Massless relativistic wave equations and quantum field theory

Fernando Lledó
March 12, 2003
We give a simple and direct construction of a massless quantum field with arbitrary discrete helicity that satisfies Wightman axioms and the corresponding relativistic wave equation in the distributional sense. We underline the mathematical differences to massive models. The construction is based on the notion of massless free net (cf. Section 3) and the detailed analysis of covariant and massless canonical (Wigner) representations of the Poincare' group. A characteristic feature of massless models with nontrivial helicity is the fact that the fibre degrees of freedom of the covariant and canonical representations do not coincide. We use massless relativistic wave equations as constraint equations reducing the fibre degrees of freedom of the covariant representation. They are characterized by invariant (and in contrast with the massive case non reducing) one-dimensional projections. The definition of one-particle Hilbert space structure that specifies the quantum field uses distinguished elements of the intertwiner space between E(2) (the two-fold cover of the 2-dimensional Euclidean group) and its conjugate. We conclude with a brief comparison between the free nets constructed in Section 3 and a recent alternative construction that uses the notion of modular localization.

Wightman theory, massless models, modular localization