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barrier

D. G. Barci, C. G. Bollini, M.C.Rocca,

Departamento de Fsica, Universidad Nacional de La Plata,

C.C 67, 1900, La Plata, Argentina

Abstract

We consider a tachyon field whose Fourier components correspond

to spatial momenta with modulus smaller than the mass parameter.

The plane wave solutions have them a time evolution which is a real

exponential. The field is quantized and the solution of the eigen-

value problem for the Hamiltonian leads to the evaluation of the vac-

uum expectation value of products of field operators. The propagator

turns out to be half-advanced and half-retarded. This completes the

proof [4] that the total propagator is the Wheeler Green function [4,7].

PACS: 10.14.14.80-j; 14.80.Pb

This work was partially supported by Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Cientficas

and Comision de Investigaciones Cientficas de la Pcia. de Buenos Aires; Argentina.

1

1 Introduction

For a normal particle (bradyon), the Klein-Gordon equation

(2 + m2 ) = 0 (1)

leads to mass-energy relation of the form

1

E = (~k2 + m2 ) 2 (2)

which implies that E is real for any real value of ~k.

Instead, for the tachyon field we have

(2 2 ) = 0 (3)

so that the elementary solution is

~ 1

= ei(wtk~x) with w = (k2 2 ) 2 (4)

and w is real only when ~k2 2. For ~k below the mass barrier (~k2 < 2 ),

w is pure imaginary and the exponential in [4] blows up either for t

or for t +.In general this region of ~k is discarded (See Ref. [1] and [2])

and only values such that ~k2 2 is accepted.

However the situation here is similar to the case of the ordinary quantum-

mechanical description of the movement of a free particle that find in its way

a potential barrier higher than its kinetic energy. The real solutions inside

the potential cannot be ignored. In our case the mass squared 2 plays

the role of the potential barrier.

It is nowadays that tachyons cannot appear asymptotically as free parti-

cles without impairing unitarity [3], but this does not mean that they have to

be barred from consideration. They should be forbidden to propagate freely

but they can be allowed to exist as transient virtual modes.

This point of view was adopted in a previous paper for ~k2 2 [4]. Now

we are going to examine some consequences of considering (3) and (4) for

~k2 < 2 .

It is perhaps convenient at this point to warm about a possible misinter-

pretation of (4). It should be clear that an imaginary value of w means that

this quantity cannot be the energy of any state of the field. As matter of

fact we will see that, even if the exponential in (4) is a solution of the field

equation (3), there is no actual eigenstate with particle-like properties which

can be considered similar to those of bradyons.

In this paper only values of ~k such that ~k2 < 2 will be considered.

2

2 Quantization

Any real solution of (3) can be written as

= 1 + 2 (5)

Z

1 dk

b1k ewt + c1k ewt cos ~k ~r

1 = N1

(6)

(2) 2 w

Z

1 dk

b2k ewt + c2k ewt sin ~k ~r

1 = N1

(7)

(2) 2 w

where from now on we define

1 1

w = |(~k2 2 ) 2 | = (2 ~k2 ) 2 (8)

and all integrations are to be carried out over the region ~k2 < 2 .

The Lagrangian for the field is:

1 1

L = + 2 2 (9)

2 2

The total Hamiltonian can be written

H = H1 + H2 (10)

Z

w

Hj = dk (bjk cjk + cjk bjk ) (11)

2

It is now easy to see that canonical quantization of the field leads to the

commutation relations

] = ilm (~k ~k )

[blk , cm

k

(12)

The eigenvalue problem for Hj has been discussed in Ref. [5]. For the sake

of completeness we shall give some results that will be needed afterwards.

For each degree of freedom (each ~k), the Hamiltonian has the form

1 i

h = (qp + pq) = qp [q, p] = i (13)

2 2

The eigenvalue equation is

i

h = qp = E (14)

2

3

or, in the usual coordinate representation

d i

iq = E + (15)

dq 2

whose solution we write as

1 iE 1

E = q+ 2 < E < + (16)

2

[q+ = q (q) and similar solutions with q = |q| (q)] The spectrum is

continuous and runs the real energy axis from to +. The normalization

is such that:

Z Z

E E

1

iE 12 iE 21 1 dq i(E E)

( , ) = dqq q = q =

2 2 q

0 0

Z

1

E)y

dy ei(E = (E E ) (17)

2

(y = ln q) The solutions (16) are then similar to the plane wave solutions

for free particles. They have been used in quantum optics to describe the

time solutions squeezed states and also to evaluate the Shannon entropy

for the degenerate parametric amplifier whose Hamiltonian can be cast into

the form (11) (See Ref. [13]).

The orthogonality relations are contained (for E 6= E ) in the general

expression (see Ref. [6])

Z

dq q = 0 ( 6= 1) (18)

0

These formulae show that the mean values of q (and p ) are 0 for 6= 0

Z

Z

1 iE 12 iE 12 1

(E , q E ) = dqq q q = dq q1 = 0 ( 6= 0) (19)

2 2

0 0

Z

1 1 d 1

E E

( , pq ) = dqqiE 2 (i) qqiE 2 =

2 dq

0

4

i i

E (E E ) = E (E , E ) (20)

2 2

and of course

E E i

( , qp ) = E + (E , E ) (21)

2

We shall now write the zero energy mean values using the notation E=0

|0 >. Then (19)-(21) reads

i

< 0|pq|0 >= < 0|0 >= < 0|qp|0 > (23)

2

Field Operators

Taking into account (6), (12), (22) y (23), we can evaluate the mean value

for products of the 1 field at different points (we shall take < 0|0 >= 1)

Z Z

1 dk dk

< 0|b1k c1k |0 > cos ~k ~x cos ~k ~ye(wx0 w y0 ) +

(2)N1 w w

< 0|c1k b1k |0 > cos ~k ~x cos ~k ~ye(w x0 wy0 ) =

Z

i dk

< 0|1 (x)1 (y)|0 >= N1

cos ~k ~x cos ~k ~y(ew(x0y0 ) ew(x0 y0 ) )

(2) 2w

(24)

Analogously

Z

i dk

< 0|2 (x)2 (y)|0 >= N1

sin ~k ~x sin ~k ~y(ew(x0y0 ) ew(x0 y0 ) )

(2) 2w

(25)

Adding (23) to (24) we get

Z

i dk i~k(~x~y) w(x0 y0 )

< 0|(x)(y)|0 >= N1

e (e ew(x0 y0 ) ) (26)

(2) 2w

5

from which we obtain

< 0|T(x)(y)|0 >=

Z

i dk i~k(~x~y) w(x0 y0 )

N1

e (e ew(x0 y0 ) )Sg(x0 y0 )

(2) 2w

Z

i dk i~k(~x~y) 1

N1

e sinh |x0 y0 | = W(x y) (27)

(2) 2w 2

The Green function (27) is the Wheeler propagator defined in Ref. [7]. Fur-

ther if we note that (Ref. [8], 3.354, p. 312)

Z

eik0 t

2 2

= ewt

k0 + w w

then we see that W(x) is the Fourier transform of (k20 + w2 )1 = (k20 ~k2 +

2 )1 where the k0 integration path can be considered to be the superposition

of two branches. In one of them both poles are left below the path integration

and in the other branch are left above the path. In other words, W(x) is

half-retarded plus half-advanced (see also Ref. [9] and [10])

1 1

W(x) = R (x) + A (x) (28)

2 2

4 Lorentz Invariance

The generators of the Poincare group can be constructed of the energy-

momentum tensor:

1

T = + ( 2 2 ) (29)

2

With (5)-(7) we find that

Z

i

P0 = dk k0 [{b1k , c1k } + {b2k , c2k}] k0 = iw

2

Z

1

Pi = dk ki [{b2k , c1k } {b1k , c2k }] 1 i 3 (30)

2

From the angular momentum tensor

M = x T x T (31)

6

we obtain, in particular, the Lorentz boost

Z

1

M0i = dk w[{i b2k , c1k } {i b1k , c2k }] i (32)

2 ki

It is a matter of tedious algebra to verify that the operators P and M

obey the commutation relations of teh Poincare algebra.

To verify that transforms as a scalar under the transformations of

the Lorentz group generated by M , it is necessary to take into account

that the Fourier transform of is an analytic generalized function (analytic

distribution; see Ref. [11]), so that the path of integration [in (6) and (7)]

can be deformed in the complex ~k plane. But this proof is actually not

needed, as the field of the tachyon disappears from all matrix elements (in

contradistinction to the case of bradyons) For this reason the tachyonic field

should be considered more an auxiliary concept than a real entity. The only

trace of the field leaves is the Wheeler propagator, which, as explained in

Sec. 3 is the Fourier transform of (k20 ~k2 + 2 )1 = (k2 + 2 )1

The complete propagator is Lorentz invariant, as shown by K. Kamoi and

S. Kamefuchi in Ref. [12] for the retarded and advanced Green function (cf.

eq. (28)).

7

5 Discussion

When tachyons are forbidden to propagate asymptotically as free particles,

all values of ~k are acceptable in principle and ~k space divides naturally into

two regions: (a) the sphere ~k2 < 2 and (b) the complement ~k2 2 . The

case (b) was considered in Ref. [4]. There it was shown that the coefficients

of elementary solutions are increasing and decreasing operators. None of

them annihilates the vacuum, which is an eigenstate of the Hamiltonian

with zero energy and zero momentum When ~k2 > 2 and ~k2 2 the

energy momentum spectrum is discrete but becomes more and more dense.

For ~k2 < 2 we find a continuum. For (a) or (b), the propagator is found

to be half-advanced plus half-retarded, the only difference being that in (b)

both poles in the k0 plane are real while in (a) they are pure imaginary.

The tachyon field is related to complex mass fields through the Wheeler

propagator, which appears in a natural way (see also Ref. [7]).

Furthermore, this is practically, the only Green function which is com-

patible with the suppression of the asymptotic free modes of the field.

8

References

[1] G. Feinberg, Phys. Rev 159, 1089 (1967).

1823 (1988).

to be published in Il Nuovo Cimento, Sec. A.

Tiomno Festschrift (1992) (World Scientific 1992).

(Academic 1964).

[7] C. G. Bollini and L. Oxman, Int. J. Mod. Phys. A7 (No. 27) (1992).

(Academic 1965).

[9] A. Wheeler and R. Feynman, Rev. Mod. Phys. 17, 157 (1945).

[10] A. Wheeler and R. Feynman, Rev. Mod. Phys. 21, 425 (1949).

[12] K. Kamoi and S. Kamefuchi, Prog. Theor. Phys., 45, 1646 (1971)

the single mode squeeze operator, to be published in Phys. Rev. A.

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