Gauge Invariance for Classical Massless Particles with Spin

Foundations of Physics 51 (1):1-14 (2021)
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Wigner's quantum-mechanical classification of particle-types in terms of irreducible representations of the Poincaré group has a classical analogue, which we extend in this paper. We study the compactness properties of the resulting phase spaces at fixed energy, and show that in order for a classical massless particle to be physically sensible, its phase space must feature a classical-particle counterpart of electromagnetic gauge invariance. By examining the connection between massless and massive particles in the massless limit, we also derive a classical-particle version of the Higgs mechanism.

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Jacob Barandes
Harvard University


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