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Introduction

One possibility to approach quantum gravity is the hamiltonian formulation of general relativity1 .

As it first has been formulated as a complete theory by Arnowitt, Deser and Misner one therefore

often calles it the ADM formalism today. But in some book and lectures it is also referred to it as

the hamiltonian formulation, or foliation of general relativity.

Starting with

1

Gab = Rab gab R = Tab ()

2

the aim is to perform a Legendre transformation to obtain a Hamiltonian formulation of the

Einstein-Hilbert Lagrangian

L=

gR.

We are going to use the metric signature ( + ++), latin indices iklj run from 1 to 3 and abcd from

0 to 3, where x0 = t. In addition we set = 1. To achieve our goal we will follow the roadmap

given below:

1. Foliate spacetime manifold into a series of spacelike hypersurfaces.

2. Re-express the Lagrangian in terms of hij , N and Ni .

3. Find the momentum conjugate to hij , N and Ni .

4. Perform a variation of the Hamiltonian with respect to N and Ni to obtain two constraint

equations, viewing N and Ni as Lagrange multipliers.

Putting all those steps together we will finally obtein the Hamiltonian constraint formulation of

relativity.

Foliation of spacetime

One can show that an arbitrary globally hyperbolic manifold M can be foliated into a family of

hypersurfaces of constant t, which we call t . Assuming spacetime (M, g) is of this topological

structure R we can split the metric into spatial and time components. On each hypersurface

of constant t we can now define a pure spatial metric hij , by:

hij = gij + ni nj ,

(1)

with unit normal vector ni of the hypersrface t . The unit normal vector is necessarily timelike

with lenght na na = 1, as the hypersurfaces are spacelike. Supposing the infinitesimal distance on a

hypersurface is given by hij (t, xi )dxi dxj , the proper time of a co-moving observer is differing from

the coordinate time by the lapse function N which yields:

d = N (t, xi )dt.

1 We

xi2 = xi1 N i (t, xi )dt,

where N a is called the shift vector . Physically the lapse function represents the rate of flow of

proper time with respect to t:

N = t n

(2)

N i = hi j tj .

(3)

They allow us to sew two hypersurfaces together as illustrated in figure 1. In four dimensional

spacetime the line-element ist - as we remember - given by

ds2 = (coordinate distance)2 (proper time)2 .

(4)

Introducing our previous results we obtain for our line-element the expression:

ds2 = hij (dxi + N i dt)(dxj + N j dt) (N dt)2

= gab dxa dxb .

(5)

g00 = hij N i N j N 2 = Nj N j N 2

(6)

(7)

ga0 = hij N = Ni

(8)

gab = hij

(9)

g0b = hij N = Nj

g =

p

detg = N 2 dethij = N h

hij , N i and N are the new variables defining the field since they contain the same information as

the original spacetime metric. As the next step the Lagrangian given above hast to be re-expressed

in terms of these variables.

Now that we have definde the foliation of spacetime, we take the field variables to be hij , N i and

N . These lead to the relations2

ij

i

N

L

h ij

L

N

L

N i

(10)

(11)

(12)

To be abled to find the time-derivative Lt hij we introduce the extrinsic curvature, which is defined

as

Kij := hki k nj =

1

1

Ln hij = N 1 (Lt hij LN hij ) .

2

2

(13)

2 When looking at those equations it is important to realize that the dot does not indicate a time-derivative.

Because of the canonical framework the diffeomorphism invariance of general relativity has to be maintained (e.g.

the system should be coordinate-independent). As time is defined differently in each coordinate-system it is not

suited for this approach. It is necessary to differentiate to the local time that is perpendicular to the hypersurface at

each point of it and this perpendicular direction is given by the field that describes time. Therefore the Lie-derivative

is used.

This definiton is analogous to the covariant derivative along a curve, which is nothing but the

parallel transport along a curve. It is possible to rewrite Einsteins field equations in terms of

this curvature and finally give the equations of motion refering to the variables (10) - (12). Well

accomplish those to things during the next pages, starting with the vaccum field equations.

As we already introduced a 3-dimensional metric, a number of quantities in 3 dimensions have to

be defined. Therefore first the curvature tensor is expressed in terms of a dual vector field and of

the derivative associated with hab . Starting with the 4-dimensional tensor

(a b b a )V c = Rc dab V d

we indentify the changes given below

gab

hij

Da

Vd

Rd abc

(3)

Rd abc

and define

(3)

Rabc d d = (Da Db Db Da )c .

(14)

Dc T a1 ...ak b1 ...bl = ha1 d1 . . . hbl el hc hf f T d1 ...dk e1 ...el .

(15)

Da Db c = Da hb d hc e d c

= ha f hb g hc k f hdg hek d e

(16)

= ha f hb d hc e f d e + hc e Kab nd d e + hb d Kac ne d e

using the relation that

ha b hc d b hd e = ha b hc d b (gd e + nd ne ) = Kac ne ,

(17)

because b gd = 0 and ha b nd = Kad . One can calculate that in addition the following holds:

hb d ne d e = hb d d (ne e ) hb d e d ne = Kb e e

(18)

As the second term on the right-hand of Eq. (16) is symmetric in a and b it will vanisch in Eq.

(14). By this we finally achieve

(3)

(19)

Rabcd hac hbd = Rabcd (g ac + na nc )(g bd + nb nd )

= R + 2Rac na nc

a c

= 2Gac n n

(20)

Gab na nb =

=

=

=

=

=

=

1

Rabcd hab hcd

2

1

gdm Racb m hab hcd

2

1

(hdm nd nm )Racb m hab hcd

2

1

(3)

(hdm nd nm )hfa hgc hkb hm

Rf gk j + Kf k Kg j Kgk Kf j )hab hcb

j (

2

1

(3)

(hdm nd nm )hf k hgd hm

Rf gk j + Kf k Kg j Kgk Kf j )

j (

2

1 f k g (3)

h j ( Rf gk j + Kf k Kg j Kgk Kf j )

2

1 (3)

( R + K k k K j j Kjk K jk ) = 0

2

From the second line in Eq. (20) we can derive the Ricci scalar as

R = 2(Gab na nb Rab na nb )

(21)

If one now calculates Rab na nb in terms of the extrinsic curvature the Lagrangian densitiy can be

Rab na nb = Racb b na nb

= na (a c c a )nc

= (a na )(c nc ) (c na )(a nc ) a (na c nc ) + a (na a nc )

(22)

In total we now have derived the Einstein field equations in vacuum depending the extrinsic

curvature:

1 (3)

( R Kij K ij + K 2 )

2

Rij ni nj = K 2 Kij K ij

Gij ni nj =

(23)

Combining those two equations and attaching them into the Lagrangian yields

R + Kij K ij + K 2

1 2

= hN (3) R +

N (Lt hij LN hij )(Lt hij LN hij ) K i i K i i

4

L=

hN

(3)

(24)

and we are finally capable to deduce the equations of motion (the conjugate momenta):

L

Lt hij

1 2

= hN

N (Lt hij LN hij )

K2

2

Lt hij

1

= hN N 1 K ij N 2 (Lt hij hij LN hij hij )2

4

1 ij

= hN (N K N 1 Khij )

= h(K ij Khij )

ij =

(25)

and furthermore

L

=0

N

L

=

= 0.

N i

N =

(26)

i

N

(27)

We want to point out what the above found equations mean. Thereby N and N i turn out to be

Lagrange multipliers. To find out the means well have a look at a simple example of the classical

Hamiltonian to give an adequate answer:

Consider a pendulum with coordinates (x, y) and the normalization condition x2 + y 2 = l2 .

The Lagrangian for such a pendulum is, as we already know, given by L = 12 (x 2 + y 2 ) mgy

and the variation priciple leads to

Z

Z

S =

Ldt =

L

L

x +

y dt

x

y

action. If further on x, y and are considered dynamical variables

p =

L

=0

(28)

Lagrangian, or the Hamiltonian for that matter, the conjugated momentum to the dynamical

variable (which displays a degree of freedom) turns out to be 0. The retrieved constraint then

is, that if the conjugated momentum is 0, also

H

= 0.

(29)

The conclusion from L

= 0 and L

N

N i

of the system and are the so-called primary constraints.

The Hamiltonian density can now be defined by the degrees of freedom hij :

H = ij h ij L

= ij (2Kij N + LN hij )

hN ((3) R + Kij K ij K 2 ).

(30)

Di hjk = 0,

(31)

which is analogous to the covariant derivative c gab = 0. In addition the Lie-derivative of the

spatial metric can (in analogy to the Lie-derivative of spacetime metric) be written as

LV hij = Di Vj + Dj Vi .

(32)

i

the extrinsic curvature in terms of ij and hij :

1

kl hkl hij ij .

Kij = h1/2

2

ij

This can be shown by inserting it into Eq. (25). The Hamiltonian thereby becomes

(33)

We now further develop the right-hand side of Eq. (33). To do so we are going to need the following

relations:

3

Kij K ij = h1 ij ij kl hkl hij ij + 2

4

1

ij Kij = h1/2 ij ij kl hkl hij ij

2

1

K 2 = h1 2 .

4

(34)

(35)

(36)

H = hN

(3)

R+h

1

ij h1 2

2

ij

(37)

The last terms build just a boundary term in the integral, used to obtain the Hamiltonian and can

therefore be ignored. According to this for Lagrange multipliers holds H

= 0, so that we get the

Hamilton constraint

H

1

= (3) R + h1 ij ij h1 2 = 0

N

2

(38)

H

h ij = 0.

= Di

Nj

(39)

Those to have in fact first been formulated by Dirac, which is why he should also be mentioned at

this point. Finally one can perform an analysis of the problems they raise and which can partly

be solved by introduction of new variables, the so-called Ashtekar variables.

The now complete ADM formulation of general relativity can be quantized by a process introduced

by Dirac. For his one first calculates the Poisson-brackest

{hij (x), kl (y)} =

1 k l

i j + jk il 3 (x y)

2

ij

hij h

ij

i~

hij

(40)

(41)

As, following the constraint equations, H = 0 always holds the Schrodinger equation reduces to

H|i

= 0. Here we have

H

H

2 hNi

=0

N

Ni

and therefore can conclude the Wheeler-De Witt equations

H=

hN

H

|i = 0

N

H

|i = 0.

Ni

(42)

(43)

The problem is that the first of those equations is ahighly singular functional differential equation

for which until now no physical solutions have been found.

There are of course other steps possible to be taken into quantum gravity as e.g. loops.

6

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