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Physics Fields

Physics Fields

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In subsection IIIB4 we saw that in the same way as a current in electrodynam-

ics or Yang-Mills is defined as the matter contribution to the gauge field’s equation

of motion, δSM/δAa = Ja

(in that case SM excludes only the pure Yang-Mills ac-

tion), the “energy-momentum tensor” is defined as the matter contribution to the

492

IX. GENERAL RELATIVITY

gravitational field equation (in this case SM excludes only the pure gravity action):

δSM =

e−1

ζab

Tab = 1
2

√−g(δgmn

)Tmn = −1
2

√−g(δgmn)Tmn
The case where ζab represents the invariances of the action implies restrictions on this

tensor: Using the separate gauge invariance of the matter action δgaugeSM = 0 and

the matter field equations δSM(matter) = 0 (as for the Yang-Mills case), gauge

variation of the gravity fields in SM implies

ζab =

λab = −λba ⇒ T[ab]

= 0 : Lorentz

−1

2 (aλb) ⇒ aTab

= 0 : coordinate

so coordinate invariance of the action implieslocal conservation of energy-momentum.

For example, for a real scalar field:

S =

e−11

4[( χ)2

+ m2

χ2

+ aRχ2
]

2Tab = ( aχ)( bχ)− 1

ab[( χ)2

+m2

χ2

]+a[(ηaba b)+(Rab− 1

abR)]χ2

Notice that for a = 0, the energy-momentum tensor gets extra total-derivative terms

which are separately conserved in flat space (since they come from the Rχ2

term,

which is separately covariant).

Excercise IXA6.1

Using the action given in subsection IXA4 and the variation of the covariant

derivative from subsection IXA5, find the energy-momentum tensor for the

Dirac spinor, and use its field equations to show this tensor is conserved.

Note that this is not the same as ordinary conservationmTmn

= 0:

√−gT0n

does not define a conserved total energy-momentum. This is in contrast with the

conserved current in electrodynamics, since we then can derive the usual global con-

servation law

0 =

dD

x e−1

aJa

=

dD

x ∂me−1

Jm

∼ d
dt

dD−1

x e−1

J0

On the other hand, it’s closely related to Yang-Mills, where δAa =aλ leads to

aJa

= 0 in terms of the derivative covariantized with respect to the Yang-Mills

field (as well as gravity, if in curved space), some−1

Jm

=e−1

[iAm,Jm

] = 0 (see

subsection IIIC1).

However, if there is a Killing vector Ka, then the component of momentum in

that direction is conserved:

Ja

≡ KbTba

aJa

= ( aKb)Tba

+ Kb( aTba

) = 0

A. ACTIONS

493

(Remember (aKb) = 0.) Some simple examples of this in flat space are (Ka)b

= δb
a

(translational invariance), for which the corresponding “charge” is the total momen-

tum, and (Ka)bc

= δ[b

axc]

(Lorentz invariance), for which the charge is the total angular

momentum.

Including the variation of the gravitational action, we get the gravitational field

equations

Rab − 1

abR = 2Tab

Coordinate invariance of SG implies a(Rab

− 1

ab

R) = 0, which also follows from

the Bianchi identities: In that sense gauge invariance is said to be “dual” to Bianchi

identities, one implying the other through variation of the action: In general, for any

gauge field φ with gauge parameter λ

δφ = Oλ, 0 = δS =

dx ()δS

δφ ⇔ OT δS

δφ = 0

where the “transpose” OT

is defined by integration by parts. Positivity of the energy

(contained in any infinitesimal volume) is the condition T00

0. The addition of
the cosmological term modifies the left-hand side of the above equation of motion by

adding a term 2ηabΛ.

Although there is no covariant definition of total energy-momentum, in the case

where spacetimeis asymptoticallyflat (the metricfalls off to the flat metricsufficiently

fast at infinity), one can define a noncovariant energy-momentumtensor tab for gravity

itself which is covariant with respect to coordinate transformations that themselves

fall off at infinity. (See excercise IIIC1.2 for the analogous Yang-Mills case.) This

tensor satisifesm(Tmn

+tmn

) = 0 (where Tmn

is the usual tensor for matter), so the

usual conservation laws can be derived for the total energy-momentum coming from

integrating T +t. Many equivalent expressions exist for t. One way to derive it is to

expand the field equations order-by-order in h as

1
2
(Rab − 1

abR) ≡ Lab −tab

where Lab is the linearized part of the field equations (see subsection IXB1) and −tab

is the quadratic and higher-order parts. By the linearized Bianchi identities, we know

0 =aLab

≡ ∂a(1

2Rab

− 1

ab

R + tab

) =a(Tab

+ tab

)

where we used the field equations in the last step. Note that there is a great deal

of ambiguity here: We could have linearized by expanding the metric around its flat

space value instead of the vierbein, or by expanding Rmn or Rmn

instead of Rab, etc.

494

IX. GENERAL RELATIVITY

Because of the expression in terms of Lab ∼ ∂∂h, the integral of T +t, which gives the

total energy-momentum vector, can be expressed as a surface term, just as Gauss’

law in electrodynamics. Since space was assumed to be asymptotically flat, only the

quadratic part of t contributes in the surface integral, which is why there is so much

freedom in the definition of t. Since t is not covariant, the energy-momentum of

the gravitational field is not localized (coordinate transformations shift it around).

However, since the total energy-momentum is invariant, one can ask questions about

how much energy is radiated to infinity, etc.

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