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Particle Physics in the LHC Era$
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Giles Barr, Robin Devenish, Roman Walczak, and Tony Weidberg

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780198748557

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198748557.001.0001

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Relativistic quantum mechanics

Relativistic quantum mechanics

Chapter:
(p.140) 6 Relativistic quantum mechanics
Source:
Particle Physics in the LHC Era
Author(s):

G. Barr

R. Devenish

R. Walczak

T. Weidberg

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198748557.003.0006

This chapter starts with a brief summary of special relativity, describing how 4-vectors and the Lorentz transformation can be represented by complex matrices. Spinors are introduced as basic building blocks of special relativity, allowing a demonstration of how the Weyl equation and the Dirac equation emerge from the Lorentz transformation of spinors. The Klein–Gordon equation is discussed to show the problems and applicability of relativistic quantum mechanics. The Dirac equation for a free particle is then discussed, including the use of different representations (including the Dirac and Weyl representations), discrete symmetries, and the non-relativistic limit. Interactions with the classical electromagnetic field are introduced, demanding a corresponding gauge symmetry. The chapter concludes by extending the gauge symmetry to account for weak and strong interactions.

Keywords:   Lorentz transformation, spinor, Weyl equation, Dirac equation, Weyl representation, Dirac representation, non-relativistic limit, gauge symmetry

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