get it we insert the matrices Fi given by Eqs. (3.42) into the identity

[A, {B, C}] = {[A, B], C} + {[A, C], B},

(3.47)

and make use of Eqs. (3.43) and (3.46), and of the linear independence of the Fi . We get

(3.48)

The group SU(3) has rank 2. This follows from the fact that there are pairs of commuting elements of the algebra, as shown by Eq. (3.43)

* As usual the fact that SU(3) is a Lie group can be easily deduced from the consideration of the matrix multiplication law.

3.6 Some Specific Examples of Groups and Their Properties

171

and Table 3.1, but we cannot find three commuting elements of the algebra. According to the general discussion of Section 3.5 it is then possible to build up two Casimir operators fcit SU(3). The first one, apart from a multiplicative factor, is the quadratic operator

8 2'

CI = I Fl == -+ If;;,.F;F;Fk•

i .... l iik

(3.49)

The second one turns out to be a cubic operator

C2 = I diikF;F;Fk . iik

(3.50)

To verify that [C2, F J = 0 (I = 1, ... ,8), use must be made of Eq. (3.43) and of the relation (3.46).

The eigenvalues of C1 and C2 can then be used to label the irreducible representations. Again, owing to the above-stated properties of SU(3), only finite-dimensional, unitary, irreducible, inequivalent representations must be considered. The explicit construction of these representations will be performed in Section 3.8.4, and they will be labeled by a pair of numbers (a, b) that uniquely determine and are uniquely determined by the eigenvalues of C1 and C2 [see Eq. (3.152)].

For practical purposes it is convenient to make a change in the parametrization of the group, which corresponds to changing the basis of the algebra, by introducing the operators

(3.51)

In terms of these new operators the commutation rules are

. [la, 1±] = ±l±, [13' U±] = =nU±,. [la' V ±J = ±lV±,

[1+ , V+] = [1+, U_l = [U+ , V+] = [Y, hl = [la, Yl = 0,

[Y, U±J =±U±, [Y,V±l = ±V±, [1+ ,1_] = 213, (3.52)

[U+, U_] = !Y-1a == 2Ua, [V+, V_l = !Y+la == 2Va,

[1+, V_] = -U_, [1+ , U+] = V+ , [U+, V_l = l_.

The remaining commutation relations are immediately obtained using the equalities

(3.53)

172

3 A SURVEY OF GROUP THEORY

Note that 1+ , L , 13 constitute a sub algebra of. the algebra of SU(3) that is isomorphic to the algebra of SU(2). This corre~pon~s to the obvious fact that SU(2) is a subgroup ofSU(3) (but not an invanant one). Similarly the operators (UI, U2, Ua) and (VI' V2, Va) define ~t~er SU(2) subgroups of SU(3). The operators I±, U±,. and V ± are raisIng and lowering operators for Ia, Ua, and Va, respectively.

3.6.3 THE HOMOGENEOUS LORENTZ GROUP. We shall study in this section the most important properties of the homogeneous Lorentz group !f' h . The space-time coordinates of an event in the four-dimensional Minkowsky space will be indicated by x" (fL = 0, 1,2,3). Here XO = t is the time coordinate times the velocity of light and xl, X2, x3 are the spatial coordinates.'

The metric tensor of the space is a diagonal real matrixg with elements g", = g"':

(1 0

_ 0 -1

g - 0 0

o 0

~).

-1

o o -1 o

(3.54)

From a contravariant object T"····A (i.e., one transforming as the product x"x' '" XA of the spatial coordinates) we obtain a covariant one T"""A according to

In particular for the metric tensor we get s: = g~" = 8" •.

The homogeneous Lorentz group !f'h is defined as the set of real linear homogeneous transformations

x" ...... x" = A~.x', (3.56)

which leave invariant the quadratic form

3

x2 = Xu,xlJ. :::= glJ,;t"'XV ~ X02 ~ I. xt2, i=l

(3.57)

with the matrix multiplication as composition law for the group elements. The summation convention on repeated indices in understood, and

t In this section as well as in Section 3.10 and in Chapters 5, 6, and 7 natural units Ii = c = 1 are used.

3.6 Some Specific Examples of Groups and Their Properties

173

Gre.ek indices run from 0 to 3 while Latin indices run from 3

A E to .

wmg to q. (3.57) the real matrices A~, satisfy

A~"A~, = A~AP = g~., (3.58)

which can also be written

From Eq. (3.59) we get

(det A)2 = 1,

(3.60)

showing that e~ch transformation A~. has an inverse. Actually, owing to Eq. (3.58) the Inverse transformation is explicitly given by

(3.61)

The above properties show that the set of transformations is a group 2h . It is easily proved that !f'h is a Lie group of order 6.

'!-'O study the topological properties of !f'h we start by observing that OWIng to Eq. (3.60)

det zl = ±l.

(3.62)

There certainly exist transformations with det A = -I -e.g., the space inversion I. and the time inversion It :

I, ~ (~ 0 0 ~} n 0 0 f}
-1 0 1 0
0 -1 It = 0 1 (3.63)
0 0 -1 0 0
Moreover, taking fL = v = 0 in Eq. (3.58) we get
3
(AW = 1 + I (AW ~ 1, (3.64)
i=l so that either A~o ): 1 or A~o ,,:;;; -1. Again there certainly exist transformations with A~o ,,:;;; -1 -e.g., the It given in Eq. (3.63).

The above discussion shows that the homogeneous Lorentz group is not connected. The group manifold consists of four disjoint pieces:

Piece I det zl = +1 A~o ~ 1,
Piece II det zl = -1 A~o ~ 1,
(3.65)
Piece III det zl = -1 A~o ~ -1,
Piece IV det zl = +1 A~o ~ -1. 174

3 A SURVEY OF GROUP THEORY

By continuously changing the param~ters of th~ transformation we cannot go from a transformation belonging to. one .pl~ce to a transform~tion belonging to any other piece. The first pIece IS Itself ~ group that IS called the restricted homogeneous Lorentz group and will be denoted by ..Ph r : ; The group..Ph is homomorphic onto the four group V wh.ose elements are I, Is, It and 1st = I.It. The kernel of the ~om?morphlsm is the restricted homogeneous Lorentz group ..Phr, which IS therefore an invariant subgroup of ..Ph' On the contrary V is not an invaria~t subgroup of ..Ph , since, for instance, Ai.A;\ where A. denotes a sreclal Lorentz transformation, is not an element of V. Therefore ..Ph IS not the direct product of ..Ph. and V. However, all irreducible representations of 2' are known, once one has constructed all irreducible representations of V hand 2' hr .' Since V is an abelian group, all its irreducible representations are one dimensional and are easily constructed. They are summarized in the following table:

Group elements
Irreducible
representations I Is It Is.
T. (3.66)
T, -1 -1
T. -1 I -1
T. -I -1 From now on we shall therefore limit our considerations to t~e restricted group ..Phr. Up to now we know that it is a connected .Lle group of order 6. The group ..Phr has as s~bgroup the gr?up of rotations in the three-dimensional ordinary Euclidean space-l.e., the set of matrices

(3.67)

where gf is a 3 X 3 matrix whose general expression is given by Eq. (2.35). Besides the transformation.s (3.67) th~. group contains the so-called special Lorentz transformations (t:ansltlOn to. an o?server moving with uniform velocity). In the particular case 10 which the

; This group is also called proper orthochronus Lorentz group in the literature. , See, for instance, Ref. 3.8.

__ . \J

;(-, I ,..

~/\ :fflN'A

3.6 Some Specific Examples of Groups and Their Properties

175

special Lorentz transformation is along the z axis, the corresponding A is given by

(aOOb)

o 1 0 0

A= 0 0 I 0 '

bOO a

(3.68)

with aZ = 1 + hZ, a > b > O. Owing to these relations we can put a = cosh u, b = sinh u, and the relation between u and the velocity v of the moving reference frame is given by v = tanh u = bla. We see then that a and b can take arbitrarily large values; this means that the group ..Ph. is not compact, since the group manifold is unbounded. However, 2'hr is a locally compact group.

The group ..Ph. is doubly connected. This can be shown as follows.

Any transformation of ..Phr can be written as the product

(3.69)

where gfl and gf2 are pure spatial rotations and Z is a special Lorentz transformation along the z axis of Eq. (3.68). There is a great arbitrariness in the choice of .cHI and ~2 in Eq. (3.69), while Z in uniquely determined by A. Let us now consider a continuous family A(t) = gfl(t) Z(t) gfz(t) of restricted homogeneous Lorentz transformations, such that A(O) = A(1) = 1. The family of transformations

A(t, s) = .?lI(t) Z(t, s) .?l2(t),

where the b of Z(t, s) is s times the h of Z(t), has the property that by varying s from 1 to 0 the set A(t, 1) deforms continuously into a set of rotations;

This shows that any closed curve in the manifold of the group ..Phr can be continuously deformed into a closed curve of the manifold of the three-dimensional rotation group Op(3). It follows that the manifold of the group ..Ph. cannot be more than doubly connected. Since, on the other hand, it is known that .Phr has two-valued representationsi.e., the genuine spinor representations (see Section 3.10.2)-we can conclude that ..Ph. is a doubly connected group. We have then to find its universal covering group. We shall now show that the universal covering group of ..Ph. is the group SL(2, C) of unimodular complex 2 X 2 matrices.

* See Ref. 1.18 for the detailed proof of Eq. (3.69) and of the continuous character of the considered mapping.

176

3 A SURVEY OF GROUP THEORY

Let us consider an arbitrary space-time point x" and introduce the 2 X 2 hermitian matrix

_ (xO+Xl X1-iX2)_"

x = ,xl + ixfl xIl _ Xl - x u" ,

(3.70)

where

and Uk is the kth Pauli matrix given by Eq. (2.58). Conversely, given the 2 X 2 matrix x we get a four vector x" by

x" = l Tr(xu,,).

If or is an element of SL(2, C) we define

(3.71)

~ - t X = t:XXtY.

(3.72)

Let us define x" by means of Eq. (3.71):

(3.73)

It is now easy to see that the correspondence x" -+ x" is a proper homogeneous Lorentz transformation. Remembering that det a = + 1, we get from Eq. (3.72)

xiC" = det.i = det x = x"x",

which shows that the transformation x" -+ x" belongs to the homogeneous Lorentz group. The group manifold SL~2, C) is conne~ted,. .so that its matrices can be continuously transformed mto the 2 X 2 Identity matrix. The transformation of the homogeneous Lorentz group corresponding to the identity of SL(2, C) is the identity transformation. This shows that the transformations so introduced belong to the restricted homogeneous Lorentz group. Let us now indicate by Il(a) the element of .!l'hr that corresponds to the element or of SL(2, C) (see below its explicit construction). We can therefore rewrite Eq. (3.72) as follows:

(3.74)

We now check that the correspondence a -+ Il(a) is actually a homomorphism:

[11("'lCt2)X]- = "'I~X("'ICt2)t = "'I[A(~)x]- Ctit = {11("'I)[I1(~) x]}~.

Using now Eq. (3.73) we get

[11(al~) x], = [11(al){A(Ct2)x}]" ,

3.6 Some Specific Examples of Groups and Their Properties

177

which shows that the multiplication law is preserved in the mapping and therefore that the mapping is a homomorphism.

To determine the homogeneous Lorentz transformation corresponding to a given matrix of SL(2, C) we write

x" = 11~(Ct) XV = l Tr(.iu,,)

= ! Tr(cxXCttu~)

= I Tr(cxx'u,extu..) = I Tr(ao,Ctto,,) X".

From this equation, since XV is arbitrary, we get

(3.75)

It remains only to show the inverse-i.e., that given an element of .!l'hr there exists a matrix of SL(2, C) that is mapped onto it. Let us consider ~ given transformation of .!l'hr, namely, X" = Il~,x', and introduce x = x"u" and x = x'o; . We must therefore show that it exists a matrix of SL(2, C) satisfying

i.e.,

or finally,

(3.76)

Obviously, if o satisfies Eq. (3.76), -0: also does. Let A be a pure spatial rotation of an angle w (0 ~ w ~ 1T) around a unit vector n in the counterclockwise sense-i.e., the matrix (3.67) where &i is the 3 X 3 matrix given by Eq. (2.35). The corresponding matrices of SL(2, C) satisfying Eq. (3.76), as already stated in Section 3.6.1, are

(COS ; - in. sin ~ --:-i(n", - in.) sin ;)

a= ±

'( w w.. w

-t n", + in.) sin T cos T + m, sm T

Obviously in this particular case the matrices 0: are unitary and belong to the subgroup SU2 of SL(2, C). This proves what we have stated in Section 3.6.l-i.e., that SU(2) is the universal covering group of Op(3). Now let Il be the special Lorentz transformation (3.68). The corresponding matrices in SL(2, C) satisfying Eq. (3.76) are

(a + b)I/2 0

a: = ± 0 (a _ b)I/2)'

178

3 A SURVEY OF GROUP THEORY

Since any A can be written as the product (3.69), we have shown that the images in 2'hr of elements of SL(2, C) cover all 2'hr' The only matrices of SL(2, C) corresponding to the identity of 2'hr are I and -1. We have therefore that two matrices of SL(2, C) are mapped onto each element of 2' hr , and they differ only in sign.

The group SL(2, C) is simply connected and does not possess any simply connected subgroup that has the group 2'hr as its homomorphic image. It is therefore the universal covering group of 2' hr .

We introduce now the Lie algebra of !l!hr or, which is the same. of SL(2, C), since these two groups are locally isomorphic. To this end we must parametrize the transformations A~v with det A = + 1 and A?o ~ 1. An infinitesimal transformation of 2"hr can be written as

(3.77)

where the real parameters £~v, owing to Eq. (3.58), satisfy £"' = -EV". The infinitesimal generators in the self-representation are now determined by writing

(3.78)

with M"" = -M'p. Comparing Eq. (3.78) with (3.77) we see that the M·· must satisfy

from which we get

which, when written explicitly, reads

( O-J

MIO = -1 0

o 0

o 0

o o o o

o 0

o 0

o 0 o -J

(3.79)

(3.80)

0-1

o 0

o 0

o 0

(3.81)

M20= ( ~

-I

o

o 1 o o

o 0)

0-1

00' o 0

3.6 Some Specific Examples of Groups and Their Properties

179

One verifies then that the infinitesimal generators satisfy

(3.82)

Defining the operators

M = (M23, M3l, M12), N = (MOl, M02, MOO).

(3.83)

we see that their commutation rules are

[Mi' Mi] = L £i;kMk. k

[Ni.N;] = -L£i;~k

k

(3.84)

[Mi. N;] = L £i;rcNk

k

From Eqs. (3.82). or equivalently from Eqs. (3.84), we can deduce the values of the structure constants of the group. Using Cartan's criterion (3.18) there follows that the group 2'hr is semisimple. Moreover. from the above eq_ua~ions there follows that the group has rank 2, so that only two CaSImIr operators are necessary to label the irreducible representations. It is easily seen that the operators

M2 - N~ = !M.vM"'. -M . N = f<;"v··M • .,M".

(3.85)

commute with all the Mi and N, and are therefore the desired Casimir operators. It is useful to make a change of basis in the algebra intro-

ducing .the operators '

I, = !i(M, + iN,).

K, = ti(M, - iN,),

(3.86)

in terms of which the commutation relations (3.84) take the simple form

[Ji' Ii) = L i€iikIk'

k

[Ki' K;) = L i€j;~k'

k

(3.87)

[Jj .K;] = O.

180

3 A SURVEY OF GROUP THEORY

Correspondingly j2 = L II and K2 = Li Kia are the Casimir operators.

Summarizing all the results obtained in this section, we have shown that the group !l'hr

1. Is a connected and locally compact Lie group of order 6.

2. Is doubly connected, its universal covering group being the group SL(2, C).

3. Is a semi-simple Lie group.

Since !l' hr is not compact, all its unitary representations are infinite dimensional. However, it has finite-dimensional nonunitary representations. Since it is semisimple, all reducible representations can be completely reduced.

We shall not be interested, in what follows, in the infinite-dimensional unitary representations. On the other hand, in Section 3.10 we shall show how to derive all finite-dimensional irreducible inequivalent representations.

3.7 Classification of Semisimple Compact Lie Groups

3.7.1 INTRODUCTION. In what follows we shall be mainly interested in obtaining the representations of compact Lie groups, with two important exceptions-i.e., the homogeneous Lo:entz. grou~ and the Poincare group, which are noncompact. The finite-dimensional nonunitary irreducible representations of 2' hr are built up in Section 3.10, while the Poincare group is discussed in great detail in Chapter 5. We shall therefore confine ourselves here to discussing the compact Lie groups. We are faced in this case with the gratifying fact that for compact groups (as well as for finite groups) there is a complete theory allowing a complete classification of such groups as well as the derivation of all their inequivalent irreducible representations. We remind the reader that we consider only continuous representations. As already stated the only representations that must be considered are then the irreducible, unitary, finite-dimensional representations.

Both the classification and the representation theory of compact Lie groups are based, according to our previous consideratio~s, on the study of the associated Lie algebras. Weare then led to classify the compact Lie algebras. While for simple and semisimple Lie algebras there is a complete mathematical theory that leads to their classification, the same is not true for Lie algebras that are not of this type. All the theorems that we shall state below hold only for semisimple (and then a fortiori

3.7 Classification of Semisimple Compact Lie Groups

181

for simple) Lie algebras, and in this way we shall classify the semisimple

Lie groups. .

3.7.2 THE ROOTS. A very important concept that we shall use is that of root. Let us choose a set of r = rank commuting elements of the algebra, Hi (i = 1,2, ... , r), and consider the "eigenvalue" problem

[Hi' E.] = IY.;E •.

(3.88)

The quantities E. are elements of the algebra that will be called "eigenvectors"; the corresponding <Xi are called "eigenvalues." The r-component vector <X "'" (<Xl' <X2 , ••• , cx,.) is called a root. We note that first of all, zero is a root with multiplicity T, whose corresponding eigenvectors are the Hk themselves.

Cartan has shown that for semisimple Lie algebras there are n - r (n being the dimensions of the algebra) nonzero roots, which are nondegenerate. Moreover, these roots are linearly independent and, with a suitable choice of the Hi , can be made real. (This is supposed to be the case in what follows.) The r commuting operators Hi and the n - r eigenvectors E. can be chosen as a basis of the algebra.

We shall discuss now the commutators between the basic elements H. and E. in order to obtain information about the structure constants. First of all we have by assumption

[Hi,H;l = 0

(i,j = 1,2, ... , r)

(3.89)

and

[Hi, E.] = !Y.iE. ,

(i = 1,2, ... , r; ex = r + 1, ... , n),

(3.90)

which means

(7 = 1,2, , n;

i, k = 1, 2, , r;

(3.91 )

ex = T + 1, ... , n).

Using the Jacoby identity

[A, [B, Cll + [B, [C, All + [C, [A, Bll = 0,

(3.92a)

we immediately see that if a and ~ are two roots,

[Hi, [E., Eall = (!Y.i + .8,)[E., Eal,

(3.92b)

182

3 A SURVEY OF GROUP THEORY

so that either II + p = 0 or II + p is a root and, because the nonzero root are nondegenerate,

(3.93)

or

(3.94)

If ~ = -II, then evidently

.

[Ea. E-al = L C!.-aHi.

i"",1

(3.95)

and for the rest

C~B = 0

if T ¥= IX + p.

(3.96)

Using the above properties of the structure constants it is now.easy to prove that if II is a root, then -II. is also a root. In fact forming the metric tensor (3.l7) and using Eqs. (3.91), (3.94), and (3.96) we get

gaT = 0 if T ¥= -ex. (3.97)

Then if -II is not a root, the determinant of gil vanishes, contradicting the assumption that the algebra is semisimple. By properly choosing the normalization of E. we may then obtain

g e , -a = 1,

(3.98)

so that by properly ordering the basis, the tensor gij assumes the form

(i,j = 1,2, ... , r).

(3.99)

g,; 1 0

__ i - --

1 01 1

o 1 10

1 01

o 10

o

Since det g.~ is the product of elementary determinants, it follows that

detg;; =1= 0

(i.j = 1.2 .... , r),

. (3.100)

and moreover,

g'i = L c~atjCl = I ~.(X; J

(3.101)

3.7 Classification of Semisimple Compact Lie Groups

183

the sum being extended over all roots. We shall use the metric tensor so defin~d to introd.uce a scal~r product in the T-dimensional root space.

It _IS then possible to denve the general properties of the roots, which we list now. Some of them have already been obtained.

(a1) If II is a nonzero root, then ka is a root if and only if k = ±l,O -i.e., the nonzero roots always appear in pairs, the two members of a pair being opposite to each other. From this we get in particular that n - T is an even integer .

(a2) If Cl and ~ are nonzero roots, there are two, uniquely determined, nonnegative integers p and q such that

~ - PCl. ~ - (p - 1) Cl, ••• , ~. ~ + Cl ••••• ~ + qa

(3.102)

are the only roots of the type ~ + k«. The set (3.102) of roots now defined is called the Cl string containing ~.

(a3) If Cl and ~ are roots. then

2a' 13 ~=p-q.

(3.103)

and

~ - (p - q)a

(3.104)

is a root. The scalar product a ' ~ is defined by

r

a ' ~ = L giilXiP; _ i.j=l

(3.105)

Since. as stated above. detgi; '1'= O. the contravariant components of the metric tensor can be defined as usual according to

(3.106)

If we use as operators Hi those combinations of the generators that make the nonzero roots real, gij turns out to be a positive definite real symmetric matrix, as shown by Eq. (3.101). By means of a real, linear transformation on the Hi it is then possible to transform the metric matrix into the identity matrix so that there is no distinction between covariant and contravariant components. However. it is not necessary to do so. From Eqs. (3.102) and (3.103). we get in particular that if Cl and p are nonzero roots. then

2a' P p----a CIt'a

(3.107)

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