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Concept# Higher-dimensional gamma matrices

Summary

In mathematical physics, higher-dimensional gamma matrices generalize to arbitrary dimension the four-dimensional Gamma matrices of Dirac, which are a mainstay of relativistic quantum mechanics. They are utilized in relativistically invariant wave equations for fermions (such as spinors) in arbitrary space-time dimensions, notably in string theory and supergravity. The Weyl–Brauer matrices provide an explicit construction of higher-dimensional gamma matrices for Weyl spinors. Gamma matrices also appear in generic settings in Riemannian geometry, particularly when a spin structure can be defined.
Consider a space-time of dimension d with the flat Minkowski metric,
with positive entries, negative entries, and a, b = 0, 1, ..., d − 1. Set N = 2⌊1/2d⌋. The standard Dirac matrices correspond to taking d = N = 4 and p, q = 1, 3 or 3, 1.
In higher (and lower) dimensions, one may define a group, the gamma group, behaving in the same fashion as the Dirac matrices. More precisely, if one selects a basis for the (complexified) Clifford algebra , then the gamma group generated by is isomorphic to the multiplicative subgroup generated by the basis elements (ignoring the additive aspect of the Clifford algebra).
By convention, the gamma group is realized as a collection of matrices, the gamma matrices, although the group definition does not require this. In particular, many important properties, including the C, P and T symmetries do not require a specific matrix representation, and one obtains a clearer definition of chirality in this way. Several matrix representations are possible, some given below, and others in the article on the Weyl–Brauer matrices. In the matrix representation, the spinors are -dimensional, with the gamma matrices acting on the spinors. A detailed construction of spinors is given in the article on Clifford algebra. Jost provides a standard reference for spinors in the general setting of Riemmannian geometry.
Most of the properties of the gamma matrices can be captured by a group, the gamma group.

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Dirac algebra

In mathematical physics, the Dirac algebra is the Clifford algebra . This was introduced by the mathematical physicist P. A. M. Dirac in 1928 in developing the Dirac equation for spin-1⁄2 particles with a matrix representation of the gamma matrices, which represent the generators of the algebra. The gamma matrices are a set of four matrices with entries in , that is, elements of , satisfying where by convention, an identity matrix has been suppressed on the right-hand side. The numbers are the components of the Minkowski metric.

Weyl equation

In physics, particularly in quantum field theory, the Weyl equation is a relativistic wave equation for describing massless spin-1/2 particles called Weyl fermions. The equation is named after Hermann Weyl. The Weyl fermions are one of the three possible types of elementary fermions, the other two being the Dirac and the Majorana fermions. None of the elementary particles in the Standard Model are Weyl fermions. Previous to the confirmation of the neutrino oscillations, it was considered possible that the neutrino might be a Weyl fermion (it is now expected to be either a Dirac or a Majorana fermion).

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In mathematical physics, the gamma matrices, also called the Dirac matrices, are a set of conventional matrices with specific anticommutation relations that ensure they generate a matrix representation of the Clifford algebra It is also possible to define higher-dimensional gamma matrices. When interpreted as the matrices of the action of a set of orthogonal basis vectors for contravariant vectors in Minkowski space, the column vectors on which the matrices act become a space of spinors, on which the Clifford algebra of spacetime acts.

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