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Lorentz algebra SO(4)

  1. May 6, 2012 #1
    When you rewrite the angular momentum generators Ji and boost generators Kj in terms of the linear combinations N±i=Ji±iKi, does this mean that your group parameters can now be complex? So for example a group element R can be written as:

    [tex]R(z_1,z_2)=\exp[i(z_1 N^+ +z_2 N^-)] [/tex]

    where the z's are complex? z1 and z2 must be complex conjugates in order to get something of the form:

    [tex]R(z_1,z_2)=R(x,y)=\exp[i(xJ+yK)] [/tex]

    where x and y are real group parameters instead of complex ones.

    So is there an implicit rule that whatever the coefficient of N+, the coefficient of N- must be the complex conjugate? So in order to specify a group element of SO(4), you have to give 3 complex numbers (one for i=1,2,3), and the coefficients in front of the N- generators would just be the complex conjugate of those numbers?
  2. jcsd
  3. May 7, 2012 #2


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    Yes; this step is called complexification and what you get is

    so(3,1; R) → so(3,1; C) ~ so(4; C) = sl(2; C) + sl(2; C)

    No; the complexification deals with arbitrary complex coefficients. That does not mean that complex coefficients or the whole complex algebra represent physically meaningful entities. It's an extension of a mathematical structure G(R) → G(C) in order to study the properties of G(R) in terms of the larger structure G(C); in order to do physics you may restrict yourself again to G(R).
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