Department of Physics & Astronomy
University of New Mexico

Nuclear, Particle, Astroparticle and Cosmology (NUPAC) Seminars

The Non-Hermitian Dirac Equation and its Solutions

Presented by Dr. Kate Brown (Physics Department, Hamilton College)

One of the fundamental assumptions of quantum mechanics is that observable quantities are represented by the eigenvalues of Hermitian matrix operators. The Dirac equation, which describes relativistic fermions, was originally constructed using a Hermitian matrix Hamiltonian, in keeping with this assumption. In recent decades it has been shown that Hermitian matrix operators are sufficient but not necessary to ensure a valid quantum mechanical theory; the parity (P) and time-reversal (T) operators can be used to ensure real eigenvalues, unitary time evolution, etc.  In this (chalk) talk we examine the consequence of allowing the matrices in the Dirac Hamiltonian to be non-Hermitian, but subject to the requirements of PT-quantum mechanics.  We find that the basic Dirac fermion is common to both the Hermitian and non-Hermitian Dirac equations, and that the non-Hermitian version hosts more complicated solutions which can be interpreted as particles with interesting properties that are not allowed within the Hermitian Standard Model. 

2:00 pm, Tuesday, October 17, 2017
Room 190, Physics & Astronomy
Northeast corner of Lomas and Yale, Albuquerque, New Mexico

Disability NoticeIndividuals with disabilities who need an auxiliary aid or service to attend or participate in P&A events should contact Sandra Ortiz (phone: 505-277-5900, email: sportiz@unm.edu) well in advance to ensure your needs are accomodated. Event handouts can be provided in alternative accessible formats upon request. Please contact Mrs. Ortiz if you need written information in an alternative format.

A schedule of talks within the Department of Physics and Astronomy is available on the P&A web site at http://physics.unm.edu/pandaweb/events/index.php