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# Journal of Computational and Applied Mathematics 160 (2003) 259–263

**www.elsevier.com/locate/cam
**

Some properties of an extended Wigner function

R. Ramanathan

Department of Physics, University of Delhi, Delhi 110007, India

Received 24 October 2002; received in revised form 10 March 2003

Abstract

A covariant generalisation of Wigner function proposed by us some years ago is reviewed, and its remarkable

and useful properties are elucidated; its being a natural solution to a relativistically covariant Liouville equation

is also demonstrated.

c 2003 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Keywords: Wigner function; Liouville equation

1. Introduction

In a remarkable paper Wigner [5] introduced a distribution function, which made the averages

(expectation values) in quantum mechanical observables look like the averages in statistical mechan-

ics. The function is so structured as to satisfy the Liouville equation automatically. This function

is interesting from both the applicational and epistemological view points [1].

The original Wigner function is of the form

,(x; r) =¬

−3

d

3

qt

∗

( r + q)t ( r − q)e

i x· q

(1)

with the following properties:

,(x; r) d

3

r =,(x),

,(x; r) d

3

x = ˜ ,(r)

and the average of a quantity !( x) +q( r) given by

!( x) +q( r) =

(!(x) +q(r)),(x; r) d

2

x d

3

r. (2)

**Invited lecture at the ‘International Conference on Special Functions’, September 22–27, 2002 at Chennai.
**

E-mail address: drramanathan@hclinÿnet.com (R. Ramanathan).

0377-0427/$ - see front matter c 2003 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

doi:10.1016/S0377-0427(03)00628-9

260 R. Ramanathan / Journal of Computational and Applied Mathematics 160 (2003) 259–263

The t and t

∗

in (1) are, respectively, the Schr odinger wave function and its complex conjugate

and x, r are the position and momenta. It is readily veriÿed that for a free particle (1) satisÿes the

Liouville equation

9,( x; r)

9t

+

÷

t ·

÷

∇

,( x; r) = 0. (3)

The Wigner function has proved to be a useful tool for easy evaluation of quantum averages in

analogy with the averages in statistical mechanics the past several decades, and has also been widely

studied in the past [1].

In this paper, I will briey outline a very economical procedure for constructing covariant Wigner

functions for the Dirac, Klein–Gordon (K–G) and spin-1 ÿelds as already elucidated earlier [3].

Finally, I shall list the useful ÿeld theoretic structure for the generalised Wigner function for the

Dirac ÿeld which can be extended to the case of spin-0 and -1 case by identical procedure.

2. The extended Wigner function

In what follows, I shall adopt the notation and conventions of Roman [4] and use the Euclidean

metric q

jv

with (+ + ++) entries along the diagonal and j, v taking values 1,2,3 and 4.

First, I deÿne a four-vector quantity

J

j

(x, r) =¬

−4

d

4

qe

2iq·r

t (x +q)i¸

j

t (x −q), (4)

where t and

t are free Dirac ÿelds satisfying

(¸

j

9

j

+m)t = 0 and

t (m − 9

j

¸

j

) = 0, (5)

where

t =t

+

¸

4

, t

+

being the Hermitian conjugate of t .

It is readily seen that the fourth component of J

j

(x; r) is the covariant Wigner function for the

Dirac ÿeld,

,(x, r) =J

4

(x, r) =¬

−4

d

4

qe

2iq·r

t

+

(x +q)t (x −q). (6)

It is also easy to see that by virtue of (5) the following conservation equation holds:

9

(x)

j

J

j

(x, r) = 0. (7)

The usual Dirac current is also recovered by noticing that J

j

(x) =

d

4

rJ

j

(x; r) =

t i¸

j

t , which

also satisÿes the current conservation

9

j

J

j

(x) = 0. (8)

Recalling that the Dirac matrices ¸

j

satisfy the algebra

¸

j

¸

v

+¸

v

¸

j

= 2q

jv

(9)

and the corresponding anti-symmetric spin tensor is deÿned as

o

jv

= i[¸

j

¸

v

−¸

v

¸

j

], (10)

R. Ramanathan / Journal of Computational and Applied Mathematics 160 (2003) 259–263 261

it is easy to verify the Gordan identity

t [i¸

j

]t =

t

r

j

m

+

1

2m

9

(x)

v

o

jv

t . (11)

Now using (11) in (7) with the use of (4), we can split the conservation equation into the

convective and spin parts

J

c

j

(x, r) =¬

−4

d

4

qe

2iq·r

t (x +q)

r

j

m

t (x −q) (12)

and

J

s

j

(x, r) =¬

−4

9

(x)

t

d

4

qe

2iq·r

t (x +q)

o

jv

m

t (x −q). (13)

Remembering the total anti-symmetry of the spin part, it is readily seen that (7) implies the separate

conservation of the convective and spin parts of J

j

(x, r):

9

j

J

c

j

(x, r) = 9

j

J

s

j

(x, r) = 0. (14)

Now it is apparent that the conservation of the convective part (14) implies the Liouville equation

for the Dirac–Wigner function

9

t

,(x, r) +t

i

9

i

,(x, r) = 0. (15)

So, the conservation of the convective part of J

j

guarantees that the Wigner function for the Dirac

ÿeld satisÿes the Liouville equation. In arriving at (15), we have used the kinematical equality

t

i

=r

i

r

4

, the velocity associated with the Liouville ow.

2.1. Wigner function for the K–G and Spin-1 ÿelds

To repeat the procedure adopted for the free Dirac ÿelds for the case of the spin-0 K–G ÿelds and

the spin-1 vector ÿelds, we resort to the use of the Dun–Kemmer equation [4], which recasts the

usual second-order dierential equation for the integral spin ÿelds into ÿrst-order dierential equation

akin to the Dirac equation by introducing multi-component ÿelds for the spin-0 and -1 ÿelds with

appropriate identiÿcations for the components, to relate with the usual second-order integral spin

equation. Using the [-matrix notation of Roman [4] we have

([

j

9

j

+m)t (x) = 0,

t (m − 9

j

[

j

) = 0, (16)

where t (x) is a multi-component ÿeld, each of whose components t

i

satisÿes the K–G equation, and

t =t

+

n

4

and n

4

=2[

2

4

−1. The spin-0 and -1 cases correspond to 5- and 10-component irreducible

representations, respectively. The components are as follows:

Spin-0: t

i

(i = 1–4) = −9

j

m(x)m, t

5

=m,

Spin-1: t

i

(i = 1–6) = −F

j

tm, t

i

(i = 7–10) =m

j

, (17)

where m and m

j

are the usual K–G and spin-1 ÿelds, respectively. The [

j

matrices in (16) are,

therefore, the 5 ×5 irreducible representations for the spin-0 ÿelds and 10 ×10 for the spin-1 ÿelds.

262 R. Ramanathan / Journal of Computational and Applied Mathematics 160 (2003) 259–263

The algebra of the [ matrices are given by [4]

[

z

[

j

[

v

+[

v

[

j

[

z

=o

zj

[

v

+o

jv

[

z

. (18)

The ‘spin’ operator is given by

iS

jv

=[

j

[

v

−[

v

[

j

. (19)

To write the counterpart of the Gordan identity for the [-matrices analogous to relation (11), we

need the further equation

(9

j

−[

v

[

j

9

v

)t (x) =

t (x)(9

j

−[

v

[

j

9

v

) = 0. (20)

From (18), (19) and (15) it is readily seen that

t (i[

j

)t =

t

r

j

m

+ 9

v

S

jv

m

t . (21)

Thus, with the Dun–Kemmer ÿelds replacing the Dirac ÿelds in (4) we can readily extract the

Wigner function for the spin-0 and -1 ÿelds by proceeding along the same arguments and noting that

the convective part of conservation equation (14) with the replacements mentioned above leads to

the corresponding Wigner function satisfying Liouville equation (15). As only the 4, 5 components

of t contribute to the phase density for the spin-0 ÿelds, the corresponding Wigner function works

out as

,(x, r) =

1

m

¬

−4

i

d

4

qe

2ir·q

[9

t

m

∗

(x +q)m(x −q) −m

∗

(x +q)9

t

m(x −q)]. (22)

2.2. Explicit forms of the extended Wigner function

It is now straightforward to use the usual free ÿeld expansions of the Dirac, spin-0 and -1 ÿelds,

respectively, to compute the corresponding Wigner function in terms of the Fock-space (number

operators) of the ÿelds [2].

I shall just present the outline of the calculation for the Dirac ÿeld which can be repeated for the

spin-0 and -1 ÿelds as well.

The Fourier representation for the Dirac ÿeld [2] is

t (x

1

) = (2¬)

−32

d

3

r

1

(mE

1

)

12

{r

r

1

r

1

u

r1

(r

1

)e

ix

1

r

1

+d

∗

r

1

r

1

t

r

1

(r

1

)e

−ix

1

r

1

}, (23)

t (x

2

) = (2¬)

−32

d

3

r

2

(mE

2

)

12

{r

r

2

r

2

u

r2

(r

2

)e

ix

2

r

2

+d

1

t

r

2

(r

2

)e

−ix

2

r

2

}, (24)

where b and d are (c-number) electron and positron amplitudes, respectively, and u and t are the

corresponding positive and negative energy spinors. The latter are more conveniently written in terms

of the Lorentz boost operators as follows [2]:

u

r

1

(r

1

) = [(m − irr

1

)2

m(m +E

1

)]u

r

1

(0), (25)

t

r

1

(r

1

) = [(m + irr

1

)2

m(m +E

1

)]t

r

1

(0). (26)

R. Ramanathan / Journal of Computational and Applied Mathematics 160 (2003) 259–263 263

Putting all these ingredients into the expression for the Wigner function and doing the covariant

integration, after the algebraic simpliÿcations, which are tedious but straightforward, we arrive at the

form

,(x, r) =¬

−3

d

4

ko(r

2

+m

2

+k

2

4)o(2r·k)

×[b

∗

(

÷

r

+

÷

k2)b(

÷

r

−

÷

k2)e

ik·x

+d

∗

(

÷

r

+

÷

k2)d(

÷

r

−

÷

k2)

×e

−ik·x

](2mr

0

+ 2i ˆ n·(

÷

r

×

÷

k ))

E

1

E

2

(m +E

1

)(m +E

2

)

, (27)

where ˆ n is a unit vector normal to the plane of

÷

r

and

÷

k .

Now the Wigner function of form (27) can be readily used in any ÿeld theoretic computation

involving free Dirac ÿelds. The same strategy may be adopted to compute the Wigner function for

the spin-0 and -1 ÿelds in terms of ‘c-number’ amplitudes.

References

[1] S.D. Bosanac, J. Math. Phys. 38 (1997) 3895;

R. Ramanathan, Int. J. Mod. Phys. A 13 (1992) 3095.

[2] C. Itzykson, J.B. Zuber, Quantum Field Theory, McGraw-Hill, New York, USA, 1980.

[3] A.N. Mitra, R. Ramanathan, J. Math. Phys. 39 (1998) 4492;

R. Ramanathan, Delhi University Report, 2000, unpublished.

[4] P. Roman, Theory of Elementary Particles, North-Holland, Amsterdam, 1964, pp. 146–155.

[5] E.P. Wigner, Phy. Rev. 40 (1932) 749.