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Efeitos de Auto-interao na Dinmica de um Corpo no Espao-tempo

Paulo Luz
Under supervision of Vitor Cardoso
CENTRA, Departamento de Fsica, Instituto Superior Tcnico,
Universidade Tcnica de Lisboa - UTL,
Avenida Rovisco Pais 1, 1049 Lisboa, Portugal.
(Dated: 15 October 2012)
Abstract
In this thesis we study the eect of self-interactions of particles with their own eld. We start by introducing
the rst attempt to quantify the eect of self-forces which, historically, appears in the study of electromagnetism.
We deduce the Larmor equation for accelerated charged particles, whose introduction in the equations of motion
implies a correction to the Lorentz force, the Abraham-Lorentz force. The study of the Abraham-Lorentz force
shows various problems such as violation of causality or innite accelerations. We then continue with the study of
the electromagnetic self-force within the special relativity framework deducing the Abraham-Lorentz-Dirac force,
which reduces to the equation found in the classical framework having the same problems as the previous one.
In the second half, the Einstein Field Equations are linearized and its computed the deformation in space-time
created by a massive point particle, concluding that it diverges in the particles position. To make sense of this
results a method to regularize the eld is used, which then allows the determination of the equation of motion
for a massive point particle in curved space-time. To nish, the equation found is used to study the self-force
eects in a four dimensional at space-time, concluding that the particles world line is a geodesic in rst order
of perturbation theory.
Keywords: Abraham-Lorentz-Dirac Force; Radiation Reaction; Self-force; Curved Space-time.
I. INTRODUCTION
In the beginning of the twentieth century there
were only known two types of interactions: grav-
itational, which, due to the Newton theory, was
believed to be instantaneous; and electromagnetic,
explained by the Maxwell Laws which stipulate that
the electromagnetic eld propagates at a nite ve-
locity, c. This fact allowed Joseph Larmor to de-
duce that an accelerated electrical charge would
radiate energy, going completely against what the
Lorentz equation says: a charge in an electric or
magnetic eld accelerates without loss of energy.
It was then necessary to incorporate this damping
eect in the equations of motion. This was rst
done by Max Abraham which suggested that the
energy loss was due to a self interaction of the par-
ticle with its own eld, generating a self-force on
the particle.
In 1905, Albert Einstein develops the theory of
special relativity that revolutionized the world of
physics. One of its consequences was the fact
that the speed of light in vacuum is the maximum
velocity at which information can travel. This ob-
viously implied that the Newton theory of gravity
couldnt be correct. Actually, in 1915, Einstein,
with a colossal conceptual leap introduced the the-
ory of general relativity, which stated that the grav-
itation was to be seen as a manifestation of the
curvature of space-time caused by the presence of
mass.
The recently created theory was able to predict and
explain a manifold of phenomenons such as the
evolution of binary pulsar systems, the structure of
black holes and the evolution of the universe as a
whole. The Einstein theory also predicts the exis-
tence of gravitational waves, ripples in space-time
that travel at the speed of light. This phenomenon
is one of the most interesting consequences of the
theory since the ability to detect this waves would
allow us to study regions and epochs of the uni-
verse that otherwise would be completely out of
range.
Although interesting, the detection of gravitational
waves as been one of the most challenging tasks
that physicists had to face. The extremely sen-
sitive instruments used to detect such waves are
sensible to signals coming from the whole universe
as well as background noise. To make sense of the
detected signals is of extreme importance to know
the bodies movement since the amplitudes of grav-
itational waves are dependent of quantities related
1
to the movement. This gave rise to a new interest
in the study of the perturbations due to self-force
eects in the bodies movement, and consequent
emission of gravitational waves.
II. ABRAHAM-LORENTZ FORCE
We start the study of self-force eects recalling the
rst attempt made to quantify such eects.
The Maxwell equations that govern the classical
electromagnetism imply that the scalar and vector
potentials obey the following equations:

2
=

0
;

2

A =
0

j.
(2.1)
Being linear, these equations can be solved using
the method of the Green functions. The propaga-
tor G(r, t, r

, t

) acts as a potential generated by


a pulse localized at r = r

at a time t = t

, which
obeys to
_

1
c
2

2
t
2
_
G(r, t; r

, t

) = (rr

)(tt

),
(2.2)
where (r r

) (x x

)(y y

)(z z

).
The Eq.(2.2) can be solved using the method of
the Fourier Transform giving the solution
G(r, t; r

, t

) =
1
4r
_

_
t t

_
t

_
t
r
c
__
+
+
_
t

t
_

_
t

_
t +
r
c
___
=
= G
R
(r, t; r

, t

) + G
A
(r, t; r

, t

).
(2.3)
The Eq.(2.3) shows that the Green function
G(r, t; r

, t

) is naturally separated into two con-


tributions. To make sense of this result let w(t

)
be a vector function which gives the position of a
particle at each time t

and r the vector position of


the point where the eld is being detected, called
eld point. Since the electromagnetic information,
photons, propagate at a nite velocity, the photons
emitted at an instant t
R
, called retarded time, ar-
rive at the eld point at a time t > t
R
. Let w(t
R
)
be the position of the particle at the retarded time
t
R
, called retarded position, and r the vector de-
ned from the retarded position to the point eld
position, such that
r = r w(t
R
) . (2.4)
The retarded time can than be determined from
t
R
= t
r
c
, (2.5)
where r =| r w(t
R
) |.
The Eq.(2.5) expresses the fact that, since the pho-
tons propagate at a nite velocity, c, they take an
interval of time r/c to travel to the eld point. This
interpretation is exactly the meaning of the Green
function G
R
(r, t; r

, t

) which states that photons


are emitted at in instant in the past and arrive at
the eld point at an instant in the future. The
opposite is expressed by G
A
(r, t; r

, t

). This in-
terpretation allows the denition of G
R
(r, t; r

, t

)
as the retarded Green function and G
A
(r, t; r

, t

)
as the advanced Green function.
The interpretation of the Green function in
Eq.(2.3) implies that the advanced Green function
has to be ignored since it implies a direct viola-
tion of the causality principle which states that the
cause has to precede the eect. So the Green func-
tion for the the Eqs.(2.1) is just
G(r, t; r

, t

) G
R
(r, t; r

, t

) =
1
4r

_
t

t
R

.
(2.6)
This result can then be used to compute the po-
tentials, such that
(r, t) =
1
4
0
q
_
r r

_,

A(r, t) =

0
4
qv
_
r r

_ =
v
c
2
(r, t) ,
(2.7)
where

= v/c. To nd this results one has to
bear in mind that the charge and current density
measured in a eld point are not the actual charge
and current densities of the moving sources since
dierent parts of the source have dierent retarded
times which implies a distorted density when seen
from a eld point.
The solutions in Eq.(2.7) are called the Linard-
Wiechert potentials, which express the general case
of the potentials created by a moving source.
2
Found the Linard-Wiechert potentials the equa-
tions

E =


A
t
,

B =

A,
(2.8)
allows the computation of the elds generated my
moving charges. The diculty of this computation
comes from the fact that the derivatives and vec-
tor operators in the above equation are to be taken
in the eld point but the potentials in Eq.(2.7)
depend explicitly of the retarded point. Bearing
in mind that a variation of the eld point implies
a variation of the retarded point, since a photon
emitted from the retarded position must always
reach the considered eld point, the retarded elds
are found to be

E (r, t) =
q
4
0
r
(r u)
3
__
c
2
v
2
_
u +r (u a)
_
,

B (r, t) =
1
c
r

E (r, t) .
(2.9)
The expressions found for the elds admit a natural
separation: the terms that dont depend of the
sources acceleration, and vary as 1/r
2
, are called
Velocity Fields, the terms that do depend of the
sources acceleration, which vary as 1/r, are called
Radiative Fields.
Found the retarded potentials is now possible
to compute the radiated energy from a moving
charge. It is, however, necessary to dene radi-
ation. Is dened radiation as the energy ow emit-
ted by the source carrying energy to the innity,
meaning, radiation is the fraction of energy that is
emitted and lost irretrievably by the source.
Using the Poynting theorem the power emitted by
the source is simply
P (r) =


S ndA =
1

E

B
_
ndA.
(2.10)
However not all energy emitted by the source rep-
resents radiated energy. The radiated energy must
only be the fraction lost to innity, such that
P
rad
lim
r+
P (r). One conclusion can then be
made right away, the terms in the retarded elds
that vary as 1/r
2
- which imply a 1/r
4
variation
of the Poynting vector - do not contribute to en-
ergy radiated by the source. So only the radiative
elds have to be considered in the computation of
radiated energy by the source.
Using the radiated elds and integrating over a
spherical surface centered at the position of the
particle one then nds the power radiated by the
source is
P
rad
=

0
q
2
a
2
6c
. (2.11)
This result is know as the Larmor formula and
states that an accelerated particle radiates energy
according to the Eq.(2.11).
Found that the laws of classical electrodynamics
imply an energy loss by an accelerated particle one
has to incorporate the radiative eects in the equa-
tion of motion, such that:
m

v =

F
ext
+

F
rad
, (2.12)
, where

F
rad
is considered to incorporate the eects
of the radiated energy.
Considering two instants t
1
and t
2
such that the
particle is in the same state in both instants one
can ignore the energy emitted by the particle that
is not radiated since the energy lost by the particle
to the velocity elds when accelerating is retrieved
when decelerating. This consideration implies that
the energy lost by the particle in the interval t =
t
2
t
1
is equal to the work done by

F
rad
, such that

t
2
t
1

F
rad
v dt =

t
2
t
1

0
q
2
6c

v

v dt. (2.13)
From this equation one nds that

F
rad
=

0
q
2
6c

a, (2.14)
called the Abraham-Lorentz force and representing
the rst attempt made to quantify the eects of
self interactions.
The inclusion of the Eq.(2.14) in the equation of
motion it gives
3

F
ext
= m
_

v
0

v
_
, (2.15)
with

0
=

0
q
2
6mc
. (2.16)
Seeking solutions of the Eq.(2.15) gives rise to se-
rious problems. Considering an arbitrary external
force that is turned o after an arbitrary interval of
time the solution of Eq.(2.15) states that the parti-
cle keeps accelerating indenitely. Other problems
arise when, by further manipulations, one nds that
the acceleration at a given time depends of the
force at earlier times. This implies that an inter-
val of time before the application of the force the
particle is already accelerating, implying a direct
violation of the causality principle.
III. ABRAHAM-LORENTZ-DIRAC FORCE
The deduction in the previous section was made
in the classical physics framework. Its but natural
to try to generalize the equations found within the
special relativity formalism and then hope to solve
the problems found earlier. For the rest of the arti-
cle the system of units is changed and contrary to
the previous section, where the International Sys-
tem was used, the system of Geometrized units is
adopted.
To start is useful to compute the retarded elds in
a fully covariant form. They are found by solving
the wave equation

2
A

= 4J

. (3.1)
The solution is found by computing the Green func-
tion. But, given that the previous result for the
propagator can be put in a covariant form it is also
Green function for the Eq.(3.1), so
G
R
_
x x

_
=
1
2

_
x
0
x
0
_

_
_
x x

_
2
_
,
(3.2)
where the advanced solution is ignored due to its
direct violation of the causality principle.
The result of Eq.(3.2) can that be used to compute
the retarded 4-potential:
A

R
(x) =
qv

[x z ()]

=
R
. (3.3)
The result in the Eq.(3.3) is the Lorentz invariant
form of the Linard-Wiechert potentials.
To compute the Maxwell tensor using the denition
F

, (3.4)
it has to be found a way to relate the variation
of the eld point and the variation of the retarded
point. Given that the retarded point must be con-
nected to the eld point by a null geodesic, then a
variation of the eld point can be related to a vari-
ation of the retarded eld. Finding such relation
its possible to nd
F

=
2q
R
_
a
[
k
]
+ a

v
[
k
]
_
+
2q
R
2
v
[
k
]
,
(3.5)
where the square brackets imply anti-
symmetrization of the indexes: : A
[
B
]
=
(A

) /2, R represents an invariant


measure of distance in space-time and k

is a
normalized vector tangent to the geodesic that
links the retarded point x

and the eld point x.


Found the expression for the Maxwell equation
is then possible to compute the electromagnetic
energy-momentum tensor using the equation
T

=
1

0
_
F


1
4

(F

)
_
. (3.6)
Given the expression of the Maxwell tensor is then
perceptible that there is an explicit separation of
a contribution of the, previously called, radiation
elds, that vary with R
1
, and velocity elds that
vary with R
2
. This natural separation implies
that the energy-momentum tensor can also be sep-
arated in the form T

= T

rad
+T

vel
. Then, using
Eq.(3.6) the expressions for each components are
given by
T

rad
=
q
2
4R
2
_
a

a
2
k
_
k

,
T

vel
=
q
2
4
_
2
R
3
_
k
(
a
)
+ a
k
_
k
(
k
)
k

__
+
+
1
R
4
_
2k
(
v
)
k

1
2

__
,
(3.7)
4
where a
k
:= a

and the curved brackets im-


ply symmetrization of the indexes: A
(
B
)
=
(A

+ A

) /2.
To use to energy-momentum conservation to nd
the expression for the relativistic electromagnetic
self-force it has to be dened a coordinate system
centered at particles retarded position, called, cre-
atively, Retarded Coordinate System.
The retarded coordinate system
_

R
, R,
A
_
is
build as follows: rst one selects a point z (
R
) at
the accelerated particles world line and consider
the future light cone of this point, to all events
in space-time lying on this light cone is assigned
the same coordinate
R
. The null light cone is
generated by null rays emanating from z (
R
) and
radiating in all directions. One may specify one
of these rays selecting two angles
A
, which give
the direction of the ray with respect to a reference
axis. To all events in space-time lying on the null
ray are assigned the same coordinates
A
. Finally,
a specic event on the light cone can be charac-
terized by the ane parameter distance from the
apex, dening the fourth coordinate R.
This construction allows the denition of a 3-
cylinder that encloses the world line of the
particle. It can, then, be calculated how much
electromagnetic-eld momentum ows across the
cylinders surface, given quite generally by
P

, (3.8)
where d

is the outward-directed surface element


on .
Computing the surface element d

in retarded
coordinates one can then use the results found
in the Eqs.(3.7) and compute the ow of energy-
momentum that crosses the cylinder surface. For
the radiative component,
P

rad
=
q
2
4

_
a
2
a
2
k
_
k

d
R
d. (3.9)
Demanding that the electromagnetic-eld momen-
tum ows across the cylinders surface per unit
time corresponds to a change in the particles mo-
mentum one nds
dP

rad
d
R
=
2
3
q
2
a
2
v

. (3.10)
Making the same logic for the velocity elds:
dP

vel
d
R
=
q
2
2R
a

. (3.11)
Bringing together these results one nds
dP

em
d
R
=
q
2
2R
a

+
2
3
q
2
a
2
v

. (3.12)
Postulating the energy-momentum conservation
dP

mec
d
R
+
dP

em
d
R
= 0, (3.13)
and the form for P

mec
, nally yields the Abraham-
Lorentz-Equation:
ma

=
2
3
q
2
_
a

a
2
v

_
, (3.14)
where m is the sum of a purely material mass of
the particle and a electromagnetic contribution.
The equation found reduces to the classical result
having the same problems as the classical equation.
IV. SELF-FORCE EFFECTS ON A MASSIVE
POINT PARTICLE IN CURVED SPACE-TIME
The rst part of this work was intended to present
the rst attempt to quantify the self force eects.
The results found gave rise to serious problems
in classical physics showing its limitations when
studying the microscopic world.
The search for gravitational waves gave rise to a re-
newed interest in the self-force eects in the motion
of a source. That shall be studied in the following
section.
Given a point particle with mass m moving on a
world line the metric for the total space-time can
be written as:
g

= g

+ h

, (4.1)
where g

is the metric of the unperturbed back-


ground space-time, which is assumed to be a vac-
uum solution of the Einstein Field Equation (EFE),
and h

is the perturbation induced by the pres-


ence of the particle.
5
Given the Eq.(4.1) one can express the Einstein
tensor in terms of the background metric and the
perturbation, in the form
G

= G

+ G

+ G

, (4.2)
where G

is the Einstein tensor of the background


space-time which is assumed to vanish, G

con-
tains all the linear terms, in the perturbation, called
the linearized Einstein operator; and G

repre-
sents all the non linear terms.
The linearized Einstein operator is found to be
G

=
1
2
_

+ 2R

_
+
+
1
2
_

;
+

h

;
g

;
_
,
(4.3)
where

:= h

1
2
g

_
g

_
. (4.4)
This result allows the EFE to be rewritten as
G

= 8T

eff
, (4.5)
where
T

eff
:= T

. (4.6)
To simplify the Eq.(4.3) the gauge freedom can be
used. Imposing the condition

;
= 0, (4.7)
called Einstein Condition or Harmonic Condition,
the Eq.(4.5) can be rewritten as

+ 2R

= 16T

eff
. (4.8)
It can also be shown that the gauge condition in
Eq.(4.7) is equivalent to the energy-momentum
conservation. This results, then, allows for a com-
plete linearization of the EFE since its possible to
completely separate the problem of nding the eld
created by the particle and its equation of motion.
The problem now is how to solve the Eq.(4.8). A
solution can be written formally as

(x) = 4

_
x, x

_
T

eff
_
x

_
_
g

d
4
x

,
(4.9)
where G

(x, x

) can be thought as a Green


function, a functional that depends of the space-
time metric that obeys the equation
G

_
x, x

_
+ 2R

_
x, x

_
= 4g

(
_
x, x

_
g

)
_
x, x

4
_
x, x

_
. (4.10)
The fact that, in general, given two events in
space-time they can be connected by more than
one geodesic imply that the Cauchy problem isnt
unique. But in a neighborhood of the base point,
called Convex Neighborhood, the Cauchy problem
is, indeed, unique and one can make the following
ansatz for the Green function
G

_
x, x

_
= U

_
x, x

+
() +
V

_
x, x

+
() ,
(4.11)
where U

(x, x

) represents a contribution
from the future null light cone of x

and
V

(x, x

) a contribution from the interior of


the future light cone. Using the Eq.(4.11) in the
Eq.(4.10) one nds equations for each contribu-
tion.
In rst order of theory of perturbations the eective
energy-momentum tensor is just: T

eff
= T

. So
in order to continue, the explicit expression for the
energy-momentum tensor must be found.
Using the following action for a particle in space-
6
time:
S
particle
= m

ds = m

_
g

d,
(4.12)
it can be found that the energy-momentum tensor
for a point particle is given by
T

(x) = m

_
g

4
(x, z) d. (4.13)
Taking the divergence of this result and ensuring
energy-momentum conservation one recovers the
geodesic equation for a non-ane parametrization:
D z

d
= k z

, (4.14)
with
k =
1
_
g

D
d
_
g

. (4.15)
Writing the Eq.(4.14) in terms of the background
metric gives
a

=
1
2
_
g

+ v

_
(2h
;
h
;
) v

,
(4.16)
the equation of motion of the point particle in a
generic, vacuum EFE solution, background space-
time.
All is left is to compute the potential created by
the point particle. Using the Eqs.(4.11) and (4.13)
in the Eq.(4.9)

(x) =
4m
R
U

_
x, x

_
v

+
+ 4m

<
V

(x, z) v

d +
+ 4m


<

R

(x, z) v

d,
(4.17)
where
<
and
>
are the values of the proper time
at which the particles world line enters and leaves,
respectively, the convex neighborhood of the re-
tarded position x. To nd a concrete expression
for the eld one needs to generalize the retarded
coordinate system, introduced earlier, to a generic
curved space-time. Done that one nds out that,
as expected, the eld created by a point particle
diverges in the position of the particle. To make
sense of this result one computes the mean eld at
a 2-surface dened around the particles position
and then take the limit as the distance between
the geodesic and the points lying in the considered
surface tends to zero. The result is
_

_
= 4m
_
v
(
R

+ R

_
v

+
+

h
tail

,
(4.18)
where

h
tail

is the covariant derivative of the con-


tribution that comes from the interior of the past
null light cone of the point x.
Getting back to the potential created by the parti-
cle, inverting Eq.(4.4),one nds
h
reg
;
= 4m
_
v
(
R

)
+ R

_
v

+ h
tail

;
h
tail

= 4m

_
G
R


1
2
g

G
R

_
_
z () , z
_

__
v

_
v

_
d

.
(4.19)
This results can then be used in Eq.(4.16) and the
equation of motion for a point particle, in rst or-
der, is given by
Dv

d
=
1
2
_
g

_
_
2

h
tail

h
tail

_
v

.
(4.20)
Finally, this formula can be used to compute the
self-force eects in the simple case of a point parti-
cle traveling in a four dimensional at background
space-time. In this case the perturbation due to
the point particles presence can be explicitly cal-
7
culated, such that
h

= A

exp (k

) . (4.21)
Using this equation in
h

= 0, (4.22)
gives
k

= 0. (4.23)
So, in rst order, the perturbation always travels
at speed of light and there is no tail term in at
four dimensional space-time.
V. CONCLUSIONS
In the rst part of this work was presented the
rst attempt to include the self-force eects in the
motion of a particle. The interest in such eects
arose in the study of Maxwells electromagnetism.
The analysis revealed behaviors that are unsustain-
able by the experimental data, since there is no
such thing as particles with innite acceleration -
such would lead to a clear violation of the energy-
momentum conservation.
In the second half the interest is changed to nd a
way to include self interaction eects in the equa-
tion of motion of a point particle in a curved space-
time. It was shown that is possible to dissociate
the EFE into a wave equation and a gauge condi-
tion directly linked to the conservation of energy-
momentum (cf. Eqs.(4.7) and (4.8)). It was then
found that the energy-momentum conservation im-
plied that the world line of the particle is a geodesic
of the total space-time. This fact allowed a com-
plete separation of the problem of nding the eld
created by the particle and its equation of motion.
The fact that the EFE can be linearized allowed
the interpretation of the eld created by a point
particle and to nd, in rst order, the equation of
motion of the particle when seen from the back-
ground space-time.
Finally, the results were used in the simple case of
a particle moving in a four dimensional at back-
ground space-time, concluding that the world line
of the particle is, in rst order, a geodesic, so there
arent self-force corrections to the particles move-
ment.
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