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Physica

VII,

no

5

Mei

1940

ON THE

CURRENT

AND

THE

DENSITY

 

OF THE

ELECTRIC

CHARGE,

THE

ENERGY,

 

THE

LINEAR

MOMENTUM

AND

THE

ANGULAR

MOMENTUM

OF ARBITRARY

FIELDS

 
 

by I?. J. BELINFANTE

 

Instituut

voor

Theoretische

Natuurkunde

 

der

Rijlis-~~ni~ersiteit,

Lciden

Zusammenfassung

 

Nach

einer

kurzen

Einleitung

(3

1) wird

in § 2 untersucht,

welchen

Be-

dingungen

die

Lagrangesche

Funktion

fi

eines

Systems

von

Feldern

ge-

niigen

muss,

damit

Dichte

und

Strom

der

elektrischen

Ladung

oder

ahnli-

cher

Grossen

(wie

z.B.

die

Dichte

schwerer

Teilchen)

einer

Kontinuitats-

 

gleichung

Geniige

leisten.

In diesem

Zusammenhang

 

wird

das Postulat

der

Eichinvarianz

von

L!

in einer

etwas

abweichenden

 

Weise

formuliert.

In

5 3

werden

dann

die

Ausdriicke

 

fur

die

Energiedichte,

 

den

totalen

Drehimpuls,

das

Bahnimpulsmoment,

das

Spinimpulsmoment

und

die

Dichten

dieser

Grossen

aus

den

Prinzipien

der

allgemeinen

Relativitats-

theorie

hergeleitet.

Es ergeben

sich dann

Ausdriicke,

 

welche

schon

in einer

friiheren

Abhandlung

vom

Verfasser

angedeutet

wurden,

 

und

durch

wel-

the

diese

Grossen

sich

aus dem

Wirkungsintegranden

 

L

berechnen

lassen

ohne

irgend

welchen

Bezug

auf

allgemeine

Relativitat.

 

Der

Wirkungsintegrand

 

L

ist

aber

nur

bis

auf

einer

Divergenz

be-

stimmt,

wenn

sein

Integral

,?i vorgegeben

ist.

Es wird

in

9 4 diskutiert,

inwieweit

dieser

Umstand

die

Ausdriicke

 

fiir

die

genannten

Grossen

be-

einflusst.

Insbesondere

wird

such

untersucht,

ob

die

Ausdriicke

fiir

elek-

trische

Ladungsdichte

 

und

Energiedichte

 

und

die

Zerlegung

des

Total-

drehimpulses

in Bahnmoment

 

und

Spinmoment

eindeutig

 

bestimmt

sind,

wenn

die

Wirkungsfunktion

fi

nur

bis

auf

diejenigen

Terme

vorgegeben

ist,

welche

die

Wechselwirkung

der

,,materiellen”

 

Felder

mit

dem

Mas-

wellschen

Feld

und

dem

Gravitationsfeld

 

bestimmen.

Es zeigt

sich,

dass

dieses

nur

der

Fall

ist

fiir

Lagrangesche

 

Funktionen

,,erster

Ovdnung”,

d.h.

solche,

aus

denen

sich

Feldgleichungen

erstev

Ordnung

herleiten

lassen.

Im

iibrigen

ergibt

sich:

1. Solange

Gravitationseffekte

 

vernachlassigt

wer-

den,

geben

Gesamtenergie

und

Gesamtdrehimpuls

 

nie

Anlass

zu Mehrdeu-

tigkeiten.

2. Die

Dichten

dieser

Grossen

sind

im

Falle

einer

Lagrangeschen

 

Funktion

,,zweiter

Odnung,

 

selbst

in

unrelativistischer

Naherung,

nur

dann

eindeutig

bestimmt,

wenn

die

Wirkungsfunktion

 

h

in

allgemein-

 

- 449

-

450

F.

J.

BELINFANTE

 

relativistischer

Form

genau

vorgegeben

ist.

(Fur

Lagrangesche

Funktio-

nen erster

Ordnung

ist solches

nicht

erforderlich).

3. Aber

such

dann

noch

bleibt

die

Zerlegung

des Gesamtdrehimpulses

 

in

Bahnmoment

und

Spin-

moment

unbestimmt

im

Falle

Lagrangescher

Funktionen

zweiter

Ord-

nung.

(Hingegen

braucht

eine Lagrangesche

Funktion

erster

Ordnung

nur

unter

Vernachlassigung

 

von

Gravitationstermen

 

gegeben

zu

sein,

urn

diese

Zerlegung

vollig

zu bedingen).

4. Die

Spin-

und

Bahnmomentdichten

sind

nie

eindeutig

festgelegt.

 

5 1. Ilztrod~ction.

In

the

present

paper

we shall

deal

with

some

problems

of the general

theory

of fields,

and in particular

we shall

discuss

the

definitions

of

the

current

and

density

of

the

charge,

energy

and

momentum

of an arbitrary

field,

the

definition

of

its

total,

orbital

and spin angular

momenta

and the

continuity

equa-

tions

and conservation

laws existing

for these quantities.

In

the last

section

we shall examine

how far the definitions

given

in the

present

paper

furnish

uniqzce expressions

for

the

mentioned

quantities,

 

if

the

total Lagrangian

fi

of the

field

is given

either

completely

or

at

least with

neglect

of terms

describing

gravitational

or even electro-

magnetic

effects.

In

this

connection

we shall

see that

it

has some

advantage

to derive

the

first order

and

not

the

second

order

field

equations

from

a Lagrangian.

 

In

general

we shall

confine

our

considerations

to

the

c-number

theory,

from

which,

by

quantization

of

the

fields,

the

q-number

theory

may

be derived

in

the

usual

way.

We shall, however,

intro-

duce at once all field quantities,

quantization

once the so-called

which

variable

are needed in order to make this

to introduce

the Maxwellian

at

field

possible.

Therefore,

m i

it will be inevitable

G, when

F e r

is discussed

(compare

for instance

F e r

m i

l),

B e 1i n f a n t e 2)).

- Throughout

the

whole

paper

we shall

omit

all surface

integrals

over the (infinitely

distant)

boundary

of the world.

Then,

all integra-

tions

by parts

will

take

a simple

form,

and all integrals

over some

spatial

or time co-ordinates

of the

derivative

of any

quantity

with

respect

to one of these co-ordinates

will

vanish.

It

is not

unusual

to start

the

development

of

a field

theory

by

writing

down

some second

order

differential

equations,

which

are

assumed

to describe

the field.

The quantities

occurring

of the

in these field

equations

are then

regarded

as the components

field.

If

replace

a sufficient

number

such second order

of

new

differential

quantities

equations

is introduced,

we can

by an equivalent

set

a sufficient number such second order of new differential quantities equations is introduced, we can by

ON

THE

CURRENT

AND

THE

DENSITY.

OF

THE

ELECTRIC

CHARGE

61

of first order differential

as the field

equations,

which

the field.

second

can likewise

order

be consideren

equations

order

describing

The

usually

first

as well

as the

field

equations

are

principle

*)

 

(1)

as

an

integral

over

cLr = / Ld-g

dx).

components

(2)

gPY.

the Lagran-

derived

from

a Hamiltonian

SLl =

L

variational

0

where the total Lagrangian space and time

CLI = fJJJLd--g

can be written

dx” dx’ dx” da? (abbreviated:

determinant

Here,

the following,

function

g is the

L

of

the

gravitational

LJ is real respect

In

gian

we shall assume that

is a scalar

field

with

and that

to all transformations

admitted

in relativity

theory

and that

it

is a function

components

first

covariant

derivatives

“)

qn(x), of their field g““(x)

the gravitational

only,

so that

 

t)

 

L

=

L(qm v”qn, g?.

 

Fur?her,

we assume

that

L

does not

depend

exfilicitly

ordinates

xp.

If

gravitational

effects-

can be neglected,

these co-ordinates

according

to

of

the

field

V’,q, and

of

(3)

on

the

co-

we choose

and the metrical

x0 =

ct ,

tensor

x1 =

x 2

x2 =

to

g,, according

y,

x3 =

2,

(4

so

that

go0 =

1,

(2) takes the usual

-

gll

=

gz2 =

form

g3, =

i3 =f-JfLdxdydzdt

in this approximation.

11,

gpv =

0,

if

CL#

v,

(5)

(24

 

In general,

the field

equations

following

from

(l)-(3)

by a varia-

*)

The

gravitational

 

as

well

as

the

field

equations

follow

from

a variational

principle

SW=

0, where,

now,

not

only

the

ordinary

field

 

quantities

q(x),but also the gravitational

field

&(x)

is

varied.

Here

cM/‘=

j‘Wd/-g

Ctx,

with

IV

=

L(q,,

V,q,, &)

-!-

+

(1/2x)

C(&,

a$ti,

a&gcrh)

; x

is the

gravitational

constant,

differentiation

with

respect

to

xk’ and

Vvqndenotes

the

covariant

derivative

ap denotes of qn Compare

for

instance

W.

Pauli,

,, Relativitatstheorie”

 

“),

Nr.

57,

p.

725.

 

t)

Here,

n stands

for

a set

of

tensor,

spinor

6) or

under

6) indices

and

some

index

label-

ing

different

field

quantities

of

the

same

transformation

properties;

x

is

an

abbreviation

for

{xc,

xr,

x2,

x3).

of the same transformation properties; x is an abbreviation for {xc, xr, x2, x3).

452

F.

J.

BELINFANTE

 

tion

Sq, of

the

field

components

take

the form

*)

If

L

is only

linenr

aL

--

37n

in the V,q,,

vvaB,q,= aL

we shall

0

*

call

.i2 a first

order

(6)

Lagran-

gian. Then,

the field equations

(6) are always first

order equations.

As soon as L is quadratical

in the gradient

operators V,, we shall call

h a second order Lagrangian.

ing from such a Lagrangian

however, be first order equations,

In general,

will

the field

equations

follow-

will,

be second order equations.

if L satisfies

They

the condition

Sometimes

it suffices

z

m

ax

av,q, av,q, V&q,

for this purpose

that

=

0.

ax

ax

av,q, avdh + avdb av,q, = 0;

(8)

for instance,

if

(a2L/aV,q,

aVvqD) is different

from

zero only

for

a

scalar qm and a tensor

of

the

second

rank

q,, and,

then,

does

not

depend

on the condition

on any q. The field equations

are even always of the first

order

(8) alone, if we neglect gravitational

effects, so that

v,=a,(=ajaq

and

2/-g=

1.

5 2. The definition

of the electric charge current-density

servation of charge. The Maxwellian

field

in

empty

(9)

and the con-

be

space

can

described either by the second order Lagrangian

 

function

l)

 

L

~orw =

-

( l/874

(V“W

 

(V,W

 

(10)

or

by

the first

order

Lagrangian

 

function

 

‘)

 

L Maxw

=

(l/479

(k$?%$w

---gYv,~“-

 

GV,W

+

i

G,“),

 

(11)

*)

As

usual,

summation

 

signs

over

tensor-undorial

indices

 

are

omitted.

For

the

deriva-

tion

of

(6),

we

make

USC of

the

four-vector

 

character

of

j”

=

2

(&L/av,q,)

Sqn.From

 

this

property

of

iy,

which

is proved

in

the

appendix,

 

it follows

tha?

 
 

-

 

SO

that./&

 

+

g Vvjy

=

0.

Further,

we

have

assumed

that

L

does

not

depend

on

the

second

covariant

derivatives

VxVP

q of

the

field

components.

 

If

we would

 

admit

that

second

order

Lagrangian

function

may

depend

(linearly)

on

second

order

derivatives

V,+V,q, the

formulae

given

in

the

following

would

 

partly

have

to

be replaced

 

by

more

complicated

ones.

For

instance,

the

definition

 

of

the

canonical

conjugates

of

the

field

components

and

the

Hamiltonian

 

function

must

then

be changed

and

the

canonical

 

equations

 

would

take

an unusual

form.

must then be changed and the canonical   equations   would take an unusual form.
ON THE CURRENT AND THE DENSITY OF THE ELECTRIC CHARGE 453   8/L”= -  

ON

THE

CURRENT

AND

THE

DENSITY

OF

THE

ELECTRIC

CHARGE

453

 

8/L”= -

 

bp

(14

represents

the

electromagnetic

field

(Qi,, =

&,

@a =

Qn,

etc.),

while

a,

represents

the

 

electromagnetic

potential

four-vector

(a0

=

-

%, ‘81 =

‘?&, etc.).

Varying

QPv and

G in

(1 l),

we find

 

&

=

V[P‘&] (=

VP&

-

V,‘$J

and

G =

V,W.

(13)

If

we make

use of

(IO), we must

regard

the equations

(13) as defini-

tions

of QPv and G.

 
 

The total

Lagrangian

function

now reads

 
 

L

=

bmll

+

Lar

8

(14

where

L,,,

describes

the

,,material”

wave

fields

and

their

inter-

actions

with

the Maxwellian

 

field

the gravitational

field).

Inserting

(14) with

(10)

or with

(and with (1 1) into

(6) and

putting

q q G

=

Vp(V,q),

we find

for

4” ES 9”:

 

-- Gild

 

-

aLnial

=-&

 

q !W or

=‘-

-&

(V&P”

+

V’G).

(15)

 

3%

"ao,g

   

The equality

 

of the

latter

 

two

members

follows

from

(9) and

(13).

 

According

to

Fe

r m

i

1)

only

those

physical

situations

can

actually

occur, for which

the observable

G has the value zero. There-

fore, the left hand member

czwrent-density occurring in the Maxwellian epations :

of (15) can be regarded

as the electric charge

epations : of (15) can be regarded as the electric charge w h e r e

where

density

I&

=

and

p and

current

I&

=

ix/c, etc.,

The

density.

represents

reality

of

the

the

electric

four-vector

charge

(16)

follows

without

the

help

of

(15),

if

we

assume

that

Jlalal is

real

(just

as ~Qhh$

 

Now,

some

of

the

field

components

qn may

describe

charged

particles or quanta. Let e,, be the elementary charge of the particles

at least partly

wave fields with the Maxwellian

of these charged

described

by Q,,.Then,

field

the interaction

will

be described

by

the fact

that in the Lagrangian

function

(in L,“,J

the gradient

four-vector

0,

and the electromagnetic

potential

four-vector

‘2.I”occur

only

in

the

454

F.

J.

BELINFANTE

combinations

*)

 

Dt”‘q*= {V,,+ (&pc)al,}q*.

 

(17)

From

the

fact

that

Lmal is a function

of

the

gd,

the

qn and

the

Df’)q,

only,

we

now

conclude

that

the

electric

charge

current-

density

(16) can be written

in the form

of

t)

(18)

 

If

we put

 

-- i

aL

aL

 

(‘9)

c

avoqn= ag =

P n* .

 

the

charge

density

can be written

 

as

 

P =

f

(e,/iA) PL1qn.

 

(184

 

In

the

original

Maxwellian

theory

j$.) (16) satisfies

a continuity

equation

 
 

vv $e) =

 

0

(20)

on account

of the

Maxwellian

equations

(15) with

G

=

0 (compare

also (12)). In

the theory

of

F e r

m

i

l)

this conclusion

can

no longer

be drawn

from

(15) **).

On the

other

hand,

we obtain

from’(

18) by

means of the field

equations

(6) :

aL

V”lG,= & t ( K

aL enqn+ - av,q, enVvq*)*

Therefore,

the continuity

equation

ar,

ta0,e”Q,(-CdL)

where

Qn is an abbreviated

notation

(20)

is still

valid,

if

 

=O,

for

the

q,, and

the

V,q,

(22)

to-

 

*)

In

current

 

quantum

 

theory

it

is

always

assumed

 

that

the

conjugate

 

comp!ex

of

q,,

must

be regarded

 

as

a field

 

quantity

(q,*

G

q(“*))

describing

particles

 

with

the

opposite

charge

“)

7) : ecn*)

=

-

e,

=

-

P$. Then,

from

(17)

it follows

that

(D$“)q,)*

=

D!,“*)q(,,*).

 

This,

however,

 

is

not

essential

for

the

following

 

considerations.

 
 

t)

Here,

it

is essential

 

that

Ltnal

does

not

contain

 

terms

of

the

form

of

a$GD[;2’D$)qn,

 

just

as well,

if

VLpVvIqn

=

0.

lf

such

terms

would

occur,

with

a?:)

depending

 

on

the

q

only,

they

should,

therefore,

be replaced

by

terms

-

(D[$*eg)“n”,’

(D$)q,).

 
 

**)

If

the

continuity

 

equation

 

(20)

is

valid

all

the

same,

we

can

derive

from

it,

by

(16),

(I

5),

(12),

a second

order

 

differential

equation

0

6.

=

0

for

the

,,F

e r

m i

variable”

 

Q.

ON

THE

CURRENT

AND

THE

DENSITY

OF

THE

ELECTRIC

CHARGE

455

gether

*).

The left

hand member

of (22),

which

if

“L

is given,

we

have

called

Cd

L.

It

suffices

that

is determined, (22) be valid

as a

consequence

of the field equations

(6).

It

is easily

seen that

the condition

(22) (to be imposed

upon

the

Lagrangian

satisfy

of

substitution

function,

a continuity

invariance

gauge

the

equation),

if

of

the

Q&4 --f

electric

is entirely

Lagrangian

charge

current

equivalent

function

Q&J exp (k

X(X)).

density

is

to

to the postulate

L(Qn)

under

-

a

(23)

The

formulation

(22), however,

shows more

explicity,

what

pro-

perty

of

the

Lagrangian

function

following

from

the

postulate

of

gauge invariance

is essential for the derivation

of (20).

Usually

one does not

only require

gauge invariance

of

the

field

of the Lagran-

but

gian

identical

which

function

as a consequence

equations,

even

gauge invariance

of every term of the Lagrangian

t)

in

the

Q:

function,

is always

a polynomial

 

L

=

X ai

ll

Qni.

(24

 

i

nj

By identical

gauge

invariance

we understand

invariance

under

the

substitution

(23) irrespective

of the field equations

(6).

 

This,

again,

is equivalent

to requiring

that

(22) shall

be true

for

each single term

of the Lagrangian

function

:

 

0 =

Cd

ll

Qni =

(E e,i)

.

Il

Qni

for every

i.

(25)

 

"i

"i

"i

If this shall hold irrespective

of the field equations,

we must

have

 

IX eni =

0

for every

term

of L.

(26)

“i

In

general,

we shall

call

C eni the

charge dimension

of

the

term

 

“i

aj II

Qnj.

The

identical

vanishing

(26)

of

the

charge

dimension

of

"i

every

term

of the Lagrangian

function,

then,

is a sufficient,

necessary, condition

for the validity

of the continuity

equation

but not

(20).

The condition

 

(26),

therefore,

means

an extra restriction on the types

*)

It

is essential

in

(22)

that

e,

has

the

same

value

for

q,, and

for

its

covariant

derivative

VA.

t)

In

(24),

the

indices

ni

belonging

to

a given

value

of

j

are

not

necessarily

different,

so

that

in

one term

of

the

Lagrangian

 

function

the

same

factor

Q may

occur

several

times.

456 of Lagrangian functions F. J. BELINFANTE which are usually admitted *). discussions of 5

456

of

Lagrangian

functions

F.

J.

BELINFANTE

which

are

usually

admitted

*).

discussions

of

5 4 we shall

once make

use of this limitation.

From

the continuity

equation

(20)‘or

follows

the

corresponding

 

law

of conservation

for the

total

charge

t)

 

e =

fff

2/--

g . I&, dnJ dx’

dx3,

x0=corut.

namely

(compare

page 450)

 

In

the

electric

(27)

g

=

fff

a,(&

4-g)

dx’dx”

dx3 =

.

 

=

-viJffav(j&

d-7)

dx’

dx2 dx3 =

0.

(28)

After

quantization

of

the

fields,

this

equation

will

mean

that

no

elementary

processes will occur, in which

the created

and annihilated

 

electric

charges will not compensate

each other.

 

If we assume

that

L satisfies

the

condition

 

(26),

it

is also easily

proved

that

by

quantization

a product

IIQ

of

the

q,, and

V,q,

is

turned

into

an operator,

which, operating

on an eigenfunction

of

the operator

e (27~)

belonging

to

an eigenvalue

Z, yields

again

an

eigenfunction

of

e,

but

now

belonging

to

the

eigenvalue

Z -

A,

where

A

is the

charge

dimension

of

IIQ.

In

other

words,

 

if

(26)

is

satisfied

**),

all q-numbers

will

be operators

,,diminishing

the

total

electric

charge”

by their

charge

dimension.

 

Finally

we remark

that,

if the Lagrangian

 

function

 

(24)

is of such

kind

that

to

the

field

quantities

q,, some other constants

g,

can

be

conjugated,

such that

also

 

z

“i

g”i

=

0

 

(2w

is valid

 

for every

term

(i) of the Lagrangian

function,

then

also the

four-vector

&,

defined

by

 
 

iftc

. IL)

=

2 wiw7,)

 

gdh

(1W

*)

This

restriction

has

proved

to

be

possible

in

all

applications

hitherto

made

of

the

theory.

t)

In

the

approximation

 

(9),

we find

from

(l&z)

:

 

e

= C e,fff(pnqnlih)

(ix dy dz.

 

(274

 

n

**)

In

this

case,

the

charge

dimension

 

of

pa

(19)

is (,

en).

ON

THE

CURRENT

AND

THE

DENSITY

OF

THE

ELECTRIC

CHARGE

457

will

satisfy

a continuity

equation

 
 

vv IT&q=

0.

cw

A

corresponding

conservation

law

is easily

deduced,

analogous

to

(27)-(28).

This general

derivation

of

theorem

the

law

is of much

convenience,

for instance

of ,,conservation

of nuclons

*)”

in

the

for the

meson

theory

‘).

0 3.

The energy demity

tensor and the spin

angular

momentum.

If

one assumes that

the total

energy

of the fields

described

by

the La-

grangian

mation

11 is given by

(9)

i)

by the

Hamiltonian

Jr

defined

in

the

approxi-

Jr

=

fff

H

dx dy dz,

H=

cp,,Cj”-L,

,,

 

one is inclined

to

ask,

whether

the

venl part

of

the

(29)

Hamiltonian

function

H can be regarded

as the energy

demity

of the system

con-

sidered. Actually,

%{H}

is the too component

of a tensor

**)

which,

in the approximation

 

(9), satisfies

a continuity

equation

on

account

of

the

field

equations

(6):

 

v,v’”

=

0,

(V,P

=

0).

(31)

We shall call Y’ the cafzonical energy density

tensor of our system.

If,

neglecting gravitational

effects 1t), we regard

the integrals

over space

<J--p= fff

t’“Odx dy dz

 

(34

as

the total

energy-momentum

four-vector

of the field,

the conserva-

*)

BY

,,llrlclo,l”

wc

tlrnotc

the

particle,

which

is

n

proton

in

its

chwgrd

state

and

:I

real;

H,

howcvcr,

will

Iw

complrs,

in

in

the

apprndis.

 

\\‘c

draw

attention

to

the

present

section,

the

quantities

t,

7‘.