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Concept# Majorana equation

Summary

In physics, the Majorana equation is a relativistic wave equation. It is named after the Italian physicist Ettore Majorana, who proposed it in 1937 as a means of describing fermions that are their own antiparticle. Particles corresponding to this equation are termed Majorana particles, although that term now has a more expansive meaning, referring to any (possibly non-relativistic) fermionic particle that is its own anti-particle (and is therefore electrically neutral).
There have been proposals that massive neutrinos are described by Majorana particles; there are various extensions to the Standard Model that enable this. The article on Majorana particles presents status for the experimental searches, including details about neutrinos. This article focuses primarily on the mathematical development of the theory, with attention to its discrete and continuous symmetries. The discrete symmetries are charge conjugation, parity transformation and time reversal; the continuous symmetry is Lorentz invariance.
Charge conjugation plays an outsize role, as it is the key symmetry that allows the Majorana particles to be described as electrically neutral. A particularly remarkable aspect is that electrical neutrality allows several global phases to be freely chosen, one each for the left and right chiral fields. This implies that, without explicit constraints on these phases, the Majorana fields are naturally CP violating. Another aspect of electric neutrality is that the left and right chiral fields can be given distinct masses. That is, electric charge is a Lorentz invariant, and also a constant of motion; whereas chirality is a Lorentz invariant, but is not a constant of motion for massive fields. Electrically neutral fields are thus less constrained than charged fields. Under charge conjugation, the two free global phases appear in the mass terms (as they are Lorentz invariant), and so the Majorana mass is described by a complex matrix, rather than a single number.

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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).

Seesaw mechanism

In the theory of grand unification of particle physics, and, in particular, in theories of neutrino masses and neutrino oscillation, the seesaw mechanism is a generic model used to understand the relative sizes of observed neutrino masses, of the order of eV, compared to those of quarks and charged leptons, which are millions of times heavier. The name of the seesaw mechanism was given by Tsutomu Yanagida in a Tokyo conference in 1981. There are several types of models, each extending the Standard Model.

Dirac spinor

In quantum field theory, the Dirac spinor is the spinor that describes all known fundamental particles that are fermions, with the possible exception of neutrinos. It appears in the plane-wave solution to the Dirac equation, and is a certain combination of two Weyl spinors, specifically, a bispinor that transforms "spinorially" under the action of the Lorentz group. Dirac spinors are important and interesting in numerous ways. Foremost, they are important as they do describe all of the known fundamental particle fermions in nature; this includes the electron and the quarks.

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