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Why helicity of photon is 1 but not 3?

  1. Feb 14, 2016 #1
    Why helicity of phon is 1 but not 3 or higher?Is there any quantity relation between the circular polarization of light and spin of photon?Why spin of graviton is 2?Is there any relation with vector and tensor charater of electromagnetic and gravitation fields and of P symmetry?Why do the elementary Fermi particles have smallest spin 1/2 but not higher?
     
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  3. Feb 14, 2016 #2

    vanhees71

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    That's a good question. It's just an empirical finding. There's no deeper principle (like symmetries) that "explains" the properties of the known elementary particles, described by the Standard Model.
     
  4. Feb 14, 2016 #3

    A. Neumaier

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    The spin of the photon is 1; its helicity is +1 or -1 (if circularly polarized) or a superposition of these (otherwise).
    Because the metric is a symmetric tensor of order 2.
    Yes. A field in a vector representation has spin 1, a field in a symmetric tensor representation has spin 2.
    Spin 3 would correspond to a completely symmetric tensor of order 3; but there are no known interacting local quantum field theories describing such fields.
    Because by current agreement, ''elementary'' means ''described by a local quantum field theory''. This essentially forces fermions to have spin 1/2. (But there are theoretical models for interacting local quantum field theories with spin 3/2 involving supersymmetry.)
     
  5. Feb 14, 2016 #4
    Which book says about this topic? What about the book ''Quantum Field Theory Vol 3'' of Weinberg?
     
  6. Feb 14, 2016 #5
    In representation 3-vector field,so there are 3 components states,then spin is 1.But because Lorentz symmetry,so we must consider 4-vector,then why the spin still is equal 1?
     
  7. Feb 14, 2016 #6

    vanhees71

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    The problem with fields at higher spin is that they contain redundant field-degrees of freedom. E.g., using a four-vector field ##A^{\mu}## to represent a massless spin-1 field you have four field-degrees of freedom, of which only two are physical. This leads to the gauge principle: If you want the massless four-vector field to represent particles with discrete spin-like degrees of freedom, you must treat it necessarily as a gauge field. This comes out of the analysis of the unitary representations of the Poincare group.
     
  8. Feb 14, 2016 #7

    A. Neumaier

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    It is about supersymmetry. But begin with volume 1 - it has more than enough to digest, and explains spin 1/2 and spin 1.
     
  9. Feb 14, 2016 #8

    vanhees71

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    ...and also fields of any spin. In fact it's the only book I'm aware of which treats the fields of arbitrary spin in full generality. Of course Weinberg has written original papers on the subject much earlier than the marvelous textbooks:

    S. Weinberg. Feynman Rules for Any Spin. Phys. Rev., 133:B1318–B1332, 1964.
    http://dx.doi.org/10.1103/PhysRev.133.B1318

    S. Weinberg. Feynman Rules for Any Spin. II. Massless Particles. Phys. Rev., 134:B882–B896, 1964.
    http://dx.doi.org/10.1103/PhysRev.134.B882

    S. Weinberg. Feynman Rules for Any Spin. III. Phys. Rev., 181:1893–1899, 1969.
    http://dx.doi.org/10.1103/PhysRev.181.1893
     
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2016
  10. Feb 14, 2016 #9

    A. Neumaier

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    In the free case only.
     
  11. Feb 14, 2016 #10
    Why local field theory forces spin of Fermion particle equal 1/2 but not higher?
     
  12. Feb 14, 2016 #11

    A. Neumaier

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    For spin >2, the field equations from local Lagrangians do not define irreducible representations of the Poincare algebra. And spin 3/2 is problematic for the same reason, except in case of supersymmetry. This leaves spin 0, 1/2, 1, 2, which are the ones observed in Nature for the fundamental fields (aka particles).
     
  13. Feb 14, 2016 #12
    Which book says about this?It seem to me the books of Weinberg does not say about thing that Prof.Neumaier point out above.
     
  14. Feb 14, 2016 #13

    A. Neumaier

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    Weinberg and other books gives Lagrangians only for spin ##\le 1##. Books usually ignore discussing no-go theorems and cover instead the constructions that were found useful. But there is an extended literature about (failed) attempts to create a consistent local field theory for other interacting fields. Only gravity results, due to special circumstances (diffeomorphism invariance and coupling to the energy-momentum-tensor of other fields). I don't remember appropriate references.
     
  15. Feb 14, 2016 #14

    vanhees71

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    I've quoted literature in #8, and it's simply not true that there are no field theories for spin ##\geq 3/2##. There are non Dyson-renormalizable ones, and indeed one of the problems is that the local field theories do not provide irreducible representations of the proper orthocrhonous Poincare group and that you have to deal with unphysical degrees of freedom. As an exampe for spin 3/2 (modelling the ##\Delta## resonance in effective hadronic theories), see e.g.,

    http://arxiv.org/abs/0712.3919
     
  16. Feb 14, 2016 #15

    A. Neumaier

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    I didn't know any examples of such theories; thanks for the pointer. I'd like to understand the paper just cited. How does one see the spin 3/2 nature of the particle? (I don't see any spin indices.) Where is the free part of the ##\Delta## field Lagrangian? I only saw the interactions (p.4). How are the unphysical degrees of freedom handled in the perturbative treatment? Surely this is all very noncanonical and not treated in textbooks. But is is also not treated in the paper itself, it seems. So where can one see how to handle all this in a consistent way?
     
  17. Feb 14, 2016 #16

    vanhees71

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    Perhaps this helps

    http://arxiv.org/abs/hep-ph/0008026

    The Rarita-Schwinger field ##\psi^{\mu}## carries only a Lorentz-vector index but these components are Dirac-spinor valued.
     
  18. Feb 14, 2016 #17

    A. Neumaier

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    Yes, this looks like a good technical reference; I'll study it.

    @fxdung: This means that my reasoning is limited to renormalizable fields. Renormalizability is usually assumed to distinguish elementary particles from effective ones. So this still answers your question - in the renormalizable case, simple power counting rules out high spin fields.
     
  19. Feb 14, 2016 #18
    How to demonstrate that the non-renormalizable local quantum field theories(e,g hadrond fields) do not provide irreducible presentations of proper Poincare algebra?
     
  20. Feb 15, 2016 #19

    A. Neumaier

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    Just count the number of components of the fields in the Lagrangian representation and of the fields in Weinberg's form of the iirrep.
     
  21. Feb 15, 2016 #20

    vanhees71

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    Yes, part of the trouble with fields of higher spin ##s \geq 1## is that you have redundant degrees of freedom. E.g., a spin-1 field has 4 field components ##V^{\mu}##, but spin 1 means that in fact you have only 3 spin degrees of freedom (for a massive boson). That's why you have to make sure that your equations of motion get rid of the unphysical degrees of freedom.

    One realization of a massive spin-1 particle is the "naive" one, called the Proca Lagrangian,
    $$\mathcal{L}=-\frac{1}{4} F_{\mu \nu} F^{\mu \nu} + \frac{m^2}{2} V_{\mu} V^{\mu}$$
    with
    $$F_{\mu \nu}=\partial_{\mu} V_{nu} - \partial_{\nu} V_{\mu}.$$
    From Hamilton's principle of least action you get the Proca equation
    $$\partial_{\mu} F^{\mu \nu} + m^2 V^{\nu}=0.$$
    Taking the divergences by contracting with ##\partial_{\mu}## yields
    $$m^2 \partial_{\mu} V^{\mu}=0,$$
    i.e., as long as ##m \neq 0## the field equations imply an appropriate constraint to project out the unphysical scalar field degree.

    The case ##m=0## is different, and you get an Abelian gauge theory.

    Since gauge theories are not only aesthetically nice but have better renormalizability features, Stückelberg came up with an alternative formulation also for the massive field, which in the Abelian case leads to a gauge theory of massive vector fields without an additional Higgs boson.
     
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