wedge product

Some experiments in youtube mathematics videos

January 3, 2021 math and physics play No comments , , , , , , ,

A couple years ago I was curious how easy it would be to use a graphics tablet as a virtual chalkboard, and produced a handful of very rough YouTube videos to get a feel for the basics of streaming and video editing (much of which I’ve now forgotten how to do). These were the videos in chronological order:

  • Introduction to Geometric (Clifford) Algebra.Introduction to Geometric (Clifford) algebra. Interpretation of products of unit vectors, rules for reducing products of unit vectors, and the axioms that justify those rules.
  • Geometric Algebra: dot, wedge, cross and vector products.Geometric (Clifford) Algebra introduction, showing the relation between the vector product dot and wedge products, and the cross product.
  • Solution of two line intersection using geometric algebra.
  • Linear system solution using the wedge product.. This video provides a standalone introduction to the wedge product, the geometry of the wedge product and some properties, and linear system solution as a sample application. In this video the wedge product is introduced independently of any geometric (Clifford) algebra, as an antisymmetric and associative operator. You’ll see that we get Cramer’s rule for free from this solution technique.
  • Exponential form of vector products in geometric algebra.In this video, I discussed the exponential form of the product of two vectors.

    I showed an example of how two unit vectors, each rotations of zcap orthonormal \(\mathbb{R}^3\) planes, produce a “complex” exponential in the plane that spans these two vectors.

  • Velocity and acceleration in cylindrical coordinates using geometric algebra.I derived the cylindrical coordinate representations of the velocity and acceleration vectors, showing the radial and azimuthal components of each vector.

    I also showed how these are related to the dot and wedge product with the radial unit vector.

  • Duality transformations in geometric algebra.Duality transformations (pseudoscalar multiplication) will be demonstrated in \(\mathbb{R}^2\) and \(\mathbb{R}^3\).

    A polar parameterized vector in \(\mathbb{R}^2\), written in complex exponential form, is multiplied by a unit pseudoscalar for the x-y plane. We see that the result is a vector normal to that vector, with the direction of the normal dependent on the order of multiplication, and the orientation of the pseudoscalar used.

    In \(\mathbb{R}^3\) we see that a vector multiplied by a pseudoscalar yields the bivector that represents the plane that is normal to that vector. The sign of that bivector (or its cyclic orientation) depends on the orientation of the pseudoscalar. The order of multiplication was not mentioned in this case since the \(\mathbb{R}^3\) pseudoscalar commutes with any grade object (assumed, not proved). An example of a vector with two components in a plane, multiplied by a pseudoscalar was also given, which allowed for a visualization of the bivector that is normal to the original vector.

  • Math bait and switch: Fractional integer exponents.When I was a kid, my dad asked me to explain fractional exponents, and perhaps any non-positive integer exponents, to him. He objected to the idea of multiplying something by itself \(1/2\) times.

    I failed to answer the question to his satisfaction. My own son is now reviewing the rules of exponentiation, and it occurred to me (30 years later) why my explanation to Dad failed.

    Essentially, there’s a small bait and switch required, and my dad didn’t fall for it.

    The meaning that my dad gave to exponentiation was that \( x^n\) equals \(x\) times itself \(n\) times.

    Using this rule, it is easy to demonstrate that \(x^a x^b = x^{a + b}\), and this can be used to justify expressions like \(x^{1/2}\). However, doing this really means that we’ve switched the definition of exponential, defining an exponential as any number that satisfies the relationship:

    \(x^a x^b = x^{a+b}\),

    where \(x^1 = x\). This slight of hand is required to give meaning to \(x^{1/2}\) or other exponentials where the exponential argument is any non-positive integer.

Of these videos I just relistened to the wedge product episode, as I had a new lone comment on it, and I couldn’t even remember what I had said. It wasn’t completely horrible, despite the low tech. I was, however, very surprised how soft and gentle my voice was. When I am talking math in person, I get very animated, but attempting to manage the tech was distracting and all the excitement that I’d normally have was obliterated.

I’d love to attempt a manim based presentation of some of this material, but suspect if I do something completely scripted like that, I may not be a very good narrator.

Fundamental theorem of geometric calculus for line integrals (relativistic.)

December 16, 2020 math and physics play 1 comment , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

[This post is best viewed in PDF form, due to latex elements that I could not format with wordpress mathjax.]

Background for this particular post can be found in

  1. Curvilinear coordinates and gradient in spacetime, and reciprocal frames, and
  2. Lorentz transformations in Space Time Algebra (STA)
  3. A couple more reciprocal frame examples.

Motivation.

I’ve been slowly working my way towards a statement of the fundamental theorem of integral calculus, where the functions being integrated are elements of the Dirac algebra (space time multivectors in the geometric algebra parlance.)

This is interesting because we want to be able to do line, surface, 3-volume and 4-volume space time integrals. We have many \(\mathbb{R}^3\) integral theorems
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:fundamentalTheoremOfGC:40a}
\int_A^B d\Bl \cdot \spacegrad f = f(B) – f(A),
\end{equation}
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:fundamentalTheoremOfGC:60a}
\int_S dA\, \ncap \cross \spacegrad f = \int_{\partial S} d\Bx\, f,
\end{equation}
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:fundamentalTheoremOfGC:80a}
\int_S dA\, \ncap \cdot \lr{ \spacegrad \cross \Bf} = \int_{\partial S} d\Bx \cdot \Bf,
\end{equation}
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:fundamentalTheoremOfGC:100a}
\int_S dx dy \lr{ \PD{y}{P} – \PD{x}{Q} }
=
\int_{\partial S} P dx + Q dy,
\end{equation}
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:fundamentalTheoremOfGC:120a}
\int_V dV\, \spacegrad f = \int_{\partial V} dA\, \ncap f,
\end{equation}
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:fundamentalTheoremOfGC:140a}
\int_V dV\, \spacegrad \cross \Bf = \int_{\partial V} dA\, \ncap \cross \Bf,
\end{equation}
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:fundamentalTheoremOfGC:160a}
\int_V dV\, \spacegrad \cdot \Bf = \int_{\partial V} dA\, \ncap \cdot \Bf,
\end{equation}
and want to know how to generalize these to four dimensions and also make sure that we are handling the relativistic mixed signature correctly. If our starting point was the mess of equations above, we’d be in trouble, since it is not obvious how these generalize. All the theorems with unit normals have to be handled completely differently in four dimensions since we don’t have a unique normal to any given spacetime plane.
What comes to our rescue is the Fundamental Theorem of Geometric Calculus (FTGC), which has the form
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:fundamentalTheoremOfGC:40}
\int F d^n \Bx\, \lrpartial G = \int F d^{n-1} \Bx\, G,
\end{equation}
where \(F,G\) are multivectors functions (i.e. sums of products of vectors.) We’ve seen ([2], [1]) that all the identities above are special cases of the fundamental theorem.

Do we need any special care to state the FTGC correctly for our relativistic case? It turns out that the answer is no! Tangent and reciprocal frame vectors do all the heavy lifting, and we can use the fundamental theorem as is, even in our mixed signature space. The only real change that we need to make is use spacetime gradient and vector derivative operators instead of their spatial equivalents. We will see how this works below. Note that instead of starting with \ref{eqn:fundamentalTheoremOfGC:40} directly, I will attempt to build up to that point in a progressive fashion that is hopefully does not require the reader to make too many unjustified mental leaps.

Multivector line integrals.

We want to define multivector line integrals to start with. Recall that in \(\mathbb{R}^3\) we would say that for scalar functions \( f\), the integral
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:fundamentalTheoremOfGC:180b}
\int d\Bx\, f = \int f d\Bx,
\end{equation}
is a line integral. Also, for vector functions \( \Bf \) we call
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:fundamentalTheoremOfGC:200}
\int d\Bx \cdot \Bf = \inv{2} \int d\Bx\, \Bf + \Bf d\Bx.
\end{equation}
a line integral. In order to generalize line integrals to multivector functions, we will allow our multivector functions to be placed on either or both sides of the differential.

Definition 1.1: Line integral.

Given a single variable parameterization \( x = x(u) \), we write \( d^1\Bx = \Bx_u du \), and call
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:fundamentalTheoremOfGC:220a}
\int F d^1\Bx\, G,
\end{equation}
a line integral, where \( F,G \) are arbitrary multivector functions.

We must be careful not to reorder any of the factors in the integrand, since the differential may not commute with either \( F \) or \( G \). Here is a simple example where the integrand has a product of a vector and differential.

Problem: Circular parameterization.

Given a circular parameterization \( x(\theta) = \gamma_1 e^{-i\theta} \), where \( i = \gamma_1 \gamma_2 \), the unit bivector for the \(x,y\) plane. Compute the line integral
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:fundamentalTheoremOfGC:100}
\int_0^{\pi/4} F(\theta)\, d^1 \Bx\, G(\theta),
\end{equation}
where \( F(\theta) = \Bx^\theta + \gamma_3 + \gamma_1 \gamma_0 \) is a multivector valued function, and \( G(\theta) = \gamma_0 \) is vector valued.

Answer

The tangent vector for the curve is
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:fundamentalTheoremOfGC:60}
\Bx_\theta
= -\gamma_1 \gamma_1 \gamma_2 e^{-i\theta}
= \gamma_2 e^{-i\theta},
\end{equation}
with reciprocal vector \( \Bx^\theta = e^{i \theta} \gamma^2 \). The differential element is \( d^1 \Bx = \gamma_2 e^{-i\theta} d\theta \), so the integrand is
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:fundamentalTheoremOfGC:80}
\begin{aligned}
\int_0^{\pi/4} \lr{ \Bx^\theta + \gamma_3 + \gamma_1 \gamma_0 } d^1 \Bx\, \gamma_0
&=
\int_0^{\pi/4} \lr{ e^{i\theta} \gamma^2 + \gamma_3 + \gamma_1 \gamma_0 } \gamma_2 e^{-i\theta} d\theta\, \gamma_0 \\
&=
\frac{\pi}{4} \gamma_0 + \lr{ \gamma_{32} + \gamma_{102} } \inv{-i} \lr{ e^{-i\pi/4} – 1 } \gamma_0 \\
&=
\frac{\pi}{4} \gamma_0 + \inv{\sqrt{2}} \lr{ \gamma_{32} + \gamma_{102} } \gamma_{120} \lr{ 1 – \gamma_{12} } \\
&=
\frac{\pi}{4} \gamma_0 + \inv{\sqrt{2}} \lr{ \gamma_{310} + 1 } \lr{ 1 – \gamma_{12} }.
\end{aligned}
\end{equation}
Observe how care is required not to reorder any terms. This particular end result is a multivector with scalar, vector, bivector, and trivector grades, but no pseudoscalar component. The grades in the end result depend on both the function in the integrand and on the path. For example, had we integrated all the way around the circle, the end result would have been the vector \( 2 \pi \gamma_0 \) (i.e. a \( \gamma_0 \) weighted unit circle circumference), as all the other grades would have been killed by the complex exponential integrated over a full period.

Problem: Line integral for boosted time direction vector.

Let \( x = e^{\vcap \alpha/2} \gamma_0 e^{-\vcap \alpha/2} \) represent the spacetime curve of all the boosts of \( \gamma_0 \) along a specific velocity direction vector, where \( \vcap = (v \wedge \gamma_0)/\Norm{v \wedge \gamma_0} \) is a unit spatial bivector for any constant vector \( v \). Compute the line integral
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:fundamentalTheoremOfGC:240}
\int x\, d^1 \Bx.
\end{equation}

Answer

Observe that \( \vcap \) and \( \gamma_0 \) anticommute, so we may write our boost as a one sided exponential
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:fundamentalTheoremOfGC:260}
x(\alpha) = \gamma_0 e^{-\vcap \alpha} = e^{\vcap \alpha} \gamma_0 = \lr{ \cosh\alpha + \vcap \sinh\alpha } \gamma_0.
\end{equation}
The tangent vector is just
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:fundamentalTheoremOfGC:280}
\Bx_\alpha = \PD{\alpha}{x} = e^{\vcap\alpha} \vcap \gamma_0.
\end{equation}
Let’s get a bit of intuition about the nature of this vector. It’s square is
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:fundamentalTheoremOfGC:300}
\begin{aligned}
\Bx_\alpha^2
&=
e^{\vcap\alpha} \vcap \gamma_0
e^{\vcap\alpha} \vcap \gamma_0 \\
&=
-e^{\vcap\alpha} \vcap e^{-\vcap\alpha} \vcap (\gamma_0)^2 \\
&=
-1,
\end{aligned}
\end{equation}
so we see that the tangent vector is a spacelike unit vector. As the vector representing points on the curve is necessarily timelike (due to Lorentz invariance), these two must be orthogonal at all points. Let’s confirm this algebraically
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:fundamentalTheoremOfGC:320}
\begin{aligned}
x \cdot \Bx_\alpha
&=
\gpgradezero{ e^{\vcap \alpha} \gamma_0 e^{\vcap \alpha} \vcap \gamma_0 } \\
&=
\gpgradezero{ e^{-\vcap \alpha} e^{\vcap \alpha} \vcap (\gamma_0)^2 } \\
&=
\gpgradezero{ \vcap } \\
&= 0.
\end{aligned}
\end{equation}
Here we used \( e^{\vcap \alpha} \gamma_0 = \gamma_0 e^{-\vcap \alpha} \), and \( \gpgradezero{A B} = \gpgradezero{B A} \). Geometrically, we have the curious fact that the direction vectors to points on the curve are perpendicular (with respect to our relativistic dot product) to the tangent vectors on the curve, as illustrated in fig. 1.

fig. 1. Tangent perpendicularity in mixed metric.

Perfect differentials.

Having seen a couple examples of multivector line integrals, let’s now move on to figure out the structure of a line integral that has a “perfect” differential integrand. We can take a hint from the \(\mathbb{R}^3\) vector result that we already know, namely
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:fundamentalTheoremOfGC:120}
\int_A^B d\Bl \cdot \spacegrad f = f(B) – f(A).
\end{equation}
It seems reasonable to guess that the relativistic generalization of this is
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:fundamentalTheoremOfGC:140}
\int_A^B dx \cdot \grad f = f(B) – f(A).
\end{equation}
Let’s check that, by expanding in coordinates
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:fundamentalTheoremOfGC:160}
\begin{aligned}
\int_A^B dx \cdot \grad f
&=
\int_A^B d\tau \frac{dx^\mu}{d\tau} \partial_\mu f \\
&=
\int_A^B d\tau \frac{dx^\mu}{d\tau} \PD{x^\mu}{f} \\
&=
\int_A^B d\tau \frac{df}{d\tau} \\
&=
f(B) – f(A).
\end{aligned}
\end{equation}
If we drop the dot product, will we have such a nice result? Let’s see:
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:fundamentalTheoremOfGC:180}
\begin{aligned}
\int_A^B dx \grad f
&=
\int_A^B d\tau \frac{dx^\mu}{d\tau} \gamma_\mu \gamma^\nu \partial_\nu f \\
&=
\int_A^B d\tau \frac{dx^\mu}{d\tau} \PD{x^\mu}{f}
+
\int_A^B
d\tau
\sum_{\mu \ne \nu} \gamma_\mu \gamma^\nu
\frac{dx^\mu}{d\tau} \PD{x^\nu}{f}.
\end{aligned}
\end{equation}
This scalar component of this integrand is a perfect differential, but the bivector part of the integrand is a complete mess, that we have no hope of generally integrating. It happens that if we consider one of the simplest parameterization examples, we can get a strong hint of how to generalize the differential operator to one that ends up providing a perfect differential. In particular, let’s integrate over a linear constant path, such as \( x(\tau) = \tau \gamma_0 \). For this path, we have
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:fundamentalTheoremOfGC:200a}
\begin{aligned}
\int_A^B dx \grad f
&=
\int_A^B \gamma_0 d\tau \lr{
\gamma^0 \partial_0 +
\gamma^1 \partial_1 +
\gamma^2 \partial_2 +
\gamma^3 \partial_3 } f \\
&=
\int_A^B d\tau \lr{
\PD{\tau}{f} +
\gamma_0 \gamma^1 \PD{x^1}{f} +
\gamma_0 \gamma^2 \PD{x^2}{f} +
\gamma_0 \gamma^3 \PD{x^3}{f}
}.
\end{aligned}
\end{equation}
Just because the path does not have any \( x^1, x^2, x^3 \) component dependencies does not mean that these last three partials are neccessarily zero. For example \( f = f(x(\tau)) = \lr{ x^0 }^2 \gamma_0 + x^1 \gamma_1 \) will have a non-zero contribution from the \( \partial_1 \) operator. In that particular case, we can easily integrate \( f \), but we have to know the specifics of the function to do the integral. However, if we had a differential operator that did not include any component off the integration path, we would ahve a perfect differential. That is, if we were to replace the gradient with the projection of the gradient onto the tangent space, we would have a perfect differential. We see that the function of the dot product in \ref{eqn:fundamentalTheoremOfGC:140} has the same effect, as it rejects any component of the gradient that does not lie on the tangent space.

Definition 1.2: Vector derivative.

Given a spacetime manifold parameterized by \( x = x(u^0, \cdots u^{N-1}) \), with tangent vectors \( \Bx_\mu = \PDi{u^\mu}{x} \), and reciprocal vectors \( \Bx^\mu \in \textrm{Span}\setlr{\Bx_\nu} \), such that \( \Bx^\mu \cdot \Bx_\nu = {\delta^\mu}_\nu \), the vector derivative is defined as
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:fundamentalTheoremOfGC:240a}
\partial = \sum_{\mu = 0}^{N-1} \Bx^\mu \PD{u^\mu}{}.
\end{equation}
Observe that if this is a full parameterization of the space (\(N = 4\)), then the vector derivative is identical to the gradient. The vector derivative is the projection of the gradient onto the tangent space at the point of evaluation.Furthermore, we designate \( \lrpartial \) as the vector derivative allowed to act bidirectionally, as follows
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:fundamentalTheoremOfGC:260a}
R \lrpartial S
=
R \Bx^\mu \PD{u^\mu}{S}
+
\PD{u^\mu}{R} \Bx^\mu S,
\end{equation}
where \( R, S \) are multivectors, and summation convention is implied. In this bidirectional action,
the vector factors of the vector derivative must stay in place (as they do not neccessarily commute with \( R,S\)), but the derivative operators apply in a chain rule like fashion to both functions.

Noting that \( \Bx_u \cdot \grad = \Bx_u \cdot \partial \), we may rewrite the scalar line integral identity \ref{eqn:fundamentalTheoremOfGC:140} as
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:fundamentalTheoremOfGC:220}
\int_A^B dx \cdot \partial f = f(B) – f(A).
\end{equation}
However, as our example hinted at, the fundamental theorem for line integrals has a multivector generalization that does not rely on a dot product to do the tangent space filtering, and is more powerful. That generalization has the following form.

Theorem 1.1: Fundamental theorem for line integrals.

Given multivector functions \( F, G \), and a single parameter curve \( x(u) \) with line element \( d^1 \Bx = \Bx_u du \), then
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:fundamentalTheoremOfGC:280a}
\int_A^B F d^1\Bx \lrpartial G = F(B) G(B) – F(A) G(A).
\end{equation}

Start proof:

Writing out the integrand explicitly, we find
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:fundamentalTheoremOfGC:340}
\int_A^B F d^1\Bx \lrpartial G
=
\int_A^B \lr{
\PD{\alpha}{F} d\alpha\, \Bx_\alpha \Bx^\alpha G
+
F d\alpha\, \Bx_\alpha \Bx^\alpha \PD{\alpha}{G }
}
\end{equation}
However for a single parameter curve, we have \( \Bx^\alpha = 1/\Bx_\alpha \), so we are left with
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:fundamentalTheoremOfGC:360}
\begin{aligned}
\int_A^B F d^1\Bx \lrpartial G
&=
\int_A^B d\alpha\, \PD{\alpha}{(F G)} \\
&=
\evalbar{F G}{B}

\evalbar{F G}{A}.
\end{aligned}
\end{equation}

End proof.

More to come.

In the next installment we will explore surface integrals in spacetime, and the generalization of the fundamental theorem to multivector space time integrals.

References

[1] Peeter Joot. Geometric Algebra for Electrical Engineers. Kindle Direct Publishing, 2019.

[2] A. Macdonald. Vector and Geometric Calculus. CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2012.

Lorentz transformations in Space Time Algebra (STA)

December 12, 2020 math and physics play No comments , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

[If mathjax doesn’t display properly for you, click here for a PDF of this post]

Motivation.

One of the remarkable features of geometric algebra are the complex exponential sandwiches that can be used to encode rotations in any dimension, or rotation like operations like Lorentz transformations in Minkowski spaces. In this post, we show some examples that unpack the geometric algebra expressions for Lorentz transformations operations of this sort. In particular, we will look at the exponential sandwich operations for spatial rotations and Lorentz boosts in the Dirac algebra, known as Space Time Algebra (STA) in geometric algebra circles, and demonstrate that these sandwiches do have the desired effects.

Lorentz transformations.

Theorem 1.1: Lorentz transformation.

The transformation
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:lorentzTransform:580}
x \rightarrow e^{B} x e^{-B} = x’,
\end{equation}
where \( B = a \wedge b \), is an STA 2-blade for any two linearly independent four-vectors \( a, b \), is a norm preserving, that is
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:lorentzTransform:600}
x^2 = {x’}^2.
\end{equation}

Start proof:

The proof is disturbingly trivial in this geometric algebra form
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:lorentzTransform:40}
\begin{aligned}
{x’}^2
&=
e^{B} x e^{-B} e^{B} x e^{-B} \\
&=
e^{B} x x e^{-B} \\
&=
x^2 e^{B} e^{-B} \\
&=
x^2.
\end{aligned}
\end{equation}

End proof.

In particular, observe that we did not need to construct the usual infinitesimal representations of rotation and boost transformation matrices or tensors in order to demonstrate that we have spacetime invariance for the transformations. The rough idea of such a transformation is that the exponential commutes with components of the four-vector that lie off the spacetime plane specified by the bivector \( B \), and anticommutes with components of the four-vector that lie in the plane. The end result is that the sandwich operation simplifies to
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:lorentzTransform:60}
x’ = x_\parallel e^{-B} + x_\perp,
\end{equation}
where \( x = x_\perp + x_\parallel \) and \( x_\perp \cdot B = 0 \), and \( x_\parallel \wedge B = 0 \). In particular, using \( x = x B B^{-1} = \lr{ x \cdot B + x \wedge B } B^{-1} \), we find that
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:lorentzTransform:80}
\begin{aligned}
x_\parallel &= \lr{ x \cdot B } B^{-1} \\
x_\perp &= \lr{ x \wedge B } B^{-1}.
\end{aligned}
\end{equation}
When \( B \) is a spacetime plane \( B = b \wedge \gamma_0 \), then this exponential has a hyperbolic nature, and we end up with a Lorentz boost. When \( B \) is a spatial bivector, we end up with a single complex exponential, encoding our plane old 3D rotation. More general \( B \)’s that encode composite boosts and rotations are also possible, but \( B \) must be invertible (it should have no lightlike factors.) The rough geometry of these projections is illustrated in fig 1, where the spacetime plane is represented by \( B \).

Projection and rejection geometry.

fig 1. Projection and rejection geometry.

 

What is not so obvious is how to pick \( B \)’s that correspond to specific rotation axes or boost directions. Let’s consider each of those cases in turn.

Theorem 1.2: Boost.

The boost along a direction vector \( \vcap \) and rapidity \( \alpha \) is given by
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:lorentzTransform:620}
x’ = e^{-\vcap \alpha/2} x e^{\vcap \alpha/2},
\end{equation}
where \( \vcap = \gamma_{k0} \cos\theta^k \) is an STA bivector representing a spatial direction with direction cosines \( \cos\theta^k \).

Start proof:

We want to demonstrate that this is equivalent to the usual boost formulation. We can start with decomposition of the four-vector \( x \) into components that lie in and off of the spacetime plane \( \vcap \).
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:lorentzTransform:100}
\begin{aligned}
x
&= \lr{ x^0 + \Bx } \gamma_0 \\
&= \lr{ x^0 + \Bx \vcap^2 } \gamma_0 \\
&= \lr{ x^0 + \lr{ \Bx \cdot \vcap} \vcap + \lr{ \Bx \wedge \vcap} \vcap } \gamma_0,
\end{aligned}
\end{equation}
where \( \Bx = x \wedge \gamma_0 \). The first two components lie in the boost plane, whereas the last is the spatial component of the vector that lies perpendicular to the boost plane. Observe that \( \vcap \) anticommutes with the dot product term and commutes with he wedge product term, so we have
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:lorentzTransform:120}
\begin{aligned}
x’
&=
\lr{ x^0 + \lr{ \Bx \cdot \vcap } \vcap } \gamma_0
e^{\vcap \alpha/2 }
e^{\vcap \alpha/2 }
+
\lr{ \Bx \wedge \vcap } \vcap \gamma_0
e^{-\vcap \alpha/2 }
e^{\vcap \alpha/2 } \\
&=
\lr{ x^0 + \lr{ \Bx \cdot \vcap } \vcap } \gamma_0
e^{\vcap \alpha }
+
\lr{ \Bx \wedge \vcap } \vcap \gamma_0.
\end{aligned}
\end{equation}
Noting that \( \vcap^2 = 1 \), we may expand the exponential in hyperbolic functions, and find that the boosted portion of the vector expands as
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:lorentzTransform:260}
\begin{aligned}
\lr{ x^0 + \lr{ \Bx \cdot \vcap} \vcap } \gamma_0 e^{\vcap \alpha}
&=
\lr{ x^0 + \lr{ \Bx \cdot \vcap} \vcap } \gamma_0 \lr{ \cosh\alpha + \vcap \sinh \alpha} \\
&=
\lr{ x^0 + \lr{ \Bx \cdot \vcap} \vcap } \lr{ \cosh\alpha – \vcap \sinh \alpha} \gamma_0 \\
&=
\lr{ x^0 \cosh\alpha – \lr{ \Bx \cdot \vcap} \sinh \alpha} \gamma_0
+
\lr{ -x^0 \sinh \alpha + \lr{ \Bx \cdot \vcap} \cosh \alpha } \vcap \gamma_0.
\end{aligned}
\end{equation}
We are left with
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:lorentzTransform:320}
\begin{aligned}
x’
&=
\lr{ x^0 \cosh\alpha – \lr{ \Bx \cdot \vcap} \sinh \alpha} \gamma_0
+
\lr{ \lr{ \Bx \cdot \vcap} \cosh \alpha -x^0 \sinh \alpha } \vcap \gamma_0
+
\lr{ \Bx \wedge \vcap} \vcap \gamma_0 \\
&=
\begin{bmatrix}
\gamma_0 & \vcap \gamma_0
\end{bmatrix}
\begin{bmatrix}
\cosh\alpha & – \sinh\alpha \\
-\sinh\alpha & \cosh\alpha
\end{bmatrix}
\begin{bmatrix}
x^0 \\
\Bx \cdot \vcap
\end{bmatrix}
+
\lr{ \Bx \wedge \vcap} \vcap \gamma_0,
\end{aligned}
\end{equation}
which has the desired Lorentz boost structure. Of course, this is usually seen with \( \vcap = \gamma_{10} \) so that the components in the coordinate column vector are \( (ct, x) \).

End proof.

Theorem 1.3: Spatial rotation.

Given two linearly independent spatial bivectors \( \Ba = a^k \gamma_{k0}, \Bb = b^k \gamma_{k0} \), a rotation of \(\theta\) radians in the plane of \( \Ba, \Bb \) from \( \Ba \) towards \( \Bb \), is given by
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:lorentzTransform:640}
x’ = e^{-i\theta} x e^{i\theta},
\end{equation}
where \( i = (\Ba \wedge \Bb)/\Abs{\Ba \wedge \Bb} \), is a unit (spatial) bivector.

Start proof:

Without loss of generality, we may pick \( i = \acap \bcap \), where \( \acap^2 = \bcap^2 = 1 \), and \( \acap \cdot \bcap = 0 \). With such an orthonormal basis for the plane, we can decompose our four vector into portions that lie in and off the plane
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:lorentzTransform:400}
\begin{aligned}
x
&= \lr{ x^0 + \Bx } \gamma_0 \\
&= \lr{ x^0 + \Bx i i^{-1} } \gamma_0 \\
&= \lr{ x^0 + \lr{ \Bx \cdot i } i^{-1} + \lr{ \Bx \wedge i } i^{-1} } \gamma_0.
\end{aligned}
\end{equation}
The projective term lies in the plane of rotation, whereas the timelike and spatial rejection term are perpendicular. That is
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:lorentzTransform:420}
\begin{aligned}
x_\parallel &= \lr{ \Bx \cdot i } i^{-1} \gamma_0 \\
x_\perp &= \lr{ x^0 + \lr{ \Bx \wedge i } i^{-1} } \gamma_0,
\end{aligned}
\end{equation}
where \( x_\parallel \wedge i = 0 \), and \( x_\perp \cdot i = 0 \). The plane pseudoscalar \( i \) anticommutes with \( x_\parallel \), and commutes with \( x_\perp \), so
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:lorentzTransform:440}
\begin{aligned}
x’
&= e^{-i\theta/2} \lr{ x_\parallel + x_\perp } e^{i\theta/2} \\
&= x_\parallel e^{i\theta} + x_\perp.
\end{aligned}
\end{equation}
However
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:lorentzTransform:460}
\begin{aligned}
\lr{ \Bx \cdot i } i^{-1}
&=
\lr{ \Bx \cdot \lr{ \acap \wedge \bcap } } \bcap \acap \\
&=
\lr{\Bx \cdot \acap} \bcap \bcap \acap
-\lr{\Bx \cdot \bcap} \acap \bcap \acap \\
&=
\lr{\Bx \cdot \acap} \acap
+\lr{\Bx \cdot \bcap} \bcap,
\end{aligned}
\end{equation}
so
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:lorentzTransform:480}
\begin{aligned}
x_\parallel e^{i\theta}
&=
\lr{
\lr{\Bx \cdot \acap} \acap
+
\lr{\Bx \cdot \bcap} \bcap
}
\gamma_0
\lr{
\cos\theta + \acap \bcap \sin\theta
} \\
&=
\acap \lr{
\lr{\Bx \cdot \acap} \cos\theta

\lr{\Bx \cdot \bcap} \sin\theta
}
\gamma_0
+
\bcap \lr{
\lr{\Bx \cdot \acap} \sin\theta
+
\lr{\Bx \cdot \bcap} \cos\theta
}
\gamma_0,
\end{aligned}
\end{equation}
so
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:lorentzTransform:500}
x’
=
\begin{bmatrix}
\acap & \bcap
\end{bmatrix}
\begin{bmatrix}
\cos\theta & – \sin\theta \\
\sin\theta & \cos\theta
\end{bmatrix}
\begin{bmatrix}
\Bx \cdot \acap \\
\Bx \cdot \bcap \\
\end{bmatrix}
\gamma_0
+
\lr{ x \wedge i} i^{-1} \gamma_0.
\end{equation}
Observe that this rejection term can be explicitly expanded to
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:lorentzTransform:520}
\lr{ \Bx \wedge i} i^{-1} \gamma_0 =
x –
\lr{ \Bx \cdot \acap } \acap \gamma_0

\lr{ \Bx \cdot \acap } \acap \gamma_0.
\end{equation}
This is the timelike component of the vector, plus the spatial component that is normal to the plane. This exponential sandwich transformation rotates only the portion of the vector that lies in the plane, and leaves the rest (timelike and normal) untouched.

End proof.

Problems.

Problem: Verify components relative to boost direction.

In the proof of thm. 1.2, the vector \( x \) was expanded in terms of the spacetime split. An alternate approach, is to expand as
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:lorentzTransform:340}
\begin{aligned}
x
&= x \vcap^2 \\
&= \lr{ x \cdot \vcap + x \wedge \vcap } \vcap \\
&= \lr{ x \cdot \vcap } \vcap + \lr{ x \wedge \vcap } \vcap.
\end{aligned}
\end{equation}
Show that
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:lorentzTransform:360}
\lr{ x \cdot \vcap } \vcap
=
\lr{ x^0 + \lr{ \Bx \cdot \vcap} \vcap } \gamma_0,
\end{equation}
and
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:lorentzTransform:380}
\lr{ x \wedge \vcap } \vcap
=
\lr{ \Bx \wedge \vcap} \vcap \gamma_0.
\end{equation}

Answer

Let \( x = x^\mu \gamma_\mu \), so that
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:lorentzTransform:160}
\begin{aligned}
x \cdot \vcap
&=
\gpgradeone{ x^\mu \gamma_\mu \cos\theta^b \gamma_{b 0} } \\
&=
x^\mu \cos\theta^b \gpgradeone{ \gamma_\mu \gamma_{b 0} }
.
\end{aligned}
\end{equation}
The \( \mu = 0 \) component of this grade selection is
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:lorentzTransform:180}
\gpgradeone{ \gamma_0 \gamma_{b 0} }
=
-\gamma_b,
\end{equation}
and for \( \mu = a \ne 0 \), we have
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:lorentzTransform:200}
\gpgradeone{ \gamma_a \gamma_{b 0} }
=
-\delta_{a b} \gamma_0,
\end{equation}
so we have
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:lorentzTransform:220}
\begin{aligned}
x \cdot \vcap
&=
x^0 \cos\theta^b (-\gamma_b)
+
x^a \cos\theta^b (-\delta_{ab} \gamma_0 ) \\
&=
-x^0 \vcap \gamma_0

x^b \cos\theta^b \gamma_0 \\
&=
– \lr{ x^0 \vcap + \Bx \cdot \vcap } \gamma_0,
\end{aligned}
\end{equation}
where \( \Bx = x \wedge \gamma_0 \) is the spatial portion of the four vector \( x \) relative to the stationary observer frame. Since \( \vcap \) anticommutes with \( \gamma_0 \), the component of \( x \) in the spacetime plane \( \vcap \) is
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:lorentzTransform:240}
\lr{ x \cdot \vcap } \vcap =
\lr{ x^0 + \lr{ \Bx \cdot \vcap} \vcap } \gamma_0,
\end{equation}
as expected.

For the rejection term, we have
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:lorentzTransform:280}
x \wedge \vcap
=
x^\mu \cos\theta^s \gpgradethree{ \gamma_\mu \gamma_{s 0} }.
\end{equation}
The \( \mu = 0 \) term clearly contributes nothing, leaving us with:
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:lorentzTransform:300}
\begin{aligned}
\lr{ x \wedge \vcap } \vcap
&=
\lr{ x \wedge \vcap } \cdot \vcap \\
&=
x^r \cos\theta^s \cos\theta^t \lr{ \lr{ \gamma_r \wedge \gamma_{s}} \gamma_0 } \cdot \lr{ \gamma_{t0} } \\
&=
x^r \cos\theta^s \cos\theta^t \gpgradeone{
\lr{ \gamma_r \wedge \gamma_{s} } \gamma_0 \gamma_{t0}
} \\
&=
-x^r \cos\theta^s \cos\theta^t \lr{ \gamma_r \wedge \gamma_{s}} \cdot \gamma_t \\
&=
-x^r \cos\theta^s \cos\theta^t \lr{ -\gamma_r \delta_{st} + \gamma_s \delta_{rt} } \\
&=
x^r \cos\theta^t \cos\theta^t \gamma_r

x^t \cos\theta^s \cos\theta^t \gamma_s \\
&=
\Bx \gamma_0
– (\Bx \cdot \vcap) \vcap \gamma_0 \\
&=
\lr{ \Bx \wedge \vcap} \vcap \gamma_0,
\end{aligned}
\end{equation}
as expected. Is there a clever way to demonstrate this without resorting to coordinates?

Problem: Rotation transformation components.

Given a unit spatial bivector \( i = \acap \bcap \), where \( \acap \cdot \bcap = 0 \) and \( i^2 = -1 \), show that
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:lorentzTransform:540}
\lr{ x \cdot i } i^{-1}
=
\lr{ \Bx \cdot i } i^{-1} \gamma_0
=
\lr{\Bx \cdot \acap } \acap \gamma_0
+
\lr{\Bx \cdot \bcap } \bcap \gamma_0,
\end{equation}
and
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:lorentzTransform:560}
\lr{ x \wedge i } i^{-1}
=
\lr{ \Bx \wedge i } i^{-1} \gamma_0
=
x –
\lr{\Bx \cdot \acap } \acap \gamma_0

\lr{\Bx \cdot \bcap } \bcap \gamma_0.
\end{equation}
Also show that \( i \) anticommutes with \( \lr{ x \cdot i } i^{-1} \) and commutes with \( \lr{ x \wedge i } i^{-1} \).

Answer

This problem is left for the reader, as I don’t feel like typing out my solution.

The first part of this problem can be done in the tedious coordinate approach used above, but hopefully there is a better way.

For the last (commutation) part of the problem, here is a hint. Let \( x \wedge i = n i \), where \( n \cdot i = 0 \). The result then follows easily.

Curvilinear coordinates and gradient in spacetime, and reciprocal frames.

December 1, 2020 math and physics play 2 comments , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

[If mathjax doesn’t display properly for you, click here for a PDF of this post]

Motivation.

I started pondering some aspects of spacetime integration theory, and found that there were some aspects of the concepts of reciprocal frames that were not clear to me. In the process of sorting those ideas out for myself, I wrote up the following notes.

In the notes below, I will introduce the many of the prerequisite ideas that are needed to express and apply the fundamental theorem of geometric calculus in a 4D relativistic context. The focus will be the Dirac’s algebra of special relativity, known as STA (Space Time Algebra) in geometric algebra parlance. If desired, it should be clear how to apply these ideas to lower or higher dimensional spaces, and to plain old Euclidean metrics.

On notation.

In Euclidean space we use bold face reciprocal frame vectors \( \Bx^i \cdot \Bx_j = {\delta^i}_j \), which nicely distinguishes them from the generalized coordinates \( x_i, x^j \) associated with the basis or the reciprocal frame, that is
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:reciprocalblog:640}
\Bx = x^i \Bx_i = x_j \Bx^j.
\end{equation}
On the other hand, it is conventional to use non-bold face for both the four-vectors and their coordinates in STA, such as the following standard basis decomposition
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:reciprocalblog:660}
x = x^\mu \gamma_\mu = x_\mu \gamma^\mu.
\end{equation}
If we use non-bold face \( x^\mu, x_\nu \) for the coordinates with respect to a specified frame, then we cannot also use non-bold face for the curvilinear basis vectors.

To resolve this notational ambiguity, I’ve chosen to use bold face \( \Bx^\mu, \Bx_\nu \) symbols as the curvilinear basis elements in this relativistic context, as we do for Euclidean spaces.

Basis and coordinates.

Definition 1.1: Standard Dirac basis.

The Dirac basis elements are \(\setlr{ \gamma_0, \gamma_1, \gamma_2, \gamma_3 } \), satisfying
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:reciprocalblog:1940}
\gamma_0^2 = 1 = -\gamma_k^2, \quad \forall k = 1,2,3,
\end{equation}
and
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:reciprocalblog:740}
\gamma_\mu \cdot \gamma_\nu = 0, \quad \forall \mu \ne \nu.
\end{equation}

A conventional way of summarizing these orthogonality relationships is \( \gamma_\mu \cdot \gamma_\nu = \eta_{\mu\nu} \), where \( \eta_{\mu\nu} \) are the elements of the metric \( G = \text{diag}(+,-,-,-) \).

Definition 1.2: Reciprocal basis for the standard Dirac basis.

We define a reciprocal basis \( \setlr{ \gamma^0, \gamma^1, \gamma^2, \gamma^3} \) satisfying \( \gamma^\mu \cdot \gamma_\nu = {\delta^\mu}_\nu, \forall \mu,\nu \in 0,1,2,3 \).

Theorem 1.1: Reciprocal basis uniqueness.

This reciprocal basis is unique, and for our choice of metric has the values
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:reciprocalblog:1960}
\gamma^0 = \gamma_0, \quad \gamma^k = -\gamma_k, \quad \forall k = 1,2,3.
\end{equation}

Proof is left to the reader.

Definition 1.3: Coordinates.

We define the coordinates of a vector with respect to the standard basis as \( x^\mu \) satisfying
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:reciprocalblog:1980}
x = x^\mu \gamma_\mu,
\end{equation}
and define the coordinates of a vector with respect to the reciprocal basis as \( x_\mu \) satisfying
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:reciprocalblog:2000}
x = x_\mu \gamma^\mu,
\end{equation}

Theorem 1.2: Coordinates.

Given the definitions above, we may compute the coordinates of a vector, simply by dotting with the basis elements
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:reciprocalblog:2020}
x^\mu = x \cdot \gamma^\mu,
\end{equation}
and
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:reciprocalblog:2040}
x_\mu = x \cdot \gamma_\mu,
\end{equation}

Start proof:

This follows by straightforward computation
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:reciprocalblog:840}
\begin{aligned}
x \cdot \gamma^\mu
&=
\lr{ x^\nu \gamma_\nu } \cdot \gamma^\mu \\
&=
x^\nu \lr{ \gamma_\nu \cdot \gamma^\mu } \\
&=
x^\nu {\delta_\nu}^\mu \\
&=
x^\mu,
\end{aligned}
\end{equation}
and
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:reciprocalblog:860}
\begin{aligned}
x \cdot \gamma_\mu
&=
\lr{ x_\nu \gamma^\nu } \cdot \gamma_\mu \\
&=
x_\nu \lr{ \gamma^\nu \cdot \gamma_\mu } \\
&=
x_\nu {\delta^\nu}_\mu \\
&=
x_\mu.
\end{aligned}
\end{equation}

End proof.

Derivative operators.

We’d like to determine the form of the (spacetime) gradient operator. The gradient can be defined in terms of coordinates directly, but we choose an implicit definition, in terms of the directional derivative.

Definition 1.4: Directional derivative and gradient.

Let \( F = F(x) \) be a four-vector parameterized multivector. The directional derivative of \( F \) with respect to the (four-vector) direction \( a \) is denoted
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:reciprocalblog:2060}
\lr{ a \cdot \grad } F = \lim_{\epsilon \rightarrow 0} \frac{ F(x + \epsilon a) – F(x) }{ \epsilon },
\end{equation}
where \( \grad \) is called the space time gradient.

Theorem 1.3: Gradient.

The standard basis representation of the gradient is
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:reciprocalblog:2080}
\grad = \gamma^\mu \partial_\mu,
\end{equation}
where
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:reciprocalblog:2100}
\partial_\mu = \PD{x^\mu}{}.
\end{equation}

Start proof:

The Dirac gradient pops naturally out of the coordinate representation of the directional derivative, as we can see by expanding \( F(x + \epsilon a) \) in Taylor series
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:reciprocalblog:900}
\begin{aligned}
F(x + \epsilon a)
&= F(x) + \epsilon \frac{dF(x + \epsilon a)}{d\epsilon} + O(\epsilon^2) \\
&= F(x) + \epsilon \PD{\lr{x^\mu + \epsilon a^\mu}}{F} \PD{\epsilon}{\lr{x^\mu + \epsilon a^\mu}} \\
&= F(x) + \epsilon \PD{\lr{x^\mu + \epsilon a^\mu}}{F} a^\mu.
\end{aligned}
\end{equation}
The directional derivative is
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:reciprocalblog:920}
\begin{aligned}
\lim_{\epsilon \rightarrow 0}
\frac{F(x + \epsilon a) – F(x)}{\epsilon}
&=
\lim_{\epsilon \rightarrow 0}\,
a^\mu
\PD{\lr{x^\mu + \epsilon a^\mu}}{F} \\
&=
a^\mu
\PD{x^\mu}{F} \\
&=
\lr{a^\nu \gamma_\nu} \cdot \gamma^\mu \PD{x^\mu}{F} \\
&=
a \cdot \lr{ \gamma^\mu \partial_\mu } F.
\end{aligned}
\end{equation}

End proof.

Curvilinear bases.

Curvilinear bases are the foundation of the fundamental theorem of multivector calculus. This form of integral calculus is defined over parameterized surfaces (called manifolds) that satisfy some specific non-degeneracy and continuity requirements.

A parameterized vector \( x(u,v, \cdots w) \) can be thought of as tracing out a hypersurface (curve, surface, volume, …), where the dimension of the hypersurface depends on the number of parameters. At each point, a bases can be constructed from the differentials of the parameterized vector. Such a basis is called the tangent space to the surface at the point in question. Our curvilinear bases will be related to these differentials. We will also be interested in a dual basis that is restricted to the span of the tangent space. This dual basis will be called the reciprocal frame, and line the basis of the tangent space itself, also varies from point to point on the surface.

Fig 1a. One parameter curve, with illustration of tangent space along the curve.

Fig 1b. Two parameter surface, with illustration of tangent space along the surface.

One and two parameter spaces are illustrated in fig. 1a, and 1b.  The tangent space basis at a specific point of a two parameter surface, \( x(u^0, u^1) \), is illustrated in fig. 1. The differential directions that span the tangent space are
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:reciprocalblog:1040}
\begin{aligned}
d\Bx_0 &= \PD{u^0}{x} du^0 \\
d\Bx_1 &= \PD{u^1}{x} du^1,
\end{aligned}
\end{equation}
and the tangent space itself is \( \mbox{Span}\setlr{ d\Bx_0, d\Bx_1 } \). We may form an oriented surface area element \( d\Bx_0 \wedge d\Bx_1 \) over this surface.

Fig 2. Two parameter surface.

Tangent spaces associated with 3 or more parameters cannot be easily visualized in three dimensions, but the idea generalizes algebraically without trouble.

Definition 1.5: Tangent basis and space.

Given a parameterization \( x = x(u^0, \cdots, u^N) \), where \( N < 4 \), the span of the vectors
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:reciprocalblog:2120}
\Bx_\mu = \PD{u^\mu}{x},
\end{equation}
is called the tangent space for the hypersurface associated with the parameterization, and it’s basis is
\( \setlr{ \Bx_\mu } \).

Later we will see that parameterization constraints must be imposed, as not all surfaces generated by a set of parameterizations are useful for integration theory. In particular, degenerate parameterizations for which the wedge products of the tangent space basis vectors are zero, or those wedge products cannot be inverted, are not physically meaningful. Properly behaved surfaces of this sort are called manifolds.

Having introduced curvilinear coordinates associated with a parameterization, we can now determine the form of the gradient with respect to a parameterization of spacetime.

Theorem 1.4: Gradient, curvilinear representation.

Given a spacetime parameterization \( x = x(u^0, u^1, u^2, u^3) \), the gradient with respect to the parameters \( u^\mu \) is
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:reciprocalblog:2140}
\grad = \sum_\mu \Bx^\mu
\PD{u^\mu}{},
\end{equation}
where
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:reciprocalblog:2160}
\Bx^\mu = \grad u^\mu.
\end{equation}
The vectors \( \Bx^\mu \) are called the reciprocal frame vectors, and the ordered set \( \setlr{ \Bx^0, \Bx^1, \Bx^2, \Bx^3 } \) is called the reciprocal basis.It is convenient to define \( \partial_\mu \equiv \PDi{u^\mu}{} \), so that the gradient can be expressed in mixed index representation
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:reciprocalblog:2180}
\grad = \Bx^\mu \partial_\mu.
\end{equation}
This introduces some notational ambiguity, since we used \( \partial_\mu = \PDi{x^\mu}{} \) for the standard basis derivative operators too, but we will be careful to be explicit when there is any doubt about what is intended.

Start proof:

The proof follows by application of the chain rule.
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:reciprocalblog:960}
\begin{aligned}
\grad F
&=
\gamma^\alpha \PD{x^\alpha}{F} \\
&=
\gamma^\alpha
\PD{x^\alpha}{u^\mu}
\PD{u^\mu}{F} \\
&=
\lr{ \grad u^\mu } \PD{u^\mu}{F} \\
&=
\Bx^\mu \PD{u^\mu}{F}.
\end{aligned}
\end{equation}

End proof.

Theorem 1.5: Reciprocal relationship.

The vectors \( \Bx^\mu = \grad u^\mu \), and \( \Bx_\mu = \PDi{u^\mu}{x} \) satisfy the reciprocal relationship
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:reciprocalblog:2200}
\Bx^\mu \cdot \Bx_\nu = {\delta^\mu}_\nu.
\end{equation}

Start proof:

\begin{equation}\label{eqn:reciprocalblog:1020}
\begin{aligned}
\Bx^\mu \cdot \Bx_\nu
&=
\grad u^\mu \cdot
\PD{u^\nu}{x} \\
&=
\lr{
\gamma^\alpha \PD{x^\alpha}{u^\mu}
}
\cdot
\lr{
\PD{u^\nu}{x^\beta} \gamma_\beta
} \\
&=
{\delta^\alpha}_\beta \PD{x^\alpha}{u^\mu}
\PD{u^\nu}{x^\beta} \\
&=
\PD{x^\alpha}{u^\mu} \PD{u^\nu}{x^\alpha} \\
&=
\PD{u^\nu}{u^\mu} \\
&=
{\delta^\mu}_\nu
.
\end{aligned}
\end{equation}

End proof.

It is instructive to consider an example. Here is a parameterization that scales the proper time parameter, and uses polar coordinates in the \(x-y\) plane.

Problem: Compute the curvilinear and reciprocal basis.

Given
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:reciprocalblog:2360}
x(t,\rho,\theta,z) = c t \gamma_0 + \gamma_1 \rho e^{i \theta} + z \gamma_3,
\end{equation}
where \( i = \gamma_1 \gamma_2 \), compute the curvilinear frame vectors and their reciprocals.

Answer

The frame vectors are all easy to compute
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:reciprocalblog:1180}
\begin{aligned}
\Bx_0 &= \PD{t}{x} = c \gamma_0 \\
\Bx_1 &= \PD{\rho}{x} = \gamma_1 e^{i \theta} \\
\Bx_2 &= \PD{\theta}{x} = \rho \gamma_1 \gamma_1 \gamma_2 e^{i \theta} = – \rho \gamma_2 e^{i \theta} \\
\Bx_3 &= \PD{z}{x} = \gamma_3.
\end{aligned}
\end{equation}
The \( \Bx_1 \) vector is radial, \( \Bx^2 \) is perpendicular to that tangent to the same unit circle, as plotted in fig 3.

Fig3: Tangent space direction vectors.

All of these particular frame vectors happen to be mutually perpendicular, something that will not generally be true for a more arbitrary parameterization.

To compute the reciprocal frame vectors, we must express our parameters in terms of \( x^\mu \) coordinates, and use implicit integration techniques to deal with the coupling of the rotational terms. First observe that
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:reciprocalblog:1200}
\gamma_1 e^{i\theta}
= \gamma_1 \lr{ \cos\theta + \gamma_1 \gamma_2 \sin\theta }
= \gamma_1 \cos\theta – \gamma_2 \sin\theta,
\end{equation}
so
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:reciprocalblog:1220}
\begin{aligned}
x^0 &= c t \\
x^1 &= \rho \cos\theta \\
x^2 &= -\rho \sin\theta \\
x^3 &= z.
\end{aligned}
\end{equation}
We can easily evaluate the \( t, z \) gradients
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:reciprocalblog:1240}
\begin{aligned}
\grad t &= \frac{\gamma^1 }{c} \\
\grad z &= \gamma^3,
\end{aligned}
\end{equation}
but the \( \rho, \theta \) gradients are not as easy. First writing
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:reciprocalblog:1260}
\rho^2 = \lr{x^1}^2 + \lr{x^2}^2,
\end{equation}
we find
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:reciprocalblog:1280}
\begin{aligned}
2 \rho \grad \rho = 2 \lr{ x^1 \grad x^1 + x^2 \grad x^2 }
&= 2 \rho \lr{ \cos\theta \gamma^1 – \sin\theta \gamma^2 } \\
&= 2 \rho \gamma^1 \lr{ \cos\theta – \gamma_1 \gamma^2 \sin\theta } \\
&= 2 \rho \gamma^1 e^{i\theta},
\end{aligned}
\end{equation}
so
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:reciprocalblog:1300}
\grad \rho = \gamma^1 e^{i\theta}.
\end{equation}
For the \( \theta \) gradient, we can write
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:reciprocalblog:1320}
\tan\theta = -\frac{x^2}{x^1},
\end{equation}
so
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:reciprocalblog:1340}
\begin{aligned}
\inv{\cos^2 \theta} \grad \theta
&= -\frac{\gamma^2}{x^1} – x^2 \frac{-\gamma^1}{\lr{x^1}^2} \\
&= \inv{\lr{x^1}^2} \lr{ – \gamma^2 x^1 + \gamma^1 x^2 } \\
&= \frac{\rho}{\rho^2 \cos^2\theta } \lr{ – \gamma^2 \cos\theta – \gamma^1 \sin\theta } \\
&= -\frac{1}{\rho \cos^2\theta } \gamma^2 \lr{ \cos\theta + \gamma_2 \gamma^1 \sin\theta } \\
&= -\frac{\gamma^2 e^{i\theta} }{\rho \cos^2\theta },
\end{aligned}
\end{equation}
or
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:reciprocalblog:1360}
\grad\theta = -\inv{\rho} \gamma^2 e^{i\theta}.
\end{equation}
In summary,
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:reciprocalblog:1380}
\begin{aligned}
\Bx^0 &= \frac{\gamma^0}{c} \\
\Bx^1 &= \gamma^1 e^{i\theta} \\
\Bx^2 &= -\inv{\rho} \gamma^2 e^{i\theta} \\
\Bx^3 &= \gamma^3.
\end{aligned}
\end{equation}

Despite being a fairly simple parameterization, it was still fairly difficult to solve for the gradients when the parameterization introduced coupling between the coordinates. In this particular case, we could have solved for the parameters in terms of the coordinates (but it was easier not to), but that will not generally be true. We want a less labor intensive strategy to find the reciprocal frame. When we have a full parameterization of spacetime, then we can do this with nothing more than a matrix inversion.

Theorem 1.6: Reciprocal frame matrix equations.

Given a spacetime basis \( \setlr{\Bx_0, \cdots \Bx_3} \), let \( [\Bx_\mu] \) and \( [\Bx^\nu] \) be column matrices with the coordinates of these vectors and their reciprocals, with respect to the standard basis \( \setlr{\gamma_0, \gamma_1, \gamma_2, \gamma_3 } \). Let
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:reciprocalblog:2220}
A =
\begin{bmatrix}
[\Bx_0] & \cdots & [\Bx_{3}]
\end{bmatrix}
,\qquad
X =
\begin{bmatrix}
[\Bx^0] & \cdots & [\Bx^{3}]
\end{bmatrix}.
\end{equation}
The coordinates of the reciprocal frame vectors can be found by solving
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:reciprocalblog:2240}
A^\T G X = 1,
\end{equation}
where \( G = \text{diag}(1,-1,-1,-1) \) and the RHS is an \( 4 \times 4 \) identity matrix.

Start proof:

Let \( \Bx_\mu = {a_\mu}^\alpha \gamma_\alpha, \Bx^\nu = b^{\nu\beta} \gamma_\beta \), so that
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:reciprocalblog:140}
A =
\begin{bmatrix}
{a_\nu}^\mu
\end{bmatrix},
\end{equation}
and
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:reciprocalblog:160}
X =
\begin{bmatrix}
b^{\nu\mu}
\end{bmatrix},
\end{equation}
where \( \mu \in [0,3]\) are the row indexes and \( \nu \in [0,N-1]\) are the column indexes. The reciprocal frame satisfies \( \Bx_\mu \cdot \Bx^\nu = {\delta_\mu}^\nu \), which has the coordinate representation of
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:reciprocalblog:180}
\begin{aligned}
\Bx_\mu \cdot \Bx^\nu
&=
\lr{
{a_\mu}^\alpha \gamma_\alpha
}
\cdot
\lr{
b^{\nu\beta} \gamma_\beta
} \\
&=
{a_\mu}^\alpha
\eta_{\alpha\beta}
b^{\nu\beta} \\
&=
{[A^\T G B]_\mu}^\nu,
\end{aligned}
\end{equation}
where \( \mu \) is the row index and \( \nu \) is the column index.

End proof.

Problem: Matrix inversion reciprocals.

For the parameterization of \ref{eqn:reciprocalblog:2360}, find the reciprocal frame vectors by matrix inversion.

Answer

We expanded \( \Bx_1 \) explicitly in \ref{eqn:reciprocalblog:1200}. Doing the same for \( \Bx_2 \), we have
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:reciprocalblog:1201}
\Bx_2 =
-\rho \gamma_2 e^{i\theta}
= -\rho \gamma_2 \lr{ \cos\theta + \gamma_1 \gamma_2 \sin\theta }
= – \rho \lr{ \gamma_2 \cos\theta + \gamma_1 \sin\theta}.
\end{equation}
Reading off the coordinates of our frame vectors, we have
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:reciprocalblog:1400}
X =
\begin{bmatrix}
c & 0 & 0 & 0 \\
0 & C & -\rho S & 0 \\
0 & -S & -\rho C & 0 \\
0 & 0 & 0 & 1 \\
\end{bmatrix},
\end{equation}
where \( C = \cos\theta \) and \( S = \sin\theta \). We want
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:reciprocalblog:1420}
Y =
{\begin{bmatrix}
c & 0 & 0 & 0 \\
0 & -C & S & 0 \\
0 & \rho S & \rho C & 0 \\
0 & 0 & 0 & -1 \\
\end{bmatrix}}^{-1}
=
\begin{bmatrix}
\inv{c} & 0 & 0 & 0 \\
0 & -C & \frac{S}{\rho} & 0 \\
0 & S & \frac{C}{\rho} & 0 \\
0 & 0 & 0 & -1 \\
\end{bmatrix}.
\end{equation}
We can read off the coordinates of the reciprocal frame vectors
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:reciprocalblog:1440}
\begin{aligned}
\Bx^0 &= \inv{c} \gamma_0 \\
\Bx^1 &= -\cos\theta \gamma_1 + \sin\theta \gamma_2 \\
\Bx^2 &= \inv{\rho} \lr{ \sin\theta \gamma_1 + \cos\theta \gamma_2 } \\
\Bx^3 &= -\gamma_3.
\end{aligned}
\end{equation}
Factoring out \( \gamma^1 \) from the \( \Bx^1 \) terms, we find
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:reciprocalblog:1460}
\begin{aligned}
\Bx^1
&= -\cos\theta \gamma_1 + \sin\theta \gamma_2 \\
&= \gamma^1 \lr{ \cos\theta + \gamma_1 \gamma_2 \sin\theta } \\
&= \gamma^1 e^{i\theta}.
\end{aligned}
\end{equation}
Similarly for \( \Bx^2 \),
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:reciprocalblog:1480}
\begin{aligned}
\Bx^2
&= \inv{\rho} \lr{ \sin\theta \gamma_1 + \cos\theta \gamma_2 } \\
&= \frac{\gamma^2}{\rho} \lr{ \sin\theta \gamma_2 \gamma_1 – \cos\theta } \\
&= -\frac{\gamma^2}{\rho} e^{i\theta}.
\end{aligned}
\end{equation}
This matches \ref{eqn:reciprocalblog:1380}, as expected, but required only algebraic work to compute.

There will be circumstances where we parameterize only a subset of spacetime, and are interested in calculating quantities associated with such a surface. For example, suppose that
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:reciprocalblog:1500}
x(\rho,\theta) = \gamma_1 \rho e^{i \theta},
\end{equation}
where \( i = \gamma_1 \gamma_2 \) as before. We are now parameterizing only the \(x-y\) plane. We will still find
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:reciprocalblog:1520}
\begin{aligned}
\Bx_1 &= \gamma_1 e^{i \theta} \\
\Bx_2 &= -\gamma_2 \rho e^{i \theta}.
\end{aligned}
\end{equation}
We can compute the reciprocals of these vectors using the gradient method. It’s possible to state matrix equations representing the reciprocal relationship of \ref{eqn:reciprocalblog:2200}, which, in this case, is \( X^\T G Y = 1 \), where the RHS is a \( 2 \times 2 \) identity matrix, and \( X, Y\) are \( 4\times 2\) matrices of coordinates, with
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:reciprocalblog:1540}
X =
\begin{bmatrix}
0 & 0 \\
C & -\rho S \\
-S & -\rho C \\
0 & 0
\end{bmatrix}.
\end{equation}
We no longer have a square matrix problem to solve, and our solution set is multivalued. In particular, this matrix equation has solutions
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:reciprocalblog:1560}
\begin{aligned}
\Bx^1 &= \gamma^1 e^{i\theta} + \alpha \gamma^0 + \beta \gamma^3 \\
\Bx^2 &= -\frac{\gamma^2}{\rho} e^{i\theta} + \alpha’ \gamma^0 + \beta’ \gamma^3.
\end{aligned}
\end{equation}
where \( \alpha, \alpha’, \beta, \beta’ \) are arbitrary constants. In the example we considered, we saw that our \( \rho, \theta \) parameters were functions of only \( x^1, x^2 \), so taking gradients could not introduce any \( \gamma^0, \gamma^3 \) dependence in \( \Bx^1, \Bx^2 \). It seems reasonable to assert that we seek an algebraic method of computing a set of vectors that satisfies the reciprocal relationships, where that set of vectors is restricted to the tangent space. We will need to figure out how to prove that this reciprocal construction is identical to the parameter gradients, but let’s start with figuring out what such a tangent space restricted solution looks like.

Theorem 1.7: Reciprocal frame for two parameter subspace.

Given two vectors, \( \Bx_1, \Bx_2 \), the vectors \( \Bx^1, \Bx^2 \in \mbox{Span}\setlr{ \Bx_1, \Bx_2 } \) such that \( \Bx^\mu \cdot \Bx_\nu = {\delta^\mu}_\nu \) are given by
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:reciprocalblog:2260}
\begin{aligned}
\Bx^1 &= \Bx_2 \cdot \inv{\Bx_1 \wedge \Bx_2} \\
\Bx^2 &= -\Bx_1 \cdot \inv{\Bx_1 \wedge \Bx_2},
\end{aligned}
\end{equation}
provided \( \Bx_1 \wedge \Bx_2 \ne 0 \) and
\( \lr{ \Bx_1 \wedge \Bx_2 }^2 \ne 0 \).

Start proof:

The most general set of vectors that satisfy the span constraint are
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:reciprocalblog:1580}
\begin{aligned}
\Bx^1 &= a \Bx_1 + b \Bx_2 \\
\Bx^2 &= c \Bx_1 + d \Bx_2.
\end{aligned}
\end{equation}
We can use wedge products with either \( \Bx_1 \) or \( \Bx_2 \) to eliminate the other from the RHS
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:reciprocalblog:1600}
\begin{aligned}
\Bx^1 \wedge \Bx_2 &= a \lr{ \Bx_1 \wedge \Bx_2 } \\
\Bx^1 \wedge \Bx_1 &= – b \lr{ \Bx_1 \wedge \Bx_2 } \\
\Bx^2 \wedge \Bx_2 &= c \lr{ \Bx_1 \wedge \Bx_2 } \\
\Bx^2 \wedge \Bx_1 &= – d \lr{ \Bx_1 \wedge \Bx_2 },
\end{aligned}
\end{equation}
and then dot both sides with \( \Bx_1 \wedge \Bx_2 \) to produce four scalar equations
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:reciprocalblog:1640}
\begin{aligned}
a \lr{ \Bx_1 \wedge \Bx_2 }^2
&= \lr{ \Bx^1 \wedge \Bx_2 } \cdot \lr{ \Bx_1 \wedge \Bx_2 } \\
&=
\lr{ \Bx_2 \cdot \Bx_1 } \lr{ \Bx^1 \cdot \Bx_2 }

\lr{ \Bx_2 \cdot \Bx_2 } \lr{ \Bx^1 \cdot \Bx_1 } \\
&=
\lr{ \Bx_2 \cdot \Bx_1 } (0)

\lr{ \Bx_2 \cdot \Bx_2 } (1) \\
&= – \Bx_2 \cdot \Bx_2
\end{aligned}
\end{equation}
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:reciprocalblog:1660}
\begin{aligned}
– b \lr{ \Bx_1 \wedge \Bx_2 }^2
&=
\lr{ \Bx^1 \wedge \Bx_1 } \cdot \lr{ \Bx_1 \wedge \Bx_2 } \\
&=
\lr{ \Bx^1 \cdot \Bx_2 } \lr{ \Bx_1 \cdot \Bx_1 }

\lr{ \Bx^1 \cdot \Bx_1 } \lr{ \Bx_1 \cdot \Bx_2 } \\
&=
(0) \lr{ \Bx_1 \cdot \Bx_1 }

(1) \lr{ \Bx_1 \cdot \Bx_2 } \\
&= – \Bx_1 \cdot \Bx_2
\end{aligned}
\end{equation}
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:reciprocalblog:1680}
\begin{aligned}
c \lr{ \Bx_1 \wedge \Bx_2 }^2
&= \lr{ \Bx^2 \wedge \Bx_2 } \cdot \lr{ \Bx_1 \wedge \Bx_2 } \\
&=
\lr{ \Bx_2 \cdot \Bx_1 } \lr{ \Bx^2 \cdot \Bx_2 }

\lr{ \Bx_2 \cdot \Bx_2 } \lr{ \Bx^2 \cdot \Bx_1 } \\
&=
\lr{ \Bx_2 \cdot \Bx_1 } (1)

\lr{ \Bx_2 \cdot \Bx_2 } (0) \\
&= \Bx_2 \cdot \Bx_1
\end{aligned}
\end{equation}
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:reciprocalblog:1700}
\begin{aligned}
– d \lr{ \Bx_1 \wedge \Bx_2 }^2
&= \lr{ \Bx^2 \wedge \Bx_1 } \cdot \lr{ \Bx_1 \wedge \Bx_2 } \\
&=
\lr{ \Bx_1 \cdot \Bx_1 } \lr{ \Bx^2 \cdot \Bx_2 }

\lr{ \Bx_1 \cdot \Bx_2 } \lr{ \Bx^2 \cdot \Bx_1 } \\
&=
\lr{ \Bx_1 \cdot \Bx_1 } (1)

\lr{ \Bx_1 \cdot \Bx_2 } (0) \\
&= \Bx_1 \cdot \Bx_1.
\end{aligned}
\end{equation}
Putting the pieces together we have
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:reciprocalblog:1740}
\begin{aligned}
\Bx^1
&= \frac{ – \lr{ \Bx_2 \cdot \Bx_2 } \Bx_1 + \lr{ \Bx_1 \cdot \Bx_2 } \Bx_2
}{\lr{\Bx_1 \wedge \Bx_2}^2} \\
&=
\frac{
\Bx_2 \cdot \lr{ \Bx_1 \wedge \Bx_2 }
}{\lr{\Bx_1 \wedge \Bx_2}^2} \\
&=
\Bx_2 \cdot \inv{\Bx_1 \wedge \Bx_2}
\end{aligned}
\end{equation}
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:reciprocalblog:1760}
\begin{aligned}
\Bx^2
&=
\frac{ \lr{ \Bx_1 \cdot \Bx_2 } \Bx_1 – \lr{ \Bx_1 \cdot \Bx_1 } \Bx_2
}{\lr{\Bx_1 \wedge \Bx_2}^2} \\
&=
\frac{ -\Bx_1 \cdot \lr{ \Bx_1 \wedge \Bx_2 } }
{\lr{\Bx_1 \wedge \Bx_2}^2} \\
&=
-\Bx_1 \cdot \inv{\Bx_1 \wedge \Bx_2}
\end{aligned}
\end{equation}

End proof.

Lemma 1.1: Distribution identity.

Given k-vectors \( B, C \) and a vector \( a \), where the grade of \( C \) is greater than that of \( B \), then
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:reciprocalblog:2280}
\lr{a \wedge B} \cdot C = a \cdot \lr{ B \cdot C }.
\end{equation}

See [1] for a proof.

Theorem 1.8: Higher order tangent space reciprocals.

Given an \(N\) parameter tangent space with basis \( \setlr{ \Bx_0, \Bx_1, \cdots \Bx_{N-1} } \), the reciprocals are given by
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:reciprocalblog:2300}
\Bx^\mu = (-1)^\mu
\lr{ \Bx_0 \wedge \cdots \check{\Bx_\mu} \cdots \wedge \Bx_{N-1} } \cdot I_N^{-1},
\end{equation}
where the checked term (\(\check{\Bx_\mu}\)) indicates that all terms are included in the wedges except the \( \Bx_\mu \) term, and \( I_N = \Bx_0 \wedge \cdots \Bx_{N-1} \) is the pseudoscalar for the tangent space.

Start proof:

I’ll outline the proof for the three parameter tangent space case, from which the pattern will be clear. The motivation for this proof is a reexamination of the algebraic structure of the two vector solution. Suppose we have a tangent space basis \( \setlr{\Bx_0, \Bx_1} \), for which we’ve shown that
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:reciprocalblog:1860}
\begin{aligned}
\Bx^0
&= \Bx_1 \cdot \inv{\Bx_0 \wedge \Bx_1} \\
&= \frac{\Bx_1 \cdot \lr{\Bx_0 \wedge \Bx_1} }{\lr{ \Bx_0 \wedge \Bx_1}^2 }.
\end{aligned}
\end{equation}
If we dot with \( \Bx_0 \) and \( \Bx_1 \) respectively, we find
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:reciprocalblog:1800}
\begin{aligned}
\Bx_0 \cdot \Bx^0
&=
\Bx_0 \cdot \frac{ \Bx_1 \cdot \lr{ \Bx_0 \wedge \Bx_1 } }{\lr{ \Bx_0 \wedge \Bx_1}^2 } \\
&=
\lr{ \Bx_0 \wedge \Bx_1 } \cdot \frac{ \Bx_0 \wedge \Bx_1 }{\lr{ \Bx_0 \wedge \Bx_1}^2 }.
\end{aligned}
\end{equation}
We end up with unity as expected. Here the
“factored” out vector is reincorporated into the pseudoscalar using the distribution identity \ref{eqn:reciprocalblog:2280}.
Similarly, dotting with \( \Bx_1 \), we find
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:reciprocalblog:0810}
\begin{aligned}
\Bx_1 \cdot \Bx^0
&=
\Bx_1 \cdot \frac{ \Bx_1 \cdot \lr{ \Bx_0 \wedge \Bx_1 } }{\lr{ \Bx_0 \wedge \Bx_1}^2 } \\
&=
\lr{ \Bx_1 \wedge \Bx_1 } \cdot \frac{ \Bx_0 \wedge \Bx_1 }{\lr{ \Bx_0 \wedge \Bx_1}^2 }.
\end{aligned}
\end{equation}
This is zero, since wedging a vector with itself is zero. We can perform such an operation in reverse, taking the square of the tangent space pseudoscalar, and factoring out one of the basis vectors. After this, division by that squared pseudoscalar will normalize things.

For a three parameter tangent space with basis \( \setlr{ \Bx_0, \Bx_1, \Bx_2 } \), we can factor out any of the tangent vectors like so
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:reciprocalblog:1880}
\begin{aligned}
\lr{ \Bx_0 \wedge \Bx_1 \wedge \Bx_2 }^2
&= \Bx_0 \cdot \lr{ \lr{ \Bx_1 \wedge \Bx_2 } \cdot \lr{ \Bx_0 \wedge \Bx_1 \wedge \Bx_2 } } \\
&= (-1) \Bx_1 \cdot \lr{ \lr{ \Bx_0 \wedge \Bx_2 } \cdot \lr{ \Bx_0 \wedge \Bx_1 \wedge \Bx_2 } } \\
&= (-1)^2 \Bx_2 \cdot \lr{ \lr{ \Bx_0 \wedge \Bx_1 } \cdot \lr{ \Bx_0 \wedge \Bx_1 \wedge \Bx_2 } }.
\end{aligned}
\end{equation}
The toggling of sign reflects the number of permutations required to move the vector of interest to the front of the wedge sequence. Having factored out any one of the vectors, we can rearrange to find that vector that is it’s inverse and perpendicular to all the others.
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:reciprocalblog:1900}
\begin{aligned}
\Bx^0 &= (-1)^0 \lr{ \Bx_1 \wedge \Bx_2 } \cdot \inv{ \Bx_0 \wedge \Bx_1 \wedge \Bx_2 } \\
\Bx^1 &= (-1)^1 \lr{ \Bx_0 \wedge \Bx_2 } \cdot \inv{ \Bx_0 \wedge \Bx_1 \wedge \Bx_2 } \\
\Bx^2 &= (-1)^2 \lr{ \Bx_0 \wedge \Bx_1 } \cdot \inv{ \Bx_0 \wedge \Bx_1 \wedge \Bx_2 }.
\end{aligned}
\end{equation}

End proof.

In the fashion above, should we want the reciprocal frame for all of spacetime given dimension 4 tangent space, we can state it trivially
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:reciprocalblog:1920}
\begin{aligned}
\Bx^0 &= (-1)^0 \lr{ \Bx_1 \wedge \Bx_2 \wedge \Bx_3 } \cdot \inv{ \Bx_0 \wedge \Bx_1 \wedge \Bx_2 \wedge \Bx_3 } \\
\Bx^1 &= (-1)^1 \lr{ \Bx_0 \wedge \Bx_2 \wedge \Bx_3 } \cdot \inv{ \Bx_0 \wedge \Bx_1 \wedge \Bx_2 \wedge \Bx_3 } \\
\Bx^2 &= (-1)^2 \lr{ \Bx_0 \wedge \Bx_1 \wedge \Bx_3 } \cdot \inv{ \Bx_0 \wedge \Bx_1 \wedge \Bx_2 \wedge \Bx_3 } \\
\Bx^3 &= (-1)^3 \lr{ \Bx_0 \wedge \Bx_1 \wedge \Bx_2 } \cdot \inv{ \Bx_0 \wedge \Bx_1 \wedge \Bx_2 \wedge \Bx_3 }.
\end{aligned}
\end{equation}
This is probably not an efficient way to compute all these reciprocals, since we can utilize a single matrix inversion to solve them in one shot. However, there are theoretical advantages to this construction that will be useful when we get to integration theory.

On degeneracy.

A small mention of degeneracy was mentioned above. Regardless of metric, \( \Bx_0 \wedge \Bx_1 = 0 \) means that this pair of vectors are colinear. A tangent space with such a pseudoscalar is clearly undesirable, and we must construct parameterizations for which the area element is non-zero in all regions of interest.

Things get more interesting in mixed signature spaces where we can have vectors that square to zero (i.e. lightlike). If the tangent space pseudoscalar has a lightlike factor, then that pseudoscalar will not be invertible. Such a degeneracy will will likely lead to many other troubles, and parameterizations of this sort should be avoided.

This following problem illustrates an example of this sort of degenerate parameterization.

Problem: Degenerate surface parameterization.

Given a spacetime plane parameterization \( x(u,v) = u a + v b \), where
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:reciprocalblog:480}
a = \gamma_0 + \gamma_1 + \gamma_2 + \gamma_3,
\end{equation}
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:reciprocalblog:500}
b = \gamma_0 – \gamma_1 + \gamma_2 – \gamma_3,
\end{equation}
show that this is a degenerate parameterization, and find the bivector that represents the tangent space. Are these vectors lightlike, spacelike, or timelike? Comment on whether this parameterization represents a physically relevant spacetime surface.

Answer

To characterize the vectors, we square them
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:reciprocalblog:1080}
a^2 = b^2 =
\gamma_0^2 +
\gamma_1^2 +
\gamma_2^2 +
\gamma_3^2
=
1 – 3
= -2,
\end{equation}
so \( a, b \) are both spacelike vectors. The tangent space is clearly just \( \mbox{Span}\setlr{ a, b } = \mbox{Span}\setlr{ e, f }\) where
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:reciprocalblog:1100}
\begin{aligned}
e &= \gamma_0 + \gamma_2 \\
f &= \gamma_1 + \gamma_3.
\end{aligned}
\end{equation}
Observe that \( a = e + f, b = e – f \), and \( e \) is lightlike (\( e^2 = 0 \)), whereas \( f \) is spacelike (\( f^2 = -2 \)), and \( e \cdot f = 0 \), so \( e f = – f e \). The bivector for the tangent plane is
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:reciprocalblog:1120}
\gpgradetwo{
a b
}
=
\gpgradetwo{
(e + f) (e – f)
}
=
\gpgradetwo{
e^2 – f^2 – 2 e f
}
= -2 e f,
\end{equation}
where
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:reciprocalblog:1140}
e f = \gamma_{01} + \gamma_{21} + \gamma_{23} + \gamma_{03}.
\end{equation}
Because \( e \) is lightlike (zero square), and \( e f = – f e \),
the bivector \( e f \) squares to zero
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:reciprocalblog:1780}
\lr{ e f }^2
= -e^2 f^2
= 0,
\end{equation}
which shows that the parameterization is degenerate.

This parameterization can also be expressed as
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:reciprocalblog:1160}
x(u,v)
= u ( e + f ) + v ( e – f )
= (u + v) e + (u – v) f,
\end{equation}
a linear combination of a lightlike and spacelike vector. Intuitively, we expect that a physically meaningful spacetime surface involves linear combinations spacelike vectors, or combinations of a timelike vector with spacelike vectors. This beastie is something entirely different.

Final notes.

There are a few loose ends above. In particular, we haven’t conclusively proven that the set of reciprocal vectors \( \Bx^\mu = \grad u^\mu \) are exactly those obtained through algebraic means. For a full parameterization of spacetime, they are necessarily the same, since both are unique. So we know that \ref{eqn:reciprocalblog:1920} must equal the reciprocals obtained by evaluating the gradient for a full parameterization (and this must also equal the reciprocals that we can obtain through matrix inversion.) We have also not proved explicitly that the three parameter construction of the reciprocals in \ref{eqn:reciprocalblog:1900} is in the tangent space, but that is a fairly trivial observation, so that can be left as an exercise for the reader dismissal. Some additional thought about this is probably required, but it seems reasonable to put that on the back burner and move on to some applications.

References

[1] Peeter Joot. Geometric Algebra for Electrical Engineers. Kindle Direct Publishing, 2019.

Maxwell’s equation Lagrangian (geometric algebra and tensor formalism)

November 1, 2020 math and physics play 1 comment , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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Maxwell’s equation using geometric algebra Lagrangian.

Motivation.

In my classical mechanics notes, I’ve got computations of Maxwell’s equation (singular in it’s geometric algebra form) from a Lagrangian in various ways (using a tensor, scalar and multivector Lagrangians), but all of these seem more convoluted than they should be.
Here we do this from scratch, starting with the action principle for field variables, covering:

  • Derivation of the relativistic form of the Euler-Lagrange field equations from the covariant form of the action,
  • Derivation of Maxwell’s equation (in it’s STA form) from the Maxwell Lagrangian,
  • Relationship of the STA Maxwell Lagrangian to the tensor equivalent,
  • Relationship of the STA form of Maxwell’s equation to it’s tensor equivalents,
  • Relationship of the STA Maxwell’s equation to it’s conventional Gibbs form.
  • Show that we may use a multivector valued Lagrangian with all of \( F^2 \), not just the scalar part.

It is assumed that the reader is thoroughly familiar with the STA formalism, and if that is not the case, there is no better reference than [1].

Field action.

Theorem 1.1: Relativistic Euler-Lagrange field equations.

Let \( \phi \rightarrow \phi + \delta \phi \) be any variation of the field, such that the variation
\( \delta \phi = 0 \) vanishes at the boundaries of the action integral
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:maxwells:2120}
S = \int d^4 x \LL(\phi, \partial_\nu \phi).
\end{equation}
The extreme value of the action is found when the Euler-Lagrange equations
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:maxwells:2140}
0 = \PD{\phi}{\LL} – \partial_\nu \PD{(\partial_\nu \phi)}{\LL},
\end{equation}
are satisfied. For a Lagrangian with multiple field variables, there will be one such equation for each field.

Start proof:

To ease the visual burden, designate the variation of the field by \( \delta \phi = \epsilon \), and perform a first order expansion of the varied Lagrangian
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:maxwells:20}
\begin{aligned}
\LL
&\rightarrow
\LL(\phi + \epsilon, \partial_\nu (\phi + \epsilon)) \\
&=
\LL(\phi, \partial_\nu \phi)
+
\PD{\phi}{\LL} \epsilon +
\PD{(\partial_\nu \phi)}{\LL} \partial_\nu \epsilon.
\end{aligned}
\end{equation}
The variation of the Lagrangian is
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:maxwells:40}
\begin{aligned}
\delta \LL
&=
\PD{\phi}{\LL} \epsilon +
\PD{(\partial_\nu \phi)}{\LL} \partial_\nu \epsilon \\
&=
\PD{\phi}{\LL} \epsilon +
\partial_\nu \lr{ \PD{(\partial_\nu \phi)}{\LL} \epsilon }

\epsilon \partial_\nu \PD{(\partial_\nu \phi)}{\LL},
\end{aligned}
\end{equation}
which we may plug into the action integral to find
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:maxwells:60}
\delta S
=
\int d^4 x \epsilon \lr{
\PD{\phi}{\LL}

\partial_\nu \PD{(\partial_\nu \phi)}{\LL}
}
+
\int d^4 x
\partial_\nu \lr{ \PD{(\partial_\nu \phi)}{\LL} \epsilon }.
\end{equation}
The last integral can be evaluated along the \( dx^\nu \) direction, leaving
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:maxwells:80}
\int d^3 x
\evalbar{ \PD{(\partial_\nu \phi)}{\LL} \epsilon }{\Delta x^\nu},
\end{equation}
where \( d^3 x = dx^\alpha dx^\beta dx^\gamma \) is the product of differentials that does not include \( dx^\nu \). By construction, \( \epsilon \) vanishes on the boundary of the action integral so \ref{eqn:maxwells:80} is zero. The action takes its extreme value when
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:maxwells:100}
0 = \delta S
=
\int d^4 x \epsilon \lr{
\PD{\phi}{\LL}

\partial_\nu \PD{(\partial_\nu \phi)}{\LL}
}.
\end{equation}
The proof is complete after noting that this must hold for all variations of the field \( \epsilon \), which means that we must have
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:maxwells:120}
0 =
\PD{\phi}{\LL}

\partial_\nu \PD{(\partial_\nu \phi)}{\LL}.
\end{equation}

End proof.

Armed with the Euler-Lagrange equations, we can apply them to the Maxwell’s equation Lagrangian, which we will claim has the following form.

Theorem 1.2: Maxwell’s equation Lagrangian.

Application of the Euler-Lagrange equations to the Lagrangian
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:maxwells:2160}
\LL = – \frac{\epsilon_0 c}{2} F \cdot F + J \cdot A,
\end{equation}
where \( F = \grad \wedge A \), yields the vector portion of Maxwell’s equation
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:maxwells:2180}
\grad \cdot F = \inv{\epsilon_0 c} J,
\end{equation}
which implies
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:maxwells:2200}
\grad F = \inv{\epsilon_0 c} J.
\end{equation}
This is Maxwell’s equation.

Start proof:

We wish to apply all of the Euler-Lagrange equations simultaneously (i.e. once for each of the four \(A_\mu\) components of the potential), and cast it into four-vector form
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:maxwells:140}
0 = \gamma_\nu \lr{ \PD{A_\nu}{} – \partial_\mu \PD{(\partial_\mu A_\nu)}{} } \LL.
\end{equation}
Since our Lagrangian splits nicely into kinetic and interaction terms, this gives us
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:maxwells:160}
0 = \gamma_\nu \lr{ \PD{A_\nu}{(A \cdot J)} + \frac{\epsilon_0 c}{2} \partial_\mu \PD{(\partial_\mu A_\nu)}{ (F \cdot F)} }.
\end{equation}
The interaction term above is just
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:maxwells:180}
\gamma_\nu \PD{A_\nu}{(A \cdot J)}
=
\gamma_\nu \PD{A_\nu}{(A_\mu J^\mu)}
=
\gamma_\nu J^\nu
=
J,
\end{equation}
but the kinetic term takes a bit more work. Let’s start with evaluating
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:maxwells:200}
\begin{aligned}
\PD{(\partial_\mu A_\nu)}{ (F \cdot F)}
&=
\PD{(\partial_\mu A_\nu)}{ F } \cdot F
+
F \cdot \PD{(\partial_\mu A_\nu)}{ F } \\
&=
2 \PD{(\partial_\mu A_\nu)}{ F } \cdot F \\
&=
2 \PD{(\partial_\mu A_\nu)}{ (\partial_\alpha A_\beta) } \lr{ \gamma^\alpha \wedge \gamma^\beta } \cdot F \\
&=
2 \lr{ \gamma^\mu \wedge \gamma^\nu } \cdot F.
\end{aligned}
\end{equation}
We hit this with the \(\mu\)-partial and expand as a scalar selection to find
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:maxwells:220}
\begin{aligned}
\partial_\mu \PD{(\partial_\mu A_\nu)}{ (F \cdot F)}
&=
2 \lr{ \partial_\mu \gamma^\mu \wedge \gamma^\nu } \cdot F \\
&=
– 2 (\gamma^\nu \wedge \grad) \cdot F \\
&=
– 2 \gpgradezero{ (\gamma^\nu \wedge \grad) F } \\
&=
– 2 \gpgradezero{ \gamma^\nu \grad F – \gamma^\nu \cdot \grad F } \\
&=
– 2 \gamma^\nu \cdot \lr{ \grad \cdot F }.
\end{aligned}
\end{equation}
Putting all the pieces together yields
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:maxwells:240}
0
= J – \epsilon_0 c \gamma_\nu \lr{ \gamma^\nu \cdot \lr{ \grad \cdot F } }
= J – \epsilon_0 c \lr{ \grad \cdot F },
\end{equation}
but
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:maxwells:260}
\begin{aligned}
\grad \cdot F
&=
\grad F – \grad \wedge F \\
&=
\grad F – \grad \wedge (\grad \wedge A) \\
&=
\grad F,
\end{aligned}
\end{equation}
so the multivector field equations for this Lagrangian are
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:maxwells:280}
\grad F = \inv{\epsilon_0 c} J,
\end{equation}
as claimed.

End proof.

Problem: Correspondence with tensor formalism.

Cast the Lagrangian of \ref{eqn:maxwells:2160} into the conventional tensor form
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:maxwells:300}
\LL = \frac{\epsilon_0 c}{4} F_{\mu\nu} F^{\mu\nu} + A^\mu J_\mu.
\end{equation}
Also show that the four-vector component of Maxwell’s equation \( \grad \cdot F = J/(\epsilon_0 c) \) is equivalent to the conventional tensor form of the Gauss-Ampere law
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:maxwells:320}
\partial_\mu F^{\mu\nu} = \inv{\epsilon_0 c} J^\nu,
\end{equation}
where \( F^{\mu\nu} = \partial^\mu A^\nu – \partial^\nu A^\mu \) as usual. Also show that the trivector component of Maxwell’s equation \( \grad \wedge F = 0 \) is equivalent to the tensor form of the Gauss-Faraday law
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:maxwells:340}
\partial_\alpha \lr{ \epsilon^{\alpha \beta \mu \nu} F_{\mu\nu} } = 0.
\end{equation}

Answer

To show the Lagrangian correspondence we must expand \( F \cdot F \) in coordinates
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:maxwells:360}
\begin{aligned}
F \cdot F
&=
( \grad \wedge A ) \cdot
( \grad \wedge A ) \\
&=
\lr{ (\gamma^\mu \partial_\mu) \wedge (\gamma^\nu A_\nu) }
\cdot
\lr{ (\gamma^\alpha \partial_\alpha) \wedge (\gamma^\beta A_\beta) } \\
&=
\lr{ \gamma^\mu \wedge \gamma^\nu } \cdot \lr{ \gamma_\alpha \wedge \gamma_\beta }
(\partial_\mu A_\nu )
(\partial^\alpha A^\beta ) \\
&=
\lr{
{\delta^\mu}_\beta
{\delta^\nu}_\alpha

{\delta^\mu}_\alpha
{\delta^\nu}_\beta
}
(\partial_\mu A_\nu )
(\partial^\alpha A^\beta ) \\
&=
– \partial_\mu A_\nu \lr{
\partial^\mu A^\nu

\partial^\nu A^\mu
} \\
&=
– \partial_\mu A_\nu F^{\mu\nu} \\
&=
– \inv{2} \lr{
\partial_\mu A_\nu F^{\mu\nu}
+
\partial_\nu A_\mu F^{\nu\mu}
} \\
&=
– \inv{2} \lr{
\partial_\mu A_\nu

\partial_\nu A_\mu
}
F^{\mu\nu} \\
&=

\inv{2}
F_{\mu\nu}
F^{\mu\nu}.
\end{aligned}
\end{equation}
With a substitution of this and \( A \cdot J = A_\mu J^\mu \) back into the Lagrangian, we recover the tensor form of the Lagrangian.

To recover the tensor form of Maxwell’s equation, we first split it into vector and trivector parts
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:maxwells:1580}
\grad \cdot F + \grad \wedge F = \inv{\epsilon_0 c} J.
\end{equation}
Now the vector component may be expanded in coordinates by dotting both sides with \( \gamma^\nu \) to find
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:maxwells:1600}
\inv{\epsilon_0 c} \gamma^\nu \cdot J = J^\nu,
\end{equation}
and
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:maxwells:1620}
\begin{aligned}
\gamma^\nu \cdot
\lr{ \grad \cdot F }
&=
\partial_\mu \gamma^\nu \cdot \lr{ \gamma^\mu \cdot \lr{ \gamma_\alpha \wedge \gamma_\beta } \partial^\alpha A^\beta } \\
&=
\lr{
{\delta^\mu}_\alpha
{\delta^\nu}_\beta

{\delta^\nu}_\alpha
{\delta^\mu}_\beta
}
\partial_\mu
\partial^\alpha A^\beta \\
&=
\partial_\mu
\lr{
\partial^\mu A^\nu

\partial^\nu A^\mu
} \\
&=
\partial_\mu F^{\mu\nu}.
\end{aligned}
\end{equation}
Equating \ref{eqn:maxwells:1600} and \ref{eqn:maxwells:1620} finishes the first part of the job. For the trivector component, we have
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:maxwells:1640}
0
= \grad \wedge F
= (\gamma^\mu \partial_\mu) \wedge \lr{ \gamma^\alpha \wedge \gamma^\beta } \partial_\alpha A_\beta
= \inv{2} (\gamma^\mu \partial_\mu) \wedge \lr{ \gamma^\alpha \wedge \gamma^\beta } F_{\alpha \beta}.
\end{equation}
Wedging with \( \gamma^\tau \) and then multiplying by \( -2 I \) we find
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:maxwells:1660}
0 = – \lr{ \gamma^\mu \wedge \gamma^\alpha \wedge \gamma^\beta \wedge \gamma^\tau } I \partial_\mu F_{\alpha \beta},
\end{equation}
but
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:maxwells:1680}
\gamma^\mu \wedge \gamma^\alpha \wedge \gamma^\beta \wedge \gamma^\tau = -I \epsilon^{\mu \alpha \beta \tau},
\end{equation}
which leaves us with
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:maxwells:1700}
\epsilon^{\mu \alpha \beta \tau} \partial_\mu F_{\alpha \beta} = 0,
\end{equation}
as expected.

Problem: Correspondence of tensor and Gibbs forms of Maxwell’s equations.

Given the identifications

\begin{equation}\label{eqn:lorentzForceCovariant:1500}
F^{k0} = E^k,
\end{equation}
and
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:lorentzForceCovariant:1520}
F^{rs} = -\epsilon^{rst} B^t,
\end{equation}
and
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:maxwells:1560}
J^\mu = \lr{ c \rho, \BJ },
\end{equation}
the reader should satisfy themselves that the traditional Gibbs form of Maxwell’s equations can be recovered from \ref{eqn:maxwells:320}.

Answer

The reader is referred to Exercise 3.4 “Electrodynamics, variational principle.” from [2].

Problem: Correspondence with grad and curl form of Maxwell’s equations.

With \( J = c \rho \gamma_0 + J^k \gamma_k \) and \( F = \BE + I c \BB \) show that Maxwell’s equation, as stated in \ref{eqn:maxwells:2200} expand to the conventional div and curl expressions for Maxwell’s equations.

Answer

To obtain Maxwell’s equations in their traditional vector forms, we pre-multiply both sides with \( \gamma_0 \)
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:maxwells:1720}
\gamma_0 \grad F = \inv{\epsilon_0 c} \gamma_0 J,
\end{equation}
and then select each grade separately. First observe that the RHS above has scalar and bivector components, as
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:maxwells:1740}
\gamma_0 J
=
c \rho + J^k \gamma_0 \gamma_k.
\end{equation}
In terms of the spatial bivector basis \( \Be_k = \gamma_k \gamma_0 \), the RHS of \ref{eqn:maxwells:1720} is
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:maxwells:1760}
\gamma_0 \frac{J}{\epsilon_0 c} = \frac{\rho}{\epsilon_0} – \mu_0 c \BJ.
\end{equation}
For the LHS, first note that
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:maxwells:1780}
\begin{aligned}
\gamma_0 \grad
&=
\gamma_0
\lr{
\gamma_0 \partial^0 +
\gamma_k \partial^k
} \\
&=
\partial_0 – \gamma_0 \gamma_k \partial_k \\
&=
\inv{c} \PD{t}{} + \spacegrad.
\end{aligned}
\end{equation}
We can express all the the LHS of \ref{eqn:maxwells:1720} in the bivector spatial basis, so that Maxwell’s equation in multivector form is
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:maxwells:1800}
\lr{ \inv{c} \PD{t}{} + \spacegrad } \lr{ \BE + I c \BB } = \frac{\rho}{\epsilon_0} – \mu_0 c \BJ.
\end{equation}
Selecting the scalar, vector, bivector, and trivector grades of both sides (in the spatial basis) gives the following set of respective equations
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:maxwells:1840}
\spacegrad \cdot \BE = \frac{\rho}{\epsilon_0}
\end{equation}
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:maxwells:1860}
\inv{c} \partial_t \BE + I c \spacegrad \wedge \BB = – \mu_0 c \BJ
\end{equation}
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:maxwells:1880}
\spacegrad \wedge \BE + I \partial_t \BB = 0
\end{equation}
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:maxwells:1900}
I c \spacegrad \cdot B = 0,
\end{equation}
which we can rewrite after some duality transformations (and noting that \( \mu_0 \epsilon_0 c^2 = 1 \)), we have
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:maxwells:1940}
\spacegrad \cdot \BE = \frac{\rho}{\epsilon_0}
\end{equation}
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:maxwells:1960}
\spacegrad \cross \BB – \mu_0 \epsilon_0 \PD{t}{\BE} = \mu_0 \BJ
\end{equation}
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:maxwells:1980}
\spacegrad \cross \BE + \PD{t}{\BB} = 0
\end{equation}
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:maxwells:2000}
\spacegrad \cdot B = 0,
\end{equation}
which are Maxwell’s equations in their traditional form.

Problem: Alternative multivector Lagrangian.

Show that a scalar+pseudoscalar Lagrangian of the following form
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:maxwells:2220}
\LL = – \frac{\epsilon_0 c}{2} F^2 + J \cdot A,
\end{equation}
which omits the scalar selection of the Lagrangian in \ref{eqn:maxwells:2160}, also represents Maxwell’s equation. Discuss the scalar and pseudoscalar components of \( F^2 \), and show why the pseudoscalar inclusion is irrelevant.

Answer

The quantity \( F^2 = F \cdot F + F \wedge F \) has both scalar and pseudoscalar
components. Note that unlike vectors, a bivector wedge in 4D with itself need not be zero (example: \( \gamma_0 \gamma_1 + \gamma_2 \gamma_3 \) wedged with itself).
We can see this multivector nature nicely by expansion in terms of the electric and magnetic fields
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:maxwells:2020}
\begin{aligned}
F^2
&= \lr{ \BE + I c \BB }^2 \\
&= \BE^2 – c^2 \BB^2 + I c \lr{ \BE \BB + \BB \BE } \\
&= \BE^2 – c^2 \BB^2 + 2 I c \BE \cdot \BB.
\end{aligned}
\end{equation}
Both the scalar and pseudoscalar parts of \( F^2 \) are Lorentz invariant, a requirement of our Lagrangian, but most Maxwell equation Lagrangians only include the scalar \( \BE^2 – c^2 \BB^2 \) component of the field square. If we allow the Lagrangian to be multivector valued, and evaluate the Euler-Lagrange equations, we quickly find the same results
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:maxwells:2040}
\begin{aligned}
0
&= \gamma_\nu \lr{ \PD{A_\nu}{} – \partial_\mu \PD{(\partial_\mu A_\nu)}{} } \LL \\
&= \gamma_\nu \lr{ J^\nu + \frac{\epsilon_0 c}{2} \partial_\mu
\lr{
(\gamma^\mu \wedge \gamma^\nu) F
+
F (\gamma^\mu \wedge \gamma^\nu)
}
}.
\end{aligned}
\end{equation}
Here some steps are skipped, building on our previous scalar Euler-Lagrange evaluation experience. We have a symmetric product of two bivectors, which we can express as a 0,4 grade selection, since
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:maxwells:2060}
\gpgrade{ X F }{0,4} = \inv{2} \lr{ X F + F X },
\end{equation}
for any two bivectors \( X, F \). This leaves
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:maxwells:2080}
\begin{aligned}
0
&= J + \epsilon_0 c \gamma_\nu \gpgrade{ (\grad \wedge \gamma^\nu) F }{0,4} \\
&= J + \epsilon_0 c \gamma_\nu \gpgrade{ -\gamma^\nu \grad F + (\gamma^\nu \cdot \grad) F }{0,4} \\
&= J + \epsilon_0 c \gamma_\nu \gpgrade{ -\gamma^\nu \grad F }{0,4} \\
&= J – \epsilon_0 c \gamma_\nu
\lr{
\gamma^\nu \cdot \lr{ \grad \cdot F } + \gamma^\nu \wedge \grad \wedge F
}.
\end{aligned}
\end{equation}
However, since \( \grad \wedge F = \grad \wedge \grad \wedge A = 0 \), we see that there is no contribution from the \( F \wedge F \) pseudoscalar component of the Lagrangian, and we are left with
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:maxwells:2100}
\begin{aligned}
0
&= J – \epsilon_0 c (\grad \cdot F) \\
&= J – \epsilon_0 c \grad F,
\end{aligned}
\end{equation}
which is Maxwell’s equation, as before.

References

[1] C. Doran and A.N. Lasenby. Geometric algebra for physicists. Cambridge University Press New York, Cambridge, UK, 1st edition, 2003.

[2] Peeter Joot. Quantum field theory. Kindle Direct Publishing, 2018.

Lagrangian for the Lorentz force equation.

October 24, 2020 math and physics play No comments , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

[Click here for a PDF of this post with nicer formatting]

Motivation.

In my old classical mechanics notes it appears that I did covariant derivations of the Lorentz force equations a number of times, using different trial Lagrangians (relativistic and non-relativistic), and using both geometric algebra and tensor methods. However, none of these appear to have been done concisely, and a number not even coherently.

The following document has been drafted as replacement text for those incoherent classical mechanics notes. I’ll attempt to cover

  • a lighting review of the geometric algebra STA (Space Time Algebra),
  • relations between Dirac matrix algebra and STA,
  • derivation of the relativistic form of the Euler-Lagrange equations from the covariant form of the action,
  • relationship of the STA form of the Euler-Lagrange equations to their tensor equivalents,
  • derivation of the Lorentz force equation from the STA Lorentz force Lagrangian,
  • relationship of the STA Lorentz force equation to its equivalent in the tensor formalism,
  • relationship of the STA Lorentz force equation to the traditional vector form.

Note that some of the prerequisite ideas and auxiliary details are presented as problems with solutions. If the reader has sufficient background to attempt those problems themselves, they are encouraged to do so.

The STA and geometric algebra ideas used here are not complete to learn from in isolation. The reader is referred to [1] for a more complete exposition of both STA and geometric algebra.

Conventions.

Definition 1.1: Index conventions.

Latin indexes \( i, j, k, r, s, t, \cdots \) are used to designate values in the range \( \setlr{ 1,2,3 } \). Greek indexes are \( \alpha, \beta, \mu, \nu, \cdots \) are used for indexes of spacetime quantities \( \setlr{0,1,2,3} \).
The Einstein convention of implied summation for mixed upper and lower Greek indexes will be used, for example
\begin{equation*}
x^\alpha x_\alpha \equiv \sum_{\alpha = 0}^3 x^\alpha x_\alpha.
\end{equation*}

Space Time Algebra (STA.)

In the geometric algebra literature, the Dirac algebra of quantum field theory has been rebranded Space Time Algebra (STA). The differences between STA and the Dirac theory that uses matrices (\( \gamma_\mu \)) are as follows

  • STA completely omits any representation of the Dirac basis vectors \( \gamma_\mu \). In particular, any possible matrix representation is irrelevant.
  • STA provides a rich set of fundamental operations (grade selection, generalized dot and wedge products for multivector elements, rotation and reflection operations, …)
  • Matrix trace, and commutator and anticommutator operations are nowhere to be found in STA, as geometrically grounded equivalents are available instead.
  • The “slashed” quantities from Dirac theory, such as \( \gamma_\mu p^\mu \) are nothing more than vectors in their entirety in STA (where the basis is no longer implicit, as is the case for coordinates.)

Our basis vectors have the following properties.

Definition 1.2: Standard basis.

Let the four-vector standard basis be designated \( \setlr{\gamma_0, \gamma_1, \gamma_2, \gamma_3 } \), where the basis vectors satisfy
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:lorentzForceCovariant:1540}
\begin{aligned}
\gamma_0^2 &= -\gamma_i^2 = 1 \\
\gamma_\alpha \cdot \gamma_\beta &= 0, \forall \alpha \ne \beta.
\end{aligned}
\end{equation}

Problem: Commutator properties of the STA basis.

In Dirac theory, the commutator properties of the Dirac matrices is considered fundamental, namely
\begin{equation*}
\symmetric{\gamma_\mu}{\gamma_\nu} = 2 \eta_{\mu\nu}.
\end{equation*}

Show that this follows from the axiomatic assumptions of geometric algebra, and describe how the dot and wedge products are related to the anticommutator and commutator products of Dirac theory.

Answer

The anticommutator is defined as symmetric sum of products
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:lorentzForceCovariant:1040}
\symmetric{\gamma_\mu}{\gamma_\nu}
\equiv
\gamma_\mu \gamma_\nu
+
\gamma_\nu \gamma_\mu,
\end{equation}
but this is just twice the dot product in its geometric algebra form \( a b = (a b + ba)/2 \). Observe that the properties of the basis vectors defined in \ref{eqn:lorentzForceCovariant:1540} may be summarized as
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:lorentzForceCovariant:1060}
\gamma_\mu \cdot \gamma_\nu = \eta_{\mu\nu},
\end{equation}
where \( \eta_{\mu\nu} = \text{diag}(+,-,-,-)
=
\begin{bmatrix}
1 & 0 & 0 & 0 \\
0 & -1 & 0 & 0 \\
0 & 0 & -1 & 0 \\
0 & 0 & 0 & -1 \\
\end{bmatrix}
\) is the conventional metric tensor. This means
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:lorentzForceCovariant:1080}
\gamma_\mu \cdot \gamma_\nu = \eta_{\mu\nu} = 2 \symmetric{\gamma_\mu}{\gamma_\nu},
\end{equation}
as claimed.

Similarly, observe that the commutator, defined as the antisymmetric sum of products
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:lorentzForceCovariant:1100}
\antisymmetric{\gamma_\mu}{\gamma_\nu} \equiv
\gamma_\mu \gamma_\nu

\gamma_\nu \gamma_\mu,
\end{equation}
is twice the wedge product \( a \wedge b = (a b – b a)/2 \). This provides geometric identifications for the respective anti-commutator and commutator products respectively
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:lorentzForceCovariant:1120}
\begin{aligned}
\symmetric{\gamma_\mu}{\gamma_\nu} &= 2 \gamma_\mu \cdot \gamma_\nu \\
\antisymmetric{\gamma_\mu}{\gamma_\nu} &= 2 \gamma_\mu \wedge \gamma_\nu,
\end{aligned}
\end{equation}

Definition 1.3: Pseudoscalar.

The pseudoscalar for the space is denoted \( I = \gamma_0 \gamma_1 \gamma_2 \gamma_3 \).

Problem: Pseudoscalar.

Show that the STA pseudoscalar \( I \) defined by \ref{eqn:lorentzForceCovariant:1540} satisfies
\begin{equation*}
\tilde{I} = I,
\end{equation*}
where the tilde operator designates reversion. Also show that \( I \) has the properties of an imaginary number
\begin{equation*}
I^2 = -1.
\end{equation*}
Finally, show that, unlike the spatial pseudoscalar that commutes with all grades, \( I \) anticommutes with any vector or trivector, and commutes with any bivector.

Answer

Since \( \gamma_\alpha \gamma_\beta = -\gamma_\beta \gamma_\alpha \) for any \( \alpha \ne \beta \), any permutation of the factors of \( I \) changes the sign once. In particular
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:lorentzForceCovariant:680}
\begin{aligned}
I &=
\gamma_0
\gamma_1
\gamma_2
\gamma_3 \\
&=

\gamma_1
\gamma_2
\gamma_3
\gamma_0 \\
&=

\gamma_2
\gamma_3
\gamma_1
\gamma_0 \\
&=
+
\gamma_3
\gamma_2
\gamma_1
\gamma_0
= \tilde{I}.
\end{aligned}
\end{equation}
Using this, we have
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:lorentzForceCovariant:700}
\begin{aligned}
I^2
&= I \tilde{I} \\
&=
(
\gamma_0
\gamma_1
\gamma_2
\gamma_3
)(
\gamma_3
\gamma_2
\gamma_1
\gamma_0
) \\
&=
\lr{\gamma_0}^2
\lr{\gamma_1}^2
\lr{\gamma_2}^2
\lr{\gamma_3}^2 \\
&=
(+1)
(-1)
(-1)
(-1) \\
&= -1.
\end{aligned}
\end{equation}
To illustrate the anticommutation property with any vector basis element, consider the following two examples:
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:lorentzForceCovariant:720}
\begin{aligned}
I \gamma_0 &=
\gamma_0
\gamma_1
\gamma_2
\gamma_3
\gamma_0 \\
&=

\gamma_0
\gamma_0
\gamma_1
\gamma_2
\gamma_3 \\
&=

\gamma_0 I,
\end{aligned}
\end{equation}
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:lorentzForceCovariant:740}
\begin{aligned}
I \gamma_2
&=
\gamma_0
\gamma_1
\gamma_2
\gamma_3
\gamma_2 \\
&=

\gamma_0
\gamma_1
\gamma_2
\gamma_2
\gamma_3 \\
&=

\gamma_2
\gamma_0
\gamma_1
\gamma_2
\gamma_3 \\
&= -\gamma_2 I.
\end{aligned}
\end{equation}
A total of three sign swaps is required to “percolate” any given \(\gamma_\alpha\) through the factors of \( I \), resulting in an overall sign change of \( -1 \).

For any bivector basis element \( \alpha \ne \beta \)
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:lorentzForceCovariant:760}
\begin{aligned}
I \gamma_\alpha \gamma_\beta
&=
-\gamma_\alpha I \gamma_\beta \\
&=
+\gamma_\alpha \gamma_\beta I.
\end{aligned}
\end{equation}

Similarly for any trivector basis element \( \alpha \ne \beta \ne \sigma \)
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:lorentzForceCovariant:780}
\begin{aligned}
I \gamma_\alpha \gamma_\beta \gamma_\sigma
&=
-\gamma_\alpha I \gamma_\beta \gamma_\sigma \\
&=
+\gamma_\alpha \gamma_\beta I \gamma_\sigma \\
&=
-\gamma_\alpha \gamma_\beta \gamma_\sigma I.
\end{aligned}
\end{equation}

Definition 1.4: Reciprocal basis.

The reciprocal basis \( \setlr{ \gamma^0, \gamma^1, \gamma^2, \gamma^3 } \) is defined , such that the property \( \gamma^\alpha \cdot \gamma_\beta = {\delta^\alpha}_\beta \) holds.

Observe that, \( \gamma^0 = \gamma_0 \) and \( \gamma^i = -\gamma_i \).

Theorem 1.1: Coordinates.

Coordinates are defined in terms of dot products with the standard basis, or reciprocal basis
\begin{equation*}
\begin{aligned}
x^\alpha &= x \cdot \gamma^\alpha \\
x_\alpha &= x \cdot \gamma_\alpha,
\end{aligned}
\end{equation*}

Start proof:

Suppose that a coordinate representation of the following form is assumed
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:lorentzForceCovariant:820}
x = x^\alpha \gamma_\alpha = x_\beta \gamma^\beta.
\end{equation}
We wish to determine the representation of the \( x^\alpha \) or \( x_\beta \) coordinates in terms of \( x\) and the basis elements. Taking the dot product with any standard basis element, we find
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:lorentzForceCovariant:840}
\begin{aligned}
x \cdot \gamma_\mu
&= (x_\beta \gamma^\beta) \cdot \gamma_\mu \\
&= x_\beta {\delta^\beta}_\mu \\
&= x_\mu,
\end{aligned}
\end{equation}
as claimed. Similarly, dotting with a reciprocal frame vector, we find
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:lorentzForceCovariant:860}
\begin{aligned}
x \cdot \gamma^\mu
&= (x^\beta \gamma_\beta) \cdot \gamma^\mu \\
&= x^\beta {\delta_\beta}^\mu \\
&= x^\mu.
\end{aligned}
\end{equation}

End proof.

Observe that raising or lowering the index of a spatial index toggles the sign of a coordinate, but timelike indexes are left unchanged.
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:lorentzForceCovariant:880}
\begin{aligned}
x^0 &= x_0 \\
x^i &= -x_i \\
\end{aligned}
\end{equation}

Definition 1.5: Spacetime gradient.

The spacetime gradient operator is
\begin{equation*}
\grad = \gamma^\mu \partial_\mu = \gamma_\nu \partial^\nu,
\end{equation*}
where
\begin{equation*}
\partial_\mu = \PD{x^\mu}{},
\end{equation*}
and
\begin{equation*}
\partial^\mu = \PD{x_\mu}{}.
\end{equation*}

This definition of gradient is consistent with the Dirac gradient (sometimes denoted as a slashed \(\partial\)).

Definition 1.6: Timelike and spacelike components of a four-vector.

Given a four vector \( x = \gamma_\mu x^\mu \), that would be designated \( x^\mu = \setlr{ x^0, \Bx} \) in conventional special relativity, we write
\begin{equation*}
x^0 = x \cdot \gamma_0,
\end{equation*}
and
\begin{equation*}
\Bx = x \wedge \gamma_0,
\end{equation*}
or
\begin{equation*}
x = (x^0 + \Bx) \gamma_0.
\end{equation*}

The spacetime split of a four-vector \( x \) is relative to the frame. In the relativistic lingo, one would say that it is “observer dependent”, as the same operations with \( {\gamma_0}’ \), the timelike basis vector for a different frame, would yield a different set of coordinates.

While the dot and wedge products above provide an effective mechanism to split a four vector into a set of timelike and spacelike quantities, the spatial component of a vector has a bivector representation in STA. Consider the following coordinate expansion of a spatial vector
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:lorentzForceCovariant:1000}
\Bx =
x \wedge \gamma_0
=
\lr{ x^\mu \gamma_\mu } \wedge \gamma_0
=
\sum_{k = 1}^3 x^k \gamma_k \gamma_0.
\end{equation}

Definition 1.7: Spatial basis.

We designate
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:lorentzForceCovariant:1560}
\Be_i = \gamma_i \gamma_0,
\end{equation}
as the standard basis vectors for \(\mathbb{R}^3\).

In the literature, this bivector representation of the spatial basis may be designated \( \sigma_i = \gamma_i \gamma_0 \), as these bivectors have the properties of the Pauli matrices \( \sigma_i \). Because I intend to expand these notes to include purely non-relativistic applications, I won’t use the Pauli notation here.

Problem: Orthonormality of the spatial basis.

Show that the spatial basis \( \setlr{ \Be_1, \Be_2, \Be_3 } \), defined by \ref{eqn:lorentzForceCovariant:1560}, is orthonormal.

Answer

\begin{equation}\label{eqn:lorentzForceCovariant:620}
\begin{aligned}
\Be_i \cdot \Be_j
&= \gpgradezero{ \gamma_i \gamma_0 \gamma_j \gamma_0 } \\
&= -\gpgradezero{ \gamma_i \gamma_j } \\
&= – \gamma_i \cdot \gamma_j.
\end{aligned}
\end{equation}
This is zero for all \( i \ne j \), and unity for any \( i = j \).

Problem: Spatial pseudoscalar.

Show that the STA pseudoscalar \( I = \gamma_0 \gamma_1 \gamma_2 \gamma_3 \) equals the spatial pseudoscalar \( I = \Be_1 \Be_2 \Be_3 \).

Answer

The spatial pseudoscalar, expanded in terms of the STA basis vectors, is
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:lorentzForceCovariant:1020}
\begin{aligned}
I
&= \Be_1 \Be_2 \Be_3 \\
&= \lr{ \gamma_1 \gamma_0 }
\lr{ \gamma_2 \gamma_0 }
\lr{ \gamma_3 \gamma_0 } \\
&= \lr{ \gamma_1 \gamma_0 } \gamma_2 \lr{ \gamma_0 \gamma_3 } \gamma_0 \\
&= \lr{ -\gamma_0 \gamma_1 } \gamma_2 \lr{ -\gamma_3 \gamma_0 } \gamma_0 \\
&= \gamma_0 \gamma_1 \gamma_2 \gamma_3 \lr{ \gamma_0 \gamma_0 } \\
&= \gamma_0 \gamma_1 \gamma_2 \gamma_3,
\end{aligned}
\end{equation}
as claimed.

Problem: Characteristics of the Pauli matrices.

The Pauli matrices obey the following anticommutation relations:
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:lorentzForceCovariant:660}
\symmetric{ \sigma_a}{\sigma_b } = 2 \delta_{a b},
\end{equation}
and commutation relations:
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:lorentzForceCovariant:640}
\antisymmetric{ \sigma_a}{ \sigma_b } = 2 i \epsilon_{a b c}\,\sigma_c,
\end{equation}
Show how these relate to the geometric algebra dot and wedge products, and determine the geometric algebra representation of the imaginary \( i \) above.

Euler-Lagrange equations.

I’ll start at ground zero, with the derivation of the relativistic form of the Euler-Lagrange equations from the action. A relativistic action for a single particle system has the form
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:lorentzForceCovariant:20}
S = \int d\tau L(x, \dot{x}),
\end{equation}
where \( x \) is the spacetime coordinate, \( \dot{x} = dx/d\tau \) is the four-velocity, and \( \tau \) is proper time.

Theorem 1.2: Relativistic Euler-Lagrange equations.

Let \( x \rightarrow x + \delta x \) be any variation of the Lagrangian four-vector coordinates, where \( \delta x = 0 \) at the boundaries of the action integral. The variation of the action is
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:lorentzForceCovariant:1580}
\delta S = \int d\tau \delta x \cdot \delta L(x, \dot{x}),
\end{equation}
where
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:lorentzForceCovariant:1600}
\delta L = \grad L – \frac{d}{d\tau} (\grad_v L),
\end{equation}
where \( \grad = \gamma^\mu \partial_\mu \), and where we construct a similar velocity-gradient with respect to the proper-time derivatives of the coordinates \( \grad_v = \gamma^\mu \partial/\partial \dot{x}^\mu \).The action is extremized when \( \delta S = 0 \), or when \( \delta L = 0 \). This latter condition is called the Euler-Lagrange equations.

Start proof:

Let \( \epsilon = \delta x \), and expand the Lagrangian in Taylor series to first order
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:lorentzForceCovariant:60}
\begin{aligned}
S &\rightarrow S + \delta S \\
&= \int d\tau L( x + \epsilon, \dot{x} + \dot{\epsilon})
&=
\int d\tau \lr{
L(x, \dot{x}) + \epsilon \cdot \grad L + \dot{\epsilon} \cdot \grad_v L
}.
\end{aligned}
\end{equation}
Subtracting off \( S \) and integrating by parts, leaves
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:lorentzForceCovariant:80}
\delta S =
\int d\tau \epsilon \cdot \lr{
\grad L – \frac{d}{d\tau} \grad_v L
}
+
\int d\tau \frac{d}{d\tau} (\grad_v L ) \cdot \epsilon.
\end{equation}
The boundary integral
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:lorentzForceCovariant:100}
\int d\tau \frac{d}{d\tau} (\grad_v L ) \cdot \epsilon
=
\evalbar{(\grad_v L ) \cdot \epsilon}{\Delta \tau} = 0,
\end{equation}
is zero since the variation \( \epsilon \) is required to vanish on the boundaries. So, if \( \delta S = 0 \), we must have
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:lorentzForceCovariant:120}
0 =
\int d\tau \epsilon \cdot \lr{
\grad L – \frac{d}{d\tau} \grad_v L
},
\end{equation}
for all variations \( \epsilon \). Clearly, this requires that
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:lorentzForceCovariant:140}
\delta L = \grad L – \frac{d}{d\tau} (\grad_v L) = 0,
\end{equation}
or
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:lorentzForceCovariant:145}
\grad L = \frac{d}{d\tau} (\grad_v L),
\end{equation}
which is the coordinate free statement of the Euler-Lagrange equations.

End proof.

Problem: Coordinate form of the Euler-Lagrange equations.

Working in coordinates, use the action argument show that the Euler-Lagrange equations have the form
\begin{equation*}
\PD{x^\mu}{L} = \frac{d}{d\tau} \PD{\dot{x}^\mu}{L}
\end{equation*}
Observe that this is identical to the statement of \ref{eqn:lorentzForceCovariant:1600} after contraction with \( \gamma^\mu \).

Answer

In terms of coordinates, the first order Taylor expansion of the action is
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:lorentzForceCovariant:180}
\begin{aligned}
S &\rightarrow S + \delta S \\
&= \int d\tau L( x^\alpha + \epsilon^\alpha, \dot{x}^\alpha + \dot{\epsilon}^\alpha) \\
&=
\int d\tau \lr{
L(x^\alpha, \dot{x}^\alpha) + \epsilon^\mu \PD{x^\mu}{L} + \dot{\epsilon}^\mu \PD{\dot{x}^\mu}{L}
}.
\end{aligned}
\end{equation}
As before, we integrate by parts to separate out a pure boundary term
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:lorentzForceCovariant:200}
\delta S =
\int d\tau \epsilon^\mu
\lr{
\PD{x^\mu}{L} – \frac{d}{d\tau} \PD{\dot{x}^\mu}{L}
}
+
\int d\tau \frac{d}{d\tau} \lr{
\epsilon^\mu \PD{\dot{x}^\mu}{L}
}.
\end{equation}
The boundary term is killed since \( \epsilon^\mu = 0 \) at the end points of the action integral. We conclude that extremization of the action (\( \delta S = 0 \), for all \( \epsilon^\mu \)) requires
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:lorentzForceCovariant:220}
\PD{x^\mu}{L} – \frac{d}{d\tau} \PD{\dot{x}^\mu}{L} = 0.
\end{equation}

Lorentz force equation.

Theorem 1.3: Lorentz force.

The relativistic Lagrangian for a charged particle is
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:lorentzForceCovariant:1640}
L = \inv{2} m v^2 + q A \cdot v/c.
\end{equation}
Application of the Euler-Lagrange equations to this Lagrangian yields the Lorentz-force equation
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:lorentzForceCovariant:1660}
\frac{dp}{d\tau} = q F \cdot v/c,
\end{equation}
where \( p = m v \) is the proper momentum, \( F \) is the Faraday bivector \( F = \grad \wedge A \), and \( c \) is the speed of light.

Start proof:

To make life easier, let’s take advantage of the linearity of the Lagrangian, and break it into the free particle Lagrangian \( L_0 = (1/2) m v^2 \) and a potential term \( L_1 = q A \cdot v/c \). For the free particle case we have
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:lorentzForceCovariant:240}
\begin{aligned}
\delta L_0
&= \grad L_0 – \frac{d}{d\tau} (\grad_v L_0) \\
&= – \frac{d}{d\tau} (m v) \\
&= – \frac{dp}{d\tau}.
\end{aligned}
\end{equation}
For the potential contribution we have
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:lorentzForceCovariant:260}
\begin{aligned}
\delta L_1
&= \grad L_1 – \frac{d}{d\tau} (\grad_v L_1) \\
&= \frac{q}{c} \lr{ \grad (A \cdot v) – \frac{d}{d\tau} \lr{ \grad_v (A \cdot v)} } \\
&= \frac{q}{c} \lr{ \grad (A \cdot v) – \frac{dA}{d\tau} }.
\end{aligned}
\end{equation}
The proper time derivative can be evaluated using the chain rule
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:lorentzForceCovariant:280}
\frac{dA}{d\tau}
=
\frac{\partial x^\mu}{\partial \tau} \partial_\mu A
= (v \cdot \grad) A.
\end{equation}
Putting all the pieces back together we have
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:lorentzForceCovariant:300}
\begin{aligned}
0
&= \delta L \\
&=
-\frac{dp}{d\tau} + \frac{q}{c} \lr{ \grad (A \cdot v) – (v \cdot \grad) A } \\
&=
-\frac{dp}{d\tau} + \frac{q}{c} \lr{ \grad \wedge A } \cdot v.
\end{aligned}
\end{equation}

End proof.

Problem: Gradient of a squared position vector.

Show that
\begin{equation*}
\grad (a \cdot x) = a,
\end{equation*}
and
\begin{equation*}
\grad x^2 = 2 x.
\end{equation*}
It should be clear that the same ideas can be used for the velocity gradient, where we obtain \( \grad_v (v^2) = 2 v \), and \( \grad_v (A \cdot v) = A \), as used in the derivation above.

Answer

The first identity follows easily by expansion in coordinates
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:lorentzForceCovariant:320}
\begin{aligned}
\grad (a \cdot x)
&=
\gamma^\mu \partial_\mu a_\alpha x^\alpha \\
&=
\gamma^\mu a_\alpha \delta_\mu^\alpha \\
&=
\gamma^\mu a_\mu \\
&=
a.
\end{aligned}
\end{equation}
The second identity follows by linearity of the gradient
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:lorentzForceCovariant:340}
\begin{aligned}
\grad x^2
&=
\grad (x \cdot x) \\
&=
\evalbar{\lr{\grad (x \cdot a)}}{a = x}
+
\evalbar{\lr{\grad (b \cdot x)}}{b = x} \\
&=
\evalbar{a}{a = x}
+
\evalbar{b}{b = x} \\
&=
2x.
\end{aligned}
\end{equation}

It is desirable to put this relativistic Lorentz force equation into the usual vector and tensor forms for comparison.

Theorem 1.4: Tensor form of the Lorentz force equation.

The tensor form of the Lorentz force equation is
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:lorentzForceCovariant:1620}
\frac{dp^\mu}{d\tau} = \frac{q}{c} F^{\mu\nu} v_\nu,
\end{equation}
where the antisymmetric Faraday tensor is defined as \( F^{\mu\nu} = \partial^\mu A^\nu – \partial^\nu A^\mu \).

Start proof:

We have only to dot both sides with \( \gamma^\mu \). On the left we have
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:lorentzForceCovariant:380}
\gamma^\mu \cdot \frac{dp}{d\tau}
=
\frac{dp^\mu}{d\tau}.
\end{equation}
On the right, we have
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:lorentzForceCovariant:400}
\begin{aligned}
\gamma^\mu \cdot \lr{ \frac{q}{c} F \cdot v }
&=
\frac{q}{c} (( \grad \wedge A ) \cdot v ) \cdot \gamma^\mu \\
&=
\frac{q}{c} ( \grad ( A \cdot v ) – (v \cdot \grad) A ) \cdot \gamma^\mu \\
&=
\frac{q}{c} \lr{ (\partial^\mu A^\nu) v_\nu – v_\nu \partial^\nu A^\mu } \\
&=
\frac{q}{c} F^{\mu\nu} v_\nu.
\end{aligned}
\end{equation}

End proof.

Problem: Tensor expansion of \(F\).

An alternate way to demonstrate \ref{eqn:lorentzForceCovariant:1620} is to first expand \( F = \grad \wedge A \) in terms of coordinates, an expansion that can be expressed in terms of a second rank tensor antisymmetric tensor \( F^{\mu\nu} \). Find that expansion, and re-evaluate the dot products of \ref{eqn:lorentzForceCovariant:400} using that.

Answer

\begin{equation}\label{eqn:lorentzForceCovariant:900}
\begin{aligned}
F &=
\grad \wedge A \\
&=
\lr{ \gamma_\mu \partial^\mu } \wedge \lr{ \gamma_\nu A^\nu } \\
&=
\lr{ \gamma_\mu \wedge \gamma_\nu } \partial^\mu A^\nu.
\end{aligned}
\end{equation}
To this we can use the usual tensor trick (add self to self, change indexes, and divide by two), to give
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:lorentzForceCovariant:920}
\begin{aligned}
F &=
\inv{2} \lr{
\lr{ \gamma_\mu \wedge \gamma_\nu } \partial^\mu A^\nu
+
\lr{ \gamma_\nu \wedge \gamma_\mu } \partial^\nu A^\mu
} \\
&=
\inv{2}
\lr{ \gamma_\mu \wedge \gamma_\nu } \lr{
\partial^\mu A^\nu

\partial^\nu A^\mu
},
\end{aligned}
\end{equation}
which is just
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:lorentzForceCovariant:940}
F =
\inv{2} \lr{ \gamma_\mu \wedge \gamma_\nu } F^{\mu\nu}.
\end{equation}
Now, let’s expand \( (F \cdot v) \cdot \gamma^\mu \) to compare to the earlier expansion in terms of \( \grad \) and \( A \).
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:lorentzForceCovariant:960}
\begin{aligned}
(F \cdot v) \cdot \gamma^\mu
&=
\inv{2}
F^{\alpha\nu}
\lr{ \lr{ \gamma_\alpha \wedge \gamma_\nu } \cdot \lr{ \gamma^\beta v_\beta } } \cdot \gamma^\mu \\
&=
\inv{2}
F^{\alpha\nu} v_\beta
\lr{
{\delta_\nu}^\beta {\gamma_\alpha}^\mu

{\delta_\alpha}^\beta {\gamma_\nu}^\mu
} \\
&=
\inv{2}
\lr{
F^{\mu\beta} v_\beta

F^{\beta\mu} v_\beta
} \\
&=
F^{\mu\nu} v_\nu.
\end{aligned}
\end{equation}
This alternate expansion illustrates some of the connectivity between the geometric algebra approach and the traditional tensor formalism.

Problem: Lorentz force direct tensor derivation.

Instead of using the geometric algebra form of the Lorentz force equation as a stepping stone, we may derive the tensor form from the Lagrangian directly, provided the Lagrangian is put into tensor form
\begin{equation*}
L = \inv{2} m v^\mu v_\mu + q A^\mu v_\mu /c.
\end{equation*}
Evaluate the Euler-Lagrange equations in coordinate form and compare to \ref{eqn:lorentzForceCovariant:1620}.

Answer

Let \( \delta_\mu L = \gamma_\mu \cdot \delta L \), so that we can write the Euler-Lagrange equations as
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:lorentzForceCovariant:460}
0 = \delta_\mu L = \PD{x^\mu}{L} – \frac{d}{d\tau} \PD{\dot{x}^\mu}{L}.
\end{equation}
Operating on the kinetic term of the Lagrangian, we have
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:lorentzForceCovariant:480}
\delta_\mu L_0 = – \frac{d}{d\tau} m v_\mu.
\end{equation}
For the potential term
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:lorentzForceCovariant:500}
\begin{aligned}
\delta_\mu L_1
&=
\frac{q}{c} \lr{
v_\nu \PD{x^\mu}{A^\nu} – \frac{d}{d\tau} A_\mu
} \\
&=
\frac{q}{c} \lr{
v_\nu \PD{x^\mu}{A^\nu} – \frac{dx_\alpha}{d\tau} \PD{x_\alpha}{ A_\mu }
} \\
&=
\frac{q}{c} v^\nu \lr{
\partial_\mu A_\nu – \partial_\nu A_\mu
} \\
&=
\frac{q}{c} v^\nu F_{\mu\nu}.
\end{aligned}
\end{equation}
Putting the pieces together gives
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:lorentzForceCovariant:520}
\frac{d}{d\tau} (m v_\mu) = \frac{q}{c} v^\nu F_{\mu\nu},
\end{equation}
which is identical\footnote{Some minor index raising and lowering gymnastics are required.} to the tensor form that we found by expanding the geometric algebra form of Maxwell’s equation in coordinates.

Theorem 1.5: Vector Lorentz force equation.

Relative to a fixed observer’s frame, the Lorentz force equation of \ref{eqn:lorentzForceCovariant:1660} splits into a spatial rate of change of momentum, and (timelike component) rate of change of energy, as follows
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:lorentzForceCovariant:1680}
\begin{aligned}
\ddt{(\gamma m \Bv)} &= q \lr{ \BE + \Bv \cross \BB } \\
\ddt{(\gamma m c^2)} &= q \Bv \cdot \BE,
\end{aligned}
\end{equation}
where \( F = \BE + I c \BB \), \( \gamma = 1/\sqrt{1 – \Bv^2/c^2 }\).

Start proof:

The first step is to eliminate the proper time dependencies in the Lorentz force equation. Consider first the coordinate representation of an arbitrary position four-vector \( x \)
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:lorentzForceCovariant:1140}
x = c t \gamma_0 + x^k \gamma_k.
\end{equation}
The corresponding four-vector velocity is
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:lorentzForceCovariant:1160}
v = \ddtau{x} = c \ddtau{t} \gamma_0 + \ddtau{t} \ddt{x^k} \gamma_k.
\end{equation}
By construction, \( v^2 = c^2 \) is a Lorentz invariant quantity (this is one of the relativistic postulates), so the LHS of \ref{eqn:lorentzForceCovariant:1160} must have the same square. That is
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:lorentzForceCovariant:1240}
c^2 = \lr{ \ddtau{t} }^2 \lr{ c^2 – \Bv^2 },
\end{equation}
where \( \Bv = v \wedge \gamma_0 \). This shows that we may make the identification
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:lorentzForceCovariant:1260}
\gamma = \ddtau{t} = \inv{1 – \Bv^2/c^2 },
\end{equation}
and
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:lorentzForceCovariant:1280}
\ddtau{} = \ddtau{t} \ddt{} = \gamma \ddt{}.
\end{equation}
We may now factor the four-velocity \( v \) into its spacetime split
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:lorentzForceCovariant:1300}
v = \gamma \lr{ c + \Bv } \gamma_0.
\end{equation}
In particular the LHS of the Lorentz force equation can be rewritten as
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:lorentzForceCovariant:1320}
\ddtau{p} = \gamma \ddt{}\lr{ \gamma \lr{ c + \Bv } } \gamma_0,
\end{equation}
and the RHS of the Lorentz force equation can be rewritten as
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:lorentzForceCovariant:1340}
\frac{q}{c} F \cdot v
=
\frac{\gamma q}{c} F \cdot \lr{ (c + \Bv) \gamma_0 }.
\end{equation}
Equating timelike and spacelike components leaves us
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:lorentzForceCovariant:1380}
\ddt{ (m \gamma c) } = \frac{q}{c} \lr{ F \cdot \lr{ (c + \Bv) \gamma_0 } } \cdot \gamma_0,
\end{equation}
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:lorentzForceCovariant:1400}
\ddt{ (m \gamma \Bv) } = \frac{q}{c} \lr{ F \cdot \lr{ (c + \Bv) \gamma_0 } } \wedge \gamma_0,
\end{equation}
Evaluating these products requires some care, but is an essentially manual process. The reader is encouraged to do so once, but the end result may also be obtained easily using software (see lorentzForce.nb in [2]). One finds
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:lorentzForceCovariant:1440}
F = \BE + I c \BB
=
E^1 \gamma_{10} +
+ E^2 \gamma_{20} +
+ E^3 \gamma_{30} +
– c B^1 \gamma_{23} +
– c B^2 \gamma_{31} +
– c B^3 \gamma_{12},
\end{equation}
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:lorentzForceCovariant:1460}
\frac{q}{c} \lr{ F \cdot \lr{ (c + \Bv) \gamma_0 } } \cdot \gamma_0
= \frac{q}{c} \BE \cdot \Bv,
\end{equation}
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:lorentzForceCovariant:1480}
\frac{q}{c} \lr{ F \cdot \lr{ (c + \Bv) \gamma_0 } } \wedge \gamma_0
= q \lr{ \BE + \Bv \cross \BB }.
\end{equation}

End proof.

Problem: Algebraic spacetime split of the Lorentz force equation.

Derive the results of \ref{eqn:lorentzForceCovariant:1440} through \ref{eqn:lorentzForceCovariant:1480} algebraically.

Problem: Spacetime split of the Lorentz force tensor equation.

Show that \ref{eqn:lorentzForceCovariant:1680} also follows from the tensor form of the Lorentz force equation (\ref{eqn:lorentzForceCovariant:1620}) provided we identify
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:lorentzForceCovariant:1500}
F^{k0} = E^k,
\end{equation}
and
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:lorentzForceCovariant:1520}
F^{rs} = -\epsilon^{rst} B^t.
\end{equation}

Also verify that the identifications of \ref{eqn:lorentzForceCovariant:1500} and \ref{eqn:lorentzForceCovariant:1520} is consistent with the geometric algebra Faraday bivector \( F = \BE + I c \BB \), and the associated coordinate expansion of the field \( F = (1/2) (\gamma_\mu \wedge \gamma_\nu) F^{\mu\nu} \).

References

[1] C. Doran and A.N. Lasenby. Geometric algebra for physicists. Cambridge University Press New York, Cambridge, UK, 1st edition, 2003.

[2] Peeter Joot. Mathematica modules for Geometric Algebra’s GA(2,0), GA(3,0), and GA(1,3), 2017. URL https://github.com/peeterjoot/gapauli. [Online; accessed 24-Oct-2020].

Three more geometric algebra tutorials on youtube.

January 28, 2018 math and physics play No comments , , , , , , , ,

Here’s three more fairly short Geometric Algebra related tutorials that I’ve posted on youtube

second experiment in screen recording

July 17, 2017 math and physics play No comments , , , , ,

Here’s a second attempt at recording a blackboard style screen recording:

 

To handle the screen transitions, equivalent to clearing my small blackboard, I switched to using a black background and just moved the text as I filled things up.  This worked much better.  I still drew with mischief, and recorded with OBS, but then did a small post production edit in iMovie to remove a little bit of dead air and to edit out one particularly bad flub.

This talk covers the product of two vectors, defines the dot and wedge products, and shows how the 3D wedge product is related to the cross product.  I recorded some additional discussion of duality that I left out of this video, which was long enough without it.

A comparison of Geometric Algebra electrodynamic potential methods

January 7, 2017 math and physics play No comments , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

[Click here for a PDF of this post with nicer formatting]

Motivation

Geometric algebra (GA) allows for a compact description of Maxwell’s equations in either an explicit 3D representation or a STA (SpaceTime Algebra [2]) representation. The 3D GA and STA representations Maxwell’s equation both the form

\begin{equation}\label{eqn:potentialMethods:1280}
L \boldsymbol{\mathcal{F}} = J,
\end{equation}

where \( J \) represents the sources, \( L \) is a multivector gradient operator that includes partial derivative operator components for each of the space and time coordinates, and

\begin{equation}\label{eqn:potentialMethods:1020}
\boldsymbol{\mathcal{F}} = \boldsymbol{\mathcal{E}} + \eta I \boldsymbol{\mathcal{H}},
\end{equation}

is an electromagnetic field multivector, \( I = \Be_1 \Be_2 \Be_3 \) is the \R{3} pseudoscalar, and \( \eta = \sqrt{\mu/\epsilon} \) is the impedance of the media.

When Maxwell’s equations are extended to include magnetic sources in addition to conventional electric sources (as used in antenna-theory [1] and microwave engineering [3]), they take the form

\begin{equation}\label{eqn:chapter3Notes:20}
\spacegrad \cross \boldsymbol{\mathcal{E}} = – \boldsymbol{\mathcal{M}} – \PD{t}{\boldsymbol{\mathcal{B}}}
\end{equation}
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:chapter3Notes:40}
\spacegrad \cross \boldsymbol{\mathcal{H}} = \boldsymbol{\mathcal{J}} + \PD{t}{\boldsymbol{\mathcal{D}}}
\end{equation}
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:chapter3Notes:60}
\spacegrad \cdot \boldsymbol{\mathcal{D}} = q_{\textrm{e}}
\end{equation}
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:chapter3Notes:80}
\spacegrad \cdot \boldsymbol{\mathcal{B}} = q_{\textrm{m}}.
\end{equation}

The corresponding GA Maxwell equations in their respective 3D and STA forms are

\begin{equation}\label{eqn:potentialMethods:300}
\lr{ \spacegrad + \inv{v} \PD{t}{} } \boldsymbol{\mathcal{F}}
=
\eta
\lr{ v q_{\textrm{e}} – \boldsymbol{\mathcal{J}} }
+ I \lr{ v q_{\textrm{m}} – \boldsymbol{\mathcal{M}} }
\end{equation}
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:potentialMethods:320}
\grad \boldsymbol{\mathcal{F}} = \eta J – I M,
\end{equation}

where the wave group velocity in the medium is \( v = 1/\sqrt{\epsilon\mu} \), and the medium is isotropic with
\( \boldsymbol{\mathcal{B}} = \mu \boldsymbol{\mathcal{H}} \), and \( \boldsymbol{\mathcal{D}} = \epsilon \boldsymbol{\mathcal{E}} \). In the STA representation, \( \grad, J, M \) are all four-vectors, the specific meanings of which will be spelled out below.

How to determine the potential equations and the field representation using the conventional distinct Maxwell’s \ref{eqn:chapter3Notes:20}, … is well known. The basic procedure is to consider the electric and magnetic sources in turn, and observe that in each case one of the electric or magnetic fields must have a curl representation. The STA approach is similar, except that it can be observed that the field must have a four-curl representation for each type of source. In the explicit 3D GA formalism
\ref{eqn:potentialMethods:300} how to formulate a natural potential representation is not as obvious. There is no longer an reason to set any component of the field equal to a curl, and the representation of the four curl from the STA approach is awkward. Additionally, it is not obvious what form gauge invariance takes in the 3D GA representation.

Ideas explored in these notes

  • GA representation of Maxwell’s equations including magnetic sources.
  • STA GA formalism for Maxwell’s equations including magnetic sources.
  • Explicit form of the GA potential representation including both electric and magnetic sources.
  • Demonstration of exactly how the 3D and STA potentials are related.
  • Explore the structure of gauge transformations when magnetic sources are included.
  • Explore the structure of gauge transformations in the 3D GA formalism.
  • Specify the form of the Lorentz gauge in the 3D GA formalism.

Traditional vector algebra

No magnetic sources

When magnetic sources are omitted, it follows from \ref{eqn:chapter3Notes:80} that there is some \( \boldsymbol{\mathcal{A}}^{\mathrm{e}} \) for which

\begin{equation}\label{eqn:potentialMethods:20}
\boxed{
\boldsymbol{\mathcal{B}} = \spacegrad \cross \boldsymbol{\mathcal{A}}^{\mathrm{e}},
}
\end{equation}

Substitution into Faraday’s law \ref{eqn:chapter3Notes:20} gives

\begin{equation}\label{eqn:potentialMethods:40}
\spacegrad \cross \boldsymbol{\mathcal{E}} = – \PD{t}{}\lr{ \spacegrad \cross \boldsymbol{\mathcal{A}}^{\mathrm{e}} },
\end{equation}

or
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:potentialMethods:60}
\spacegrad \cross \lr{ \boldsymbol{\mathcal{E}} + \PD{t}{ \boldsymbol{\mathcal{A}}^{\mathrm{e}} } } = 0.
\end{equation}

A gradient representation of this curled quantity, say \( -\spacegrad \phi \), will provide the required zero

\begin{equation}\label{eqn:potentialMethods:80}
\boxed{
\boldsymbol{\mathcal{E}} = -\spacegrad \phi -\PD{t}{ \boldsymbol{\mathcal{A}}^{\mathrm{e}} }.
}
\end{equation}

The final two Maxwell equations yield

\begin{equation}\label{eqn:potentialMethods:100}
\begin{aligned}
-\spacegrad^2 \boldsymbol{\mathcal{A}}^{\mathrm{e}} + \spacegrad \lr{ \spacegrad \cdot \boldsymbol{\mathcal{A}}^{\mathrm{e}} } &= \mu \lr{ \boldsymbol{\mathcal{J}} + \epsilon \PD{t}{} \lr{ -\spacegrad \phi -\PD{t}{ \boldsymbol{\mathcal{A}}^{\mathrm{e}} } } } \\
\spacegrad \cdot \lr{ -\spacegrad \phi -\PD{t}{ \boldsymbol{\mathcal{A}}^{\mathrm{e}} } } &= q_e/\epsilon,
\end{aligned}
\end{equation}

or
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:potentialMethods:120}
\boxed{
\begin{aligned}
\spacegrad^2 \boldsymbol{\mathcal{A}}^{\mathrm{e}} – \inv{v^2} \PDSq{t}{ \boldsymbol{\mathcal{A}}^{\mathrm{e}} }
– \spacegrad \lr{
\inv{v^2} \PD{t}{\phi}
+\spacegrad \cdot \boldsymbol{\mathcal{A}}^{\mathrm{e}}
}
&= -\mu \boldsymbol{\mathcal{J}} \\
\spacegrad^2 \phi + \PD{t}{} \lr{ \spacegrad \cdot \boldsymbol{\mathcal{A}}^{\mathrm{e}} } &= -q_e/\epsilon.
\end{aligned}
}
\end{equation}

Note that the Lorentz condition \( \PDi{t}{(\phi/v^2)} + \spacegrad \cdot \boldsymbol{\mathcal{A}}^{\mathrm{e}} = 0 \) can be imposed to decouple these, leaving non-homogeneous wave equations for the vector and scalar potentials respectively.

No electric sources

Without electric sources, a curl representation of the electric field can be assumed, satisfying Gauss’s law

\begin{equation}\label{eqn:potentialMethods:140}
\boxed{
\boldsymbol{\mathcal{D}} = – \spacegrad \cross \boldsymbol{\mathcal{A}}^{\mathrm{m}}.
}
\end{equation}

Substitution into the Maxwell-Faraday law gives
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:potentialMethods:160}
\spacegrad \cross \lr{ \boldsymbol{\mathcal{H}} + \PD{t}{\boldsymbol{\mathcal{A}}^{\mathrm{m}}} } = 0.
\end{equation}

This is satisfied with any gradient, say, \( -\spacegrad \phi_m \), providing a potential representation for the magnetic field

\begin{equation}\label{eqn:potentialMethods:180}
\boxed{
\boldsymbol{\mathcal{H}} = -\spacegrad \phi_m – \PD{t}{\boldsymbol{\mathcal{A}}^{\mathrm{m}}}.
}
\end{equation}

The remaining Maxwell equations provide the required constraints on the potentials

\begin{equation}\label{eqn:potentialMethods:220}
-\spacegrad^2 \boldsymbol{\mathcal{A}}^{\mathrm{m}} + \spacegrad \lr{ \spacegrad \cdot \boldsymbol{\mathcal{A}}^{\mathrm{m}} } = -\epsilon
\lr{
-\boldsymbol{\mathcal{M}} – \mu \PD{t}{}
\lr{
-\spacegrad \phi_m – \PD{t}{\boldsymbol{\mathcal{A}}^{\mathrm{m}}}
}
}
\end{equation}
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:potentialMethods:240}
\spacegrad \cdot
\lr{
-\spacegrad \phi_m – \PD{t}{\boldsymbol{\mathcal{A}}^{\mathrm{m}}}
}
= \inv{\mu} q_m,
\end{equation}

or
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:potentialMethods:260}
\boxed{
\begin{aligned}
\spacegrad^2 \boldsymbol{\mathcal{A}}^{\mathrm{m}} – \inv{v^2} \PDSq{t}{\boldsymbol{\mathcal{A}}^{\mathrm{m}}} – \spacegrad \lr{ \inv{v^2} \PD{t}{\phi_m} + \spacegrad \cdot \boldsymbol{\mathcal{A}}^{\mathrm{m}} } &= -\epsilon \boldsymbol{\mathcal{M}} \\
\spacegrad^2 \phi_m + \PD{t}{}\lr{ \spacegrad \cdot \boldsymbol{\mathcal{A}}^{\mathrm{m}} } &= -\inv{\mu} q_m.
\end{aligned}
}
\end{equation}

The general solution to Maxwell’s equations is therefore
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:potentialMethods:280}
\begin{aligned}
\boldsymbol{\mathcal{E}} &=
-\spacegrad \phi -\PD{t}{ \boldsymbol{\mathcal{A}}^{\mathrm{e}} }
– \inv{\epsilon} \spacegrad \cross \boldsymbol{\mathcal{A}}^{\mathrm{m}} \\
\boldsymbol{\mathcal{H}} &=
\inv{\mu} \spacegrad \cross \boldsymbol{\mathcal{A}}^{\mathrm{e}}
-\spacegrad \phi_m – \PD{t}{\boldsymbol{\mathcal{A}}^{\mathrm{m}}},
\end{aligned}
\end{equation}

subject to the constraints \ref{eqn:potentialMethods:120} and \ref{eqn:potentialMethods:260}.

Potential operator structure

Knowing that there is a simple underlying structure to the potential representation of the electromagnetic field in the STA formalism inspires the question of whether that structure can be found directly using the scalar and vector potentials determined above.

Specifically, what is the multivector representation \ref{eqn:potentialMethods:1020} of the electromagnetic field in terms of all the individual potential variables, and can an underlying structure for that field representation be found? The composite field is

\begin{equation}\label{eqn:potentialMethods:280b}
\boldsymbol{\mathcal{F}}
=
-\spacegrad \phi -\PD{t}{ \boldsymbol{\mathcal{A}}^{\mathrm{e}} }
– \inv{\epsilon} \spacegrad \cross \boldsymbol{\mathcal{A}}^{\mathrm{m}} \\
+ I \eta
\lr{
\inv{\mu} \spacegrad \cross \boldsymbol{\mathcal{A}}^{\mathrm{e}}
-\spacegrad \phi_m – \PD{t}{\boldsymbol{\mathcal{A}}^{\mathrm{m}}}
}.
\end{equation}

Can this be factored into into multivector operator and multivector potentials? Expanding the cross products provides some direction

\begin{equation}\label{eqn:potentialMethods:1040}
\begin{aligned}
\boldsymbol{\mathcal{F}}
&=
– \PD{t}{ \boldsymbol{\mathcal{A}}^{\mathrm{e}} }
– \eta \PD{t}{I \boldsymbol{\mathcal{A}}^{\mathrm{m}}}
– \spacegrad \lr{ \phi – \eta I \phi_m } \\
&\quad + \frac{\eta}{2 \mu} \lr{ \rspacegrad \boldsymbol{\mathcal{A}}^{\mathrm{e}} – \boldsymbol{\mathcal{A}}^{\mathrm{e}} \lspacegrad }
+ \frac{1}{2 \epsilon} \lr{ \rspacegrad I \boldsymbol{\mathcal{A}}^{\mathrm{m}} – I \boldsymbol{\mathcal{A}}^{\mathrm{m}} \lspacegrad }.
\end{aligned}
\end{equation}

Observe that the
gradient and the time partials can be grouped together

\begin{equation}\label{eqn:potentialMethods:1060}
\begin{aligned}
\boldsymbol{\mathcal{F}}
&=
– \PD{t}{ } \lr{\boldsymbol{\mathcal{A}}^{\mathrm{e}} + \eta I \boldsymbol{\mathcal{A}}^{\mathrm{m}}}
– \spacegrad \lr{ \phi + \eta I \phi_m }
+ \frac{v}{2} \lr{ \rspacegrad (\boldsymbol{\mathcal{A}}^{\mathrm{e}} + I \eta \boldsymbol{\mathcal{A}}^{\mathrm{m}}) – (\boldsymbol{\mathcal{A}}^{\mathrm{e}} + I \eta \boldsymbol{\mathcal{A}}^{\mathrm{m}}) \lspacegrad } \\
&=
\inv{2} \lr{
\lr{ \rspacegrad – \inv{v} {\stackrel{ \rightarrow }{\partial_t}} } \lr{ v \boldsymbol{\mathcal{A}}^{\mathrm{e}} + \eta v I \boldsymbol{\mathcal{A}}^{\mathrm{m}} }

\lr{ v \boldsymbol{\mathcal{A}}^{\mathrm{e}} + \eta v I \boldsymbol{\mathcal{A}}^{\mathrm{m}}} \lr{ \lspacegrad + \inv{v} {\stackrel{ \leftarrow }{\partial_t}} }
} \\
&+\quad \inv{2} \lr{
\lr{ \rspacegrad – \inv{v} {\stackrel{ \rightarrow }{\partial_t}} } \lr{ -\phi – \eta I \phi_m }
– \lr{ \phi + \eta I \phi_m } \lr{ \lspacegrad + \inv{v} {\stackrel{ \leftarrow }{\partial_t}} }
}
,
\end{aligned}
\end{equation}

or

\begin{equation}\label{eqn:potentialMethods:1080}
\boxed{
\boldsymbol{\mathcal{F}}
=
\inv{2} \Biglr{
\lr{ \rspacegrad – \inv{v} {\stackrel{ \rightarrow }{\partial_t}} }
\lr{
– \phi
+ v \boldsymbol{\mathcal{A}}^{\mathrm{e}}
+ \eta I v \boldsymbol{\mathcal{A}}^{\mathrm{m}}
– \eta I \phi_m
}

\lr{
\phi
+ v \boldsymbol{\mathcal{A}}^{\mathrm{e}}
+ \eta I v \boldsymbol{\mathcal{A}}^{\mathrm{m}}
+ \eta I \phi_m
}
\lr{ \lspacegrad + \inv{v} {\stackrel{ \leftarrow }{\partial_t}} }
}
.
}
\end{equation}

There’s a conjugate structure to the potential on each side of the curl operation where we see a sign change for the scalar and pseudoscalar elements only. The reason for this becomes more clear in the STA formalism.

Potentials in the STA formalism.

Maxwell’s equation in its explicit 3D form \ref{eqn:potentialMethods:300} can be
converted to STA form, by introducing a four-vector basis \( \setlr{ \gamma_\mu } \), where the spatial basis
\( \setlr{ \Be_k = \gamma_k \gamma_0 } \)
is expressed in terms of the Dirac basis \( \setlr{ \gamma_\mu } \).
By multiplying from the left with \( \gamma_0 \) a STA form of Maxwell’s equation
\ref{eqn:potentialMethods:320}
is obtained,
where
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:potentialMethods:340}
\begin{aligned}
J &= \gamma^\mu J_\mu = ( v q_e, \boldsymbol{\mathcal{J}} ) \\
M &= \gamma^\mu M_\mu = ( v q_m, \boldsymbol{\mathcal{M}} ) \\
\grad &= \gamma^\mu \partial_\mu = ( (1/v) \partial_t, \spacegrad ) \\
I &= \gamma_0 \gamma_1 \gamma_2 \gamma_3,
\end{aligned}
\end{equation}

Here the metric choice is \( \gamma_0^2 = 1 = -\gamma_k^2 \). Note that in this representation the electromagnetic field \( \boldsymbol{\mathcal{F}} = \boldsymbol{\mathcal{E}} + \eta I \boldsymbol{\mathcal{H}} \) is a bivector, not a multivector as it is explicit (frame dependent) 3D representation of \ref{eqn:potentialMethods:300}.

A potential representation can be obtained as before by considering electric and magnetic sources in sequence and using superposition to assemble a complete potential.

No magnetic sources

Without magnetic sources, Maxwell’s equation splits into vector and trivector terms of the form

\begin{equation}\label{eqn:potentialMethods:380}
\grad \cdot \boldsymbol{\mathcal{F}} = \eta J
\end{equation}
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:potentialMethods:400}
\grad \wedge \boldsymbol{\mathcal{F}} = 0.
\end{equation}

A four-vector curl representation of the field will satisfy \ref{eqn:potentialMethods:400} allowing an immediate potential solution

\begin{equation}\label{eqn:potentialMethods:560}
\boxed{
\begin{aligned}
&\boldsymbol{\mathcal{F}} = \grad \wedge {A^{\mathrm{e}}} \\
&\grad^2 {A^{\mathrm{e}}} – \grad \lr{ \grad \cdot {A^{\mathrm{e}}} } = \eta J.
\end{aligned}
}
\end{equation}

This can be put into correspondence with \ref{eqn:potentialMethods:120} by noting that

\begin{equation}\label{eqn:potentialMethods:460}
\begin{aligned}
\grad^2 &= (\gamma^\mu \partial_\mu) \cdot (\gamma^\nu \partial_\nu) = \inv{v^2} \partial_{tt} – \spacegrad^2 \\
\gamma_0 {A^{\mathrm{e}}} &= \gamma_0 \gamma^\mu {A^{\mathrm{e}}}_\mu = {A^{\mathrm{e}}}_0 + \Be_k {A^{\mathrm{e}}}_k = {A^{\mathrm{e}}}_0 + \BA^{\mathrm{e}} \\
\gamma_0 \grad &= \gamma_0 \gamma^\mu \partial_\mu = \inv{v} \partial_t + \spacegrad \\
\grad \cdot {A^{\mathrm{e}}} &= \partial_\mu {A^{\mathrm{e}}}^\mu = \inv{v} \partial_t {A^{\mathrm{e}}}_0 – \spacegrad \cdot \BA^{\mathrm{e}},
\end{aligned}
\end{equation}

so multiplying from the left with \( \gamma_0 \) gives

\begin{equation}\label{eqn:potentialMethods:480}
\lr{ \inv{v^2} \partial_{tt} – \spacegrad^2 } \lr{ {A^{\mathrm{e}}}_0 + \BA^{\mathrm{e}} } – \lr{ \inv{v} \partial_t + \spacegrad }\lr{ \inv{v} \partial_t {A^{\mathrm{e}}}_0 – \spacegrad \cdot \BA^{\mathrm{e}} } = \eta( v q_e – \boldsymbol{\mathcal{J}} ),
\end{equation}

or

\begin{equation}\label{eqn:potentialMethods:520}
\lr{ \inv{v^2} \partial_{tt} – \spacegrad^2 } \BA^{\mathrm{e}} – \spacegrad \lr{ \inv{v} \partial_t {A^{\mathrm{e}}}_0 – \spacegrad \cdot \BA^{\mathrm{e}} } = -\eta \boldsymbol{\mathcal{J}}
\end{equation}
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:potentialMethods:540}
\spacegrad^2 {A^{\mathrm{e}}}_0 – \inv{v} \partial_t \lr{ \spacegrad \cdot \BA^{\mathrm{e}} } = -q_e/\epsilon.
\end{equation}

So \( {A^{\mathrm{e}}}_0 = \phi \) and \( -\ifrac{\BA^{\mathrm{e}}}{v} = \boldsymbol{\mathcal{A}}^{\mathrm{e}} \), or

\begin{equation}\label{eqn:potentialMethods:600}
\boxed{
{A^{\mathrm{e}}} = \gamma_0\lr{ \phi – v \boldsymbol{\mathcal{A}}^{\mathrm{e}} }.
}
\end{equation}

No electric sources

Without electric sources, Maxwell’s equation now splits into

\begin{equation}\label{eqn:potentialMethods:640}
\grad \cdot \boldsymbol{\mathcal{F}} = 0
\end{equation}
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:potentialMethods:660}
\grad \wedge \boldsymbol{\mathcal{F}} = -I M.
\end{equation}

Here the dual of an STA curl yields a solution

\begin{equation}\label{eqn:potentialMethods:680}
\boxed{
\boldsymbol{\mathcal{F}} = I ( \grad \wedge {A^{\mathrm{m}}} ).
}
\end{equation}

Substituting this gives

\begin{equation}\label{eqn:potentialMethods:720}
\begin{aligned}
0
&=
\grad \cdot (I ( \grad \wedge {A^{\mathrm{m}}} ) ) \\
&=
\gpgradeone{ \grad I ( \grad \wedge {A^{\mathrm{m}}} ) } \\
&=
-I \grad \wedge ( \grad \wedge {A^{\mathrm{m}}} ).
\end{aligned}
\end{equation}
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:potentialMethods:740}
\begin{aligned}
-I M
&=
\grad \wedge (I ( \grad \wedge {A^{\mathrm{m}}} ) ) \\
&=
\gpgradethree{ \grad I ( \grad \wedge {A^{\mathrm{m}}} ) } \\
&=
-I \grad \cdot ( \grad \wedge {A^{\mathrm{m}}} ).
\end{aligned}
\end{equation}

The \( \grad \cdot \boldsymbol{\mathcal{F}} \) relation \ref{eqn:potentialMethods:720} is identically zero as desired, leaving

\begin{equation}\label{eqn:potentialMethods:760}
\boxed{
\grad^2 {A^{\mathrm{m}}} – \grad \lr{ \grad \cdot {A^{\mathrm{m}}} }
=
M.
}
\end{equation}

So the general solution with both electric and magnetic sources is

\begin{equation}\label{eqn:potentialMethods:800}
\boxed{
\boldsymbol{\mathcal{F}} = \grad \wedge {A^{\mathrm{e}}} + I (\grad \wedge {A^{\mathrm{m}}}),
}
\end{equation}

subject to the constraints of \ref{eqn:potentialMethods:560} and \ref{eqn:potentialMethods:760}. As before the four-potential \( {A^{\mathrm{m}}} \) can be put into correspondence with the conventional scalar and vector potentials by left multiplying with \( \gamma_0 \), which gives

\begin{equation}\label{eqn:potentialMethods:820}
\lr{ \inv{v^2} \partial_{tt} – \spacegrad^2 } \lr{ {A^{\mathrm{m}}}_0 + \BA^{\mathrm{m}} } – \lr{ \inv{v} \partial_t + \spacegrad }\lr{ \inv{v} \partial_t {A^{\mathrm{m}}}_0 – \spacegrad \cdot \BA^{\mathrm{m}} } = v q_m – \boldsymbol{\mathcal{M}},
\end{equation}

or
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:potentialMethods:860}
\lr{ \inv{v^2} \partial_{tt} – \spacegrad^2 } \BA^{\mathrm{m}} – \spacegrad \lr{ \inv{v} \partial_t {A^{\mathrm{m}}}_0 – \spacegrad \cdot \BA^{\mathrm{m}} } = – \boldsymbol{\mathcal{M}}
\end{equation}
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:potentialMethods:880}
\spacegrad^2 {A^{\mathrm{m}}}_0 – \inv{v} \partial_t \spacegrad \cdot \BA^{\mathrm{m}} = -v q_m.
\end{equation}

Comparing with \ref{eqn:potentialMethods:260} shows that \( {A^{\mathrm{m}}}_0/v = \mu \phi_m \) and \( -\ifrac{\BA^{\mathrm{m}}}{v^2} = \mu \boldsymbol{\mathcal{A}}^{\mathrm{m}} \), or

\begin{equation}\label{eqn:potentialMethods:900}
\boxed{
{A^{\mathrm{m}}} = \gamma_0 \eta \lr{ \phi_m – v \boldsymbol{\mathcal{A}}^{\mathrm{m}} }.
}
\end{equation}

Potential operator structure

Observe that there is an underlying uniform structure of the differential operator that acts on the potential to produce the electromagnetic field. Expressed as a linear operator of the
gradient and the potentials, that is

\( \boldsymbol{\mathcal{F}} = L(\lrgrad, {A^{\mathrm{e}}}, {A^{\mathrm{m}}}) \)

\begin{equation}\label{eqn:potentialMethods:980}
\begin{aligned}
\boldsymbol{\mathcal{F}}
&=
L(\grad, {A^{\mathrm{e}}}, {A^{\mathrm{m}}}) \\
&= \grad \wedge {A^{\mathrm{e}}} + I (\grad \wedge {A^{\mathrm{m}}}) \\
&=
\inv{2} \lr{ \rgrad {A^{\mathrm{e}}} – {A^{\mathrm{e}}} \lgrad }
+ \frac{I}{2} \lr{ \rgrad {A^{\mathrm{m}}} – {A^{\mathrm{m}}} \lgrad } \\
&=
\inv{2} \lr{ \rgrad {A^{\mathrm{e}}} – {A^{\mathrm{e}}} \lgrad }
+ \frac{1}{2} \lr{ -\rgrad I {A^{\mathrm{m}}} – I {A^{\mathrm{m}}} \lgrad } \\
&=
\inv{2} \lr{ \rgrad ({A^{\mathrm{e}}} -I {A^{\mathrm{m}}}) – ({A^{\mathrm{e}}} + I {A^{\mathrm{m}}}) \lgrad }
,
\end{aligned}
\end{equation}

or
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:potentialMethods:1000}
\boxed{
\boldsymbol{\mathcal{F}}
=
\inv{2} \lr{ \rgrad ({A^{\mathrm{e}}} -I {A^{\mathrm{m}}}) – ({A^{\mathrm{e}}} – I {A^{\mathrm{m}}})^\dagger \lgrad }
.
}
\end{equation}

Observe that \ref{eqn:potentialMethods:1000} can be
put into correspondence with \ref{eqn:potentialMethods:1080} using a factoring of unity \( 1 = \gamma_0 \gamma_0 \)

\begin{equation}\label{eqn:potentialMethods:1100}
\boldsymbol{\mathcal{F}}
=
\inv{2} \lr{ (-\rgrad \gamma_0) (-\gamma_0 ({A^{\mathrm{e}}} -I {A^{\mathrm{m}}})) – (({A^{\mathrm{e}}} + I {A^{\mathrm{m}}}) \gamma_0)(\gamma_0 \lgrad) },
\end{equation}

where

\begin{equation}\label{eqn:potentialMethods:1140}
\begin{aligned}
-\grad \gamma_0
&=
-(\gamma^0 \partial_0 + \gamma^k \partial_k) \gamma_0 \\
&=
-\partial_0 – \gamma^k \gamma_0 \partial_k \\
&=
\spacegrad
-\inv{v} \partial_t
,
\end{aligned}
\end{equation}
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:potentialMethods:1160}
\begin{aligned}
\gamma_0 \grad
&=
\gamma_0 (\gamma^0 \partial_0 + \gamma^k \partial_k) \\
&=
\partial_0 – \gamma^k \gamma_0 \partial_k \\
&=
\spacegrad
+ \inv{v} \partial_t
,
\end{aligned}
\end{equation}

and
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:potentialMethods:1200}
\begin{aligned}
-\gamma_0 ( {A^{\mathrm{e}}} – I {A^{\mathrm{m}}} )
&=
-\gamma_0 \gamma_0 \lr{ \phi -v \boldsymbol{\mathcal{A}}^{\mathrm{e}} + \eta I \lr{ \phi_m – v \boldsymbol{\mathcal{A}}^{\mathrm{m}} } } \\
&=
-\lr{ \phi -v \boldsymbol{\mathcal{A}}^{\mathrm{e}} + \eta I \phi_m – \eta v I \boldsymbol{\mathcal{A}}^{\mathrm{m}} } \\
&=
– \phi
+ v \boldsymbol{\mathcal{A}}^{\mathrm{e}}
+ \eta v I \boldsymbol{\mathcal{A}}^{\mathrm{m}}
– \eta I \phi_m
\end{aligned}
\end{equation}
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:potentialMethods:1220}
\begin{aligned}
( {A^{\mathrm{e}}} + I {A^{\mathrm{m}}} )\gamma_0
&=
\lr{ \gamma_0 \lr{ \phi -v \boldsymbol{\mathcal{A}}^{\mathrm{e}} } + I \gamma_0 \eta \lr{ \phi_m – v \boldsymbol{\mathcal{A}}^{\mathrm{m}} } } \gamma_0 \\
&=
\phi + v \boldsymbol{\mathcal{A}}^{\mathrm{e}} + I \eta \phi_m + I \eta v \boldsymbol{\mathcal{A}}^{\mathrm{m}} \\
&=
\phi
+ v \boldsymbol{\mathcal{A}}^{\mathrm{e}}
+ \eta v I \boldsymbol{\mathcal{A}}^{\mathrm{m}}
+ \eta I \phi_m
,
\end{aligned}
\end{equation}

This recovers \ref{eqn:potentialMethods:1080} as desired.

Potentials in the 3D Euclidean formalism

In the conventional scalar plus vector differential representation of Maxwell’s equations \ref{eqn:chapter3Notes:20}…, given electric(magnetic) sources the structure of the electric(magnetic) potential follows from first setting the magnetic(electric) field equal to the curl of a vector potential. The procedure for the STA GA form of Maxwell’s equation was similar, where it was immediately evident that the field could be set to the four-curl of a four-vector potential (or the dual of such a curl for magnetic sources).

In the 3D GA representation, there is no immediate rationale for introducing a curl or the equivalent to a four-curl representation of the field. Reconciliation of this is possible by recognizing that the fact that the field (or a component of it) may be represented by a curl is not actually fundamental. Instead, observe that the two sided gradient action on a potential to generate the electromagnetic field in the STA representation of \ref{eqn:potentialMethods:1000} serves to select the grade two component product of the gradient and the multivector potential \( {A^{\mathrm{e}}} – I {A^{\mathrm{m}}} \), and that this can in fact be written as
a single sided gradient operation on a potential, provided the multivector product is filtered with a four-bivector grade selection operation

\begin{equation}\label{eqn:potentialMethods:1240}
\boxed{
\boldsymbol{\mathcal{F}} = \gpgradetwo{ \grad \lr{ {A^{\mathrm{e}}} – I {A^{\mathrm{m}}} } }.
}
\end{equation}

Similarly, it can be observed that the
specific function of the conjugate structure in the two sided potential representation of
\ref{eqn:potentialMethods:1080}
is to discard all the scalar and pseudoscalar grades in the multivector product. This means that a single sided potential can also be used, provided it is wrapped in a grade selection operation

\begin{equation}\label{eqn:potentialMethods:1260}
\boxed{
\boldsymbol{\mathcal{F}} =
\gpgrade{ \lr{ \spacegrad – \inv{v} \PD{t}{} }
\lr{
– \phi
+ v \boldsymbol{\mathcal{A}}^{\mathrm{e}}
+ \eta I v \boldsymbol{\mathcal{A}}^{\mathrm{m}}
– \eta I \phi_m
} }{1,2}.
}
\end{equation}

It is this grade selection operation that is really the fundamental defining action in the potential of the STA and conventional 3D representations of Maxwell’s equations. So, given Maxwell’s equation in the 3D GA representation, defining a potential representation for the field is really just a demand that the field have the structure

\begin{equation}\label{eqn:potentialMethods:1320}
\boldsymbol{\mathcal{F}} = \gpgrade{ (\alpha \spacegrad + \beta \partial_t)( A_0 + A_1 + I( A_0′ + A_1′ ) }{1,2}.
\end{equation}

This is a mandate that the electromagnetic field is the grades 1 and 2 components of the vector product of space and time derivative operators on a multivector field \( A = \sum_{k=0}^3 A_k = A_0 + A_1 + I( A_0′ + A_1′ ) \) that can potentially have any grade components. There are more degrees of freedom in this specification than required, since the multivector can absorb one of the \( \alpha \) or \( \beta \) coefficients, so without loss of generality, one of these (say \( \alpha\)) can be set to 1.

Expanding \ref{eqn:potentialMethods:1320} gives

\begin{equation}\label{eqn:potentialMethods:1340}
\begin{aligned}
\boldsymbol{\mathcal{F}}
&=
\spacegrad A_0
+ \beta \partial_t A_1
– \spacegrad \cross A_1′
+ I (\spacegrad \cross A_1
+ \beta \partial_t A_1′
+ \spacegrad A_0′) \\
&=
\boldsymbol{\mathcal{E}} + I \eta \boldsymbol{\mathcal{H}}.
\end{aligned}
\end{equation}

This naturally has all the right mixes of curls, gradients and time derivatives, all following as direct consequences of applying a grade selection operation to the action of a “spacetime gradient” on a general multivector potential.

The conclusion is that the potential representation of the field is

\begin{equation}\label{eqn:potentialMethods:1360}
\boldsymbol{\mathcal{F}} =
\gpgrade{ \lr{ \spacegrad – \inv{v} \PD{t}{} } A }{1,2},
\end{equation}

where \( A \) is a multivector potentially containing all grades, where grades 0,1 are required for electric sources, and grades 2,3 are required for magnetic sources. When it is desirable to refer back to the conventional scalar and vector potentials this multivector potential can be written as \( A = -\phi + v \boldsymbol{\mathcal{A}}^{\mathrm{e}} + \eta I \lr{ -\phi_m + v \boldsymbol{\mathcal{A}}^{\mathrm{m}} } \).

Gauge transformations

Recall that for electric sources the magnetic field is of the form

\begin{equation}\label{eqn:potentialMethods:1380}
\boldsymbol{\mathcal{B}} = \spacegrad \cross \boldsymbol{\mathcal{A}},
\end{equation}

so adding the gradient of any scalar field to the potential \( \boldsymbol{\mathcal{A}}’ = \boldsymbol{\mathcal{A}} + \spacegrad \psi \)
does not change the magnetic field

\begin{equation}\label{eqn:potentialMethods:1400}
\begin{aligned}
\boldsymbol{\mathcal{B}}’
&= \spacegrad \cross \lr{ \boldsymbol{\mathcal{A}} + \spacegrad \psi } \\
&= \spacegrad \cross \boldsymbol{\mathcal{A}} \\
&= \boldsymbol{\mathcal{B}}.
\end{aligned}
\end{equation}

The electric field with this changed potential is

\begin{equation}\label{eqn:potentialMethods:1420}
\begin{aligned}
\boldsymbol{\mathcal{E}}’
&= -\spacegrad \phi – \partial_t \lr{ \BA + \spacegrad \psi} \\
&= -\spacegrad \lr{ \phi + \partial_t \psi } – \partial_t \BA,
\end{aligned}
\end{equation}

so if
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:potentialMethods:1440}
\phi = \phi’ – \partial_t \psi,
\end{equation}

the electric field will also be unaltered by this transformation.

In the STA representation, the field can similarly be altered by adding any (four)gradient to the potential. For example with only electric sources

\begin{equation}\label{eqn:potentialMethods:1460}
\boldsymbol{\mathcal{F}} = \grad \wedge (A + \grad \psi) = \grad \wedge A
\end{equation}

and for electric or magnetic sources

\begin{equation}\label{eqn:potentialMethods:1480}
\boldsymbol{\mathcal{F}} = \gpgradetwo{ \grad (A + \grad \psi) } = \gpgradetwo{ \grad A }.
\end{equation}

In the 3D GA representation, where the field is given by \ref{eqn:potentialMethods:1360}, there is no field that is being curled to add a gradient to. However, if the scalar and vector potentials transform as

\begin{equation}\label{eqn:potentialMethods:1500}
\begin{aligned}
\boldsymbol{\mathcal{A}} &\rightarrow \boldsymbol{\mathcal{A}} + \spacegrad \psi \\
\phi &\rightarrow \phi – \partial_t \psi,
\end{aligned}
\end{equation}

then the multivector potential transforms as
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:potentialMethods:1520}
-\phi + v \boldsymbol{\mathcal{A}}
\rightarrow -\phi + v \boldsymbol{\mathcal{A}} + \partial_t \psi + v \spacegrad \psi,
\end{equation}

so the electromagnetic field is unchanged when the multivector potential is transformed as

\begin{equation}\label{eqn:potentialMethods:1540}
A \rightarrow A + \lr{ \spacegrad + \inv{v} \partial_t } \psi,
\end{equation}

where \( \psi \) is any field that has scalar or pseudoscalar grades. Viewed in terms of grade selection, this makes perfect sense, since the transformed field is

\begin{equation}\label{eqn:potentialMethods:1560}
\begin{aligned}
\boldsymbol{\mathcal{F}}
&\rightarrow
\gpgrade{ \lr{ \spacegrad – \inv{v} \PD{t}{} } \lr{ A + \lr{ \spacegrad + \inv{v} \partial_t } \psi } }{1,2} \\
&=
\gpgrade{ \lr{ \spacegrad – \inv{v} \PD{t}{} } A + \lr{ \spacegrad^2 – \inv{v^2} \partial_{tt} } \psi }{1,2} \\
&=
\gpgrade{ \lr{ \spacegrad – \inv{v} \PD{t}{} } A }{1,2}.
\end{aligned}
\end{equation}

The \( \psi \) contribution to the grade selection operator is killed because it has scalar or pseudoscalar grades.

Lorenz gauge

Maxwell’s equations are completely decoupled if the potential can be found such that

\begin{equation}\label{eqn:potentialMethods:1580}
\begin{aligned}
\boldsymbol{\mathcal{F}}
&=
\gpgrade{ \lr{ \spacegrad – \inv{v} \PD{t}{} } A }{1,2} \\
&=
\lr{ \spacegrad – \inv{v} \PD{t}{} } A.
\end{aligned}
\end{equation}

When this is the case, Maxwell’s equations are reduced to four non-homogeneous potential wave equations

\begin{equation}\label{eqn:potentialMethods:1620}
\lr{ \spacegrad^2 – \inv{v^2} \PDSq{t}{} } A = J,
\end{equation}

that is

\begin{equation}\label{eqn:potentialMethods:1600}
\begin{aligned}
\lr{ \spacegrad^2 – \inv{v^2} \PDSq{t}{} } \phi &= – \inv{\epsilon} q_e \\
\lr{ \spacegrad^2 – \inv{v^2} \PDSq{t}{} } \boldsymbol{\mathcal{A}}^{\mathrm{e}} &= – \mu \boldsymbol{\mathcal{J}} \\
\lr{ \spacegrad^2 – \inv{v^2} \PDSq{t}{} } \phi_m &= – \frac{I}{\mu} q_m \\
\lr{ \spacegrad^2 – \inv{v^2} \PDSq{t}{} } \boldsymbol{\mathcal{A}}^{\mathrm{m}} &= – I \epsilon \boldsymbol{\mathcal{M}}.
\end{aligned}
\end{equation}

There should be no a-priori assumption that such a field representation has no scalar, nor no pseudoscalar components. That explicit expansion in grades is

\begin{equation}\label{eqn:potentialMethods:1640}
\begin{aligned}
\lr{ \spacegrad – \inv{v} \PD{t}{} } A
&=
\lr{ \spacegrad – \inv{v} \PD{t}{} } \lr{ -\phi + v \boldsymbol{\mathcal{A}}^{\mathrm{e}} + \eta I \lr{ -\phi_m + v \boldsymbol{\mathcal{A}}^{\mathrm{m}} } } \\
&=
\inv{v} \partial_t \phi
+ v \spacegrad \cdot \boldsymbol{\mathcal{A}}^{\mathrm{e}} \\
&-\spacegrad \phi
+ I \eta v \spacegrad \wedge \boldsymbol{\mathcal{A}}^{\mathrm{m}}
– \partial_t \boldsymbol{\mathcal{A}}^{\mathrm{e}} \\
&+ v \spacegrad \wedge \boldsymbol{\mathcal{A}}^{\mathrm{e}}
– \eta I \spacegrad \phi_m
– I \eta \partial_t \boldsymbol{\mathcal{A}}^{\mathrm{m}} \\
&+ \eta I \inv{v} \partial_t \phi_m
+ I \eta v \spacegrad \cdot \boldsymbol{\mathcal{A}}^{\mathrm{m}},
\end{aligned}
\end{equation}

so if this potential representation has only vector and bivector grades, it must be true that

\begin{equation}\label{eqn:potentialMethods:1660}
\begin{aligned}
\inv{v} \partial_t \phi + v \spacegrad \cdot \boldsymbol{\mathcal{A}}^{\mathrm{e}} &= 0 \\
\inv{v} \partial_t \phi_m + v \spacegrad \cdot \boldsymbol{\mathcal{A}}^{\mathrm{m}} &= 0.
\end{aligned}
\end{equation}

The first is the well known Lorenz gauge condition, whereas the second is the dual of that condition for magnetic sources.

Should one of these conditions, say the Lorenz condition for the electric source potentials, be non-zero, then it is possible to make a potential transformation for which this condition is zero

\begin{equation}\label{eqn:potentialMethods:1680}
\begin{aligned}
0
&\ne
\inv{v} \partial_t \phi + v \spacegrad \cdot \boldsymbol{\mathcal{A}}^{\mathrm{e}} \\
&=
\inv{v} \partial_t (\phi’ – \partial_t \psi) + v \spacegrad \cdot (\boldsymbol{\mathcal{A}}’ + \spacegrad \psi) \\
&=
\inv{v} \partial_t \phi’ + v \spacegrad \boldsymbol{\mathcal{A}}’
+ v \lr{ \spacegrad^2 – \inv{v^2} \partial_{tt} } \psi,
\end{aligned}
\end{equation}

so if \( \inv{v} \partial_t \phi’ + v \spacegrad \boldsymbol{\mathcal{A}}’ \) is zero, \( \psi \) must be found such that
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:potentialMethods:1700}
\inv{v} \partial_t \phi + v \spacegrad \cdot \boldsymbol{\mathcal{A}}^{\mathrm{e}}
= v \lr{ \spacegrad^2 – \inv{v^2} \partial_{tt} } \psi.
\end{equation}

References

[1] Constantine A Balanis. Antenna theory: analysis and design. John Wiley \& Sons, 3rd edition, 2005.

[2] C. Doran and A.N. Lasenby. Geometric algebra for physicists. Cambridge University Press New York, Cambridge, UK, 1st edition, 2003.

[3] David M Pozar. Microwave engineering. John Wiley \& Sons, 2009.

Spherical gradient, divergence, curl and Laplacian

November 9, 2016 math and physics play No comments , , , , , , , , , ,

[Click here for a PDF of this post with nicer formatting]

Unit vectors

Two of the spherical unit vectors we can immediately write by inspection.

\begin{equation}\label{eqn:sphericalLaplacian:20}
\begin{aligned}
\rcap &= \Be_1 \sin\theta \cos\phi + \Be_2 \sin\theta \sin\phi + \Be_3 \cos\theta \\
\phicap &= -\Be_1 \sin\theta + \Be_2 \cos\phi
\end{aligned}
\end{equation}

We can compute \( \thetacap \) by utilizing the right hand triplet property

\begin{equation}\label{eqn:sphericalLaplacian:40}
\begin{aligned}
\thetacap
&=
\phicap \cross \rcap \\
&=
\begin{vmatrix}
\Be_1 & \Be_2 & \Be_3 \\
-S_\phi & C_\phi & 0 \\
S_\theta C_\phi & S_\theta S_\phi & C_\theta \\
\end{vmatrix} \\
&=
\Be_1 \lr{ C_\theta C_\phi }
+\Be_2 \lr{ C_\theta S_\phi }
+\Be_3 \lr{ -S_\theta \lr{ S_\phi^2 + C_\phi^2 } } \\
&=
\Be_1 \cos\theta \cos\phi
+\Be_2 \cos\theta \sin\phi
-\Be_3 \sin\theta.
\end{aligned}
\end{equation}

Here I’ve used \( C_\theta = \cos\theta, S_\phi = \sin\phi, \cdots \) as a convenient shorthand. Observe that with \( i = \Be_1 \Be_2 \), these unit vectors admit a small factorization that makes further manipulation easier

\begin{equation}\label{eqn:sphericalLaplacian:80}
\boxed{
\begin{aligned}
\rcap &= \Be_1 e^{i\phi} \sin\theta + \Be_3 \cos\theta \\
\thetacap &= \cos\theta \Be_1 e^{i\phi} – \sin\theta \Be_3 \\
\phicap &= \Be_2 e^{i\phi}
\end{aligned}
}
\end{equation}

It should also be the case that \( \rcap \thetacap \phicap = I \), where \( I = \Be_1 \Be_2 \Be_3 = \Be_{123}\) is the \R{3} pseudoscalar, which is straightforward to check

\begin{equation}\label{eqn:sphericalLaplacian:60}
\begin{aligned}
\rcap \thetacap \phicap
&=
\lr{ \Be_1 e^{i\phi} \sin\theta + \Be_3 \cos\theta }
\lr{ \cos\theta \Be_1 e^{i\phi} – \sin\theta \Be_3 }
\Be_2 e^{i\phi} \\
&=
\lr{ \sin\theta \cos\theta – \cos\theta \sin\theta + \Be_{31} e^{i\phi} \lr{ \cos^2\theta + \sin^2\theta } }
\Be_2 e^{i\phi} \\
&=
\Be_{31} \Be_2 e^{-i\phi} e^{i\phi} \\
&=
\Be_{123}.
\end{aligned}
\end{equation}

This property could also have been used to compute \(\thetacap\).

Gradient

To compute the gradient, note that the coordinate vectors for the spherical parameterization are
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:sphericalLaplacian:120}
\begin{aligned}
\Bx_r
&= \PD{r}{\Br} \\
&= \PD{r}{\lr{r \rcap}} \\
&= \rcap + r \PD{r}{\rcap} \\
&= \rcap,
\end{aligned}
\end{equation}
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:sphericalLaplacian:140}
\begin{aligned}
\Bx_\theta
&= \PD{\theta}{\lr{r \rcap} } \\
&= r \PD{\theta}{} \lr{ S_\theta \Be_1 e^{i\phi} + C_\theta \Be_3 } \\
&= r \PD{\theta}{} \lr{ C_\theta \Be_1 e^{i\phi} – S_\theta \Be_3 } \\
&= r \thetacap,
\end{aligned}
\end{equation}
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:sphericalLaplacian:160}
\begin{aligned}
\Bx_\phi
&= \PD{\phi}{\lr{r \rcap} } \\
&= r \PD{\phi}{} \lr{ S_\theta \Be_1 e^{i\phi} + C_\theta \Be_3 } \\
&= r S_\theta \Be_2 e^{i\phi} \\
&= r \sin\theta \phicap.
\end{aligned}
\end{equation}

Since these are all normal, the dual vectors defined by \( \Bx^j \cdot \Bx_k = \delta^j_k \), can be obtained by inspection
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:sphericalLaplacian:180}
\begin{aligned}
\Bx^r &= \rcap \\
\Bx^\theta &= \inv{r} \thetacap \\
\Bx^\phi &= \inv{r \sin\theta} \phicap.
\end{aligned}
\end{equation}

The gradient follows immediately
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:sphericalLaplacian:200}
\spacegrad =
\Bx^r \PD{r}{} +
\Bx^\theta \PD{\theta}{} +
\Bx^\phi \PD{\phicap}{},
\end{equation}

or
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:sphericalLaplacian:240}
\boxed{
\spacegrad
=
\rcap \PD{r}{} +
\frac{\thetacap}{r} \PD{\theta}{} +
\frac{\phicap}{r\sin\theta} \PD{\phicap}{}.
}
\end{equation}

More information on this general dual-vector technique of computing the gradient in curvilinear coordinate systems can be found in
[2].

Partials

To compute the divergence, curl and Laplacian, we’ll need the partials of each of the unit vectors \( \PDi{\theta}{\rcap}, \PDi{\phi}{\rcap}, \PDi{\theta}{\thetacap}, \PDi{\phi}{\thetacap}, \PDi{\phi}{\phicap} \).

The \( \thetacap \) partials are

\begin{equation}\label{eqn:sphericalLaplacian:260}
\begin{aligned}
\PD{\theta}{\thetacap}
&=
\PD{\theta}{} \lr{
C_\theta \Be_1 e^{i\phi} – S_\theta \Be_3
} \\
&=
-S_\theta \Be_1 e^{i\phi} – C_\theta \Be_3 \\
&=
-\rcap,
\end{aligned}
\end{equation}
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:sphericalLaplacian:280}
\begin{aligned}
\PD{\phi}{\thetacap}
&=
\PD{\phi}{} \lr{
C_\theta \Be_1 e^{i\phi} – S_\theta \Be_3
} \\
&=
C_\theta \Be_2 e^{i\phi} \\
&=
C_\theta \phicap.
\end{aligned}
\end{equation}

The \( \phicap \) partials are

\begin{equation}\label{eqn:sphericalLaplacian:300}
\begin{aligned}
\PD{\theta}{\phicap}
&=
\PD{\theta}{} \Be_2 e^{i\phi} \\
&=
0.
\end{aligned}
\end{equation}
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:sphericalLaplacian:320}
\begin{aligned}
\PD{\phi}{\phicap}
&=
\PD{\phi}{} \Be_2 e^{i \phi} \\
&=
-\Be_1 e^{i \phi} \\
&=
-\rcap \gpgradezero{ \rcap \Be_1 e^{i \phi} }
– \thetacap \gpgradezero{ \thetacap \Be_1 e^{i \phi} }
– \phicap \gpgradezero{ \phicap \Be_1 e^{i \phi} } \\
&=
-\rcap \gpgradezero{ \lr{
\Be_1 e^{i\phi} S_\theta + \Be_3 C_\theta
} \Be_1 e^{i \phi} }
– \thetacap \gpgradezero{ \lr{
C_\theta \Be_1 e^{i\phi} – S_\theta \Be_3
} \Be_1 e^{i \phi} } \\
&=
-\rcap \gpgradezero{ e^{-i\phi} S_\theta e^{i \phi} }
– \thetacap \gpgradezero{ C_\theta e^{-i\phi} e^{i \phi} } \\
&=
-\rcap S_\theta
– \thetacap C_\theta.
\end{aligned}
\end{equation}

The \( \rcap \) partials are were computed as a side effect of evaluating \( \Bx_\theta \), and \( \Bx_\phi \), and are

\begin{equation}\label{eqn:sphericalLaplacian:340}
\PD{\theta}{\rcap}
=
\thetacap,
\end{equation}
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:sphericalLaplacian:360}
\PD{\phi}{\rcap}
=
S_\theta \phicap.
\end{equation}

In summary
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:sphericalLaplacian:380}
\boxed{
\begin{aligned}
\partial_{\theta}{\rcap} &= \thetacap \\
\partial_{\phi}{\rcap} &= S_\theta \phicap \\
\partial_{\theta}{\thetacap} &= -\rcap \\
\partial_{\phi}{\thetacap} &= C_\theta \phicap \\
\partial_{\theta}{\phicap} &= 0 \\
\partial_{\phi}{\phicap} &= -\rcap S_\theta – \thetacap C_\theta.
\end{aligned}
}
\end{equation}

Divergence and curl.

The divergence and curl can be computed from the vector product of the spherical coordinate gradient and the spherical representation of a vector. That is

\begin{equation}\label{eqn:sphericalLaplacian:400}
\spacegrad \BA
= \spacegrad \cdot \BA + \spacegrad \wedge \BA
= \spacegrad \cdot \BA + I \spacegrad \cross \BA.
\end{equation}

That gradient vector product is

\begin{equation}\label{eqn:sphericalLaplacian:420}
\begin{aligned}
\spacegrad \BA
&=
\lr{
\rcap \partial_{r}
+ \frac{\thetacap}{r} \partial_{\theta}
+ \frac{\phicap}{rS_\theta} \partial_{\phi}
}
\lr{ \rcap A_r + \thetacap A_\theta + \phicap A_\phi} \\
&=
\rcap \partial_{r}
\lr{ \rcap A_r + \thetacap A_\theta + \phicap A_\phi} \\
&+ \frac{\thetacap}{r} \partial_{\theta}
\lr{ \rcap A_r + \thetacap A_\theta + \phicap A_\phi} \\
&+ \frac{\phicap}{rS_\theta} \partial_{\phicap}
\lr{ \rcap A_r + \thetacap A_\theta + \phicap A_\phi} \\
&=
\lr{ \partial_r A_r + \rcap \thetacap \partial_r A_\theta + \rcap \phicap \partial_r A_\phi} \\
&+ \frac{1}{r}
\lr{
\thetacap (\partial_\theta \rcap) A_r + \thetacap (\partial_\theta \thetacap) A_\theta + \thetacap (\partial_\theta \phicap) A_\phi
+\thetacap \rcap \partial_\theta A_r + \partial_\theta A_\theta + \thetacap \phicap \partial_\theta A_\phi
} \\
&+ \frac{1}{rS_\theta}
\lr{
\phicap (\partial_\phi \rcap) A_r + \phicap (\partial_\phi \thetacap) A_\theta + \phicap (\partial_\phi \phicap) A_\phi
+\phicap \rcap \partial_\phi A_r + \phicap \thetacap \partial_\phi A_\theta + \partial_\phi A_\phi
} \\
&=
\lr{ \partial_r A_r + \rcap \thetacap \partial_r A_\theta + \rcap \phicap \partial_r A_\phi} \\
&+ \frac{1}{r}
\lr{
\thetacap (\thetacap) A_r + \thetacap (-\rcap) A_\theta + \thetacap (0) A_\phi
+\thetacap \rcap \partial_\theta A_r + \partial_\theta A_\theta + \thetacap \phicap \partial_\theta A_\phi
} \\
&+ \frac{1}{r S_\theta}
\lr{
\phicap (S_\theta \phicap) A_r + \phicap (C_\theta \phicap) A_\theta – \phicap (\rcap S_\theta + \thetacap C_\theta) A_\phi
+\phicap \rcap \partial_\phi A_r + \phicap \thetacap \partial_\phi A_\theta + \partial_\phi A_\phi
}.
\end{aligned}
\end{equation}

The scalar component of this is the divergence
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:sphericalLaplacian:440}
\begin{aligned}
\spacegrad \cdot \BA
&=
\partial_r A_r
+ \frac{A_r}{r}
+ \inv{r} \partial_\theta A_\theta
+ \frac{1}{r S_\theta}
\lr{ S_\theta A_r + C_\theta A_\theta + \partial_\phi A_\phi
} \\
&=
\partial_r A_r
+ 2 \frac{A_r}{r}
+ \inv{r} \partial_\theta A_\theta
+ \frac{1}{r S_\theta}
C_\theta A_\theta
+ \frac{1}{r S_\theta} \partial_\phi A_\phi \\
&=
\partial_r A_r
+ 2 \frac{A_r}{r}
+ \inv{r} \partial_\theta A_\theta
+ \frac{1}{r S_\theta}
C_\theta A_\theta
+ \frac{1}{r S_\theta} \partial_\phi A_\phi,
\end{aligned}
\end{equation}

which can be factored as
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:sphericalLaplacian:460}
\boxed{
\spacegrad \cdot \BA
=
\inv{r^2} \partial_r (r^2 A_r)
+ \inv{r S_\theta} \partial_\theta (S_\theta A_\theta)
+ \frac{1}{r S_\theta} \partial_\phi A_\phi.
}
\end{equation}

The bivector grade of \( \spacegrad \BA \) is the bivector curl
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:sphericalLaplacian:480}
\begin{aligned}
\spacegrad \wedge \BA
&=
\lr{
\rcap \thetacap \partial_r A_\theta + \rcap \phicap \partial_r A_\phi
} \\
&\quad + \frac{1}{r}
\lr{
\thetacap (-\rcap) A_\theta
+\thetacap \rcap \partial_\theta A_r + \thetacap \phicap \partial_\theta A_\phi
} \\
&\quad +
\frac{1}{r S_\theta}
\lr{
-\phicap (\rcap S_\theta + \thetacap C_\theta) A_\phi
+\phicap \rcap \partial_\phi A_r + \phicap \thetacap \partial_\phi A_\theta
} \\
&=
\lr{
\rcap \thetacap \partial_r A_\theta – \phicap \rcap \partial_r A_\phi
} \\
&\quad + \frac{1}{r}
\lr{
\rcap \thetacap A_\theta
-\rcap \thetacap \partial_\theta A_r + \thetacap \phicap \partial_\theta A_\phi
} \\
&\quad +
\frac{1}{r S_\theta}
\lr{
-\phicap \rcap S_\theta A_\phi + \thetacap \phicap C_\theta A_\phi
+\phicap \rcap \partial_\phi A_r – \thetacap \phicap \partial_\phi A_\theta
} \\
&=
\thetacap \phicap \lr{
\inv{r S_\theta} C_\theta A_\phi
+\frac{1}{r} \partial_\theta A_\phi
-\frac{1}{r S_\theta} \partial_\phi A_\theta
} \\
&\quad +\phicap \rcap \lr{
-\partial_r A_\phi
+
\frac{1}{r S_\theta}
\lr{
-S_\theta A_\phi
+ \partial_\phi A_r
}
} \\
&\quad +\rcap \thetacap \lr{
\partial_r A_\theta
+ \frac{1}{r} A_\theta
– \inv{r} \partial_\theta A_r
} \\
&=
I
\rcap \lr{
\inv{r S_\theta} \partial_\theta (S_\theta A_\phi)
-\frac{1}{r S_\theta} \partial_\phi A_\theta
}
+ I \thetacap \lr{
\frac{1}{r S_\theta} \partial_\phi A_r
-\inv{r} \partial_r (r A_\phi)
}
+ I \phicap \lr{
\inv{r} \partial_r (r A_\theta)
– \inv{r} \partial_\theta A_r
}
\end{aligned}
\end{equation}

This gives
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:sphericalLaplacian:500}
\boxed{
\spacegrad \cross \BA
=
\rcap \lr{
\inv{r S_\theta} \partial_\theta (S_\theta A_\phi)
-\frac{1}{r S_\theta} \partial_\phi A_\theta
}
+ \thetacap \lr{
\frac{1}{r S_\theta} \partial_\phi A_r
-\inv{r} \partial_r (r A_\phi)
}
+ \phicap \lr{
\inv{r} \partial_r (r A_\theta)
– \inv{r} \partial_\theta A_r
}.
}
\end{equation}

This and the divergence result above both check against the back cover of [1].

Laplacian

Using the divergence and curl it’s possible to compute the Laplacian from those, but we saw in cylindrical coordinates that it was much harder to do it that way than to do it directly.

\begin{equation}\label{eqn:sphericalLaplacian:540}
\begin{aligned}
\spacegrad^2 \psi
&=
\lr{
\rcap \partial_{r} +
\frac{\thetacap}{r} \partial_{\theta} +
\frac{\phicap}{r S_\theta} \partial_{\phi}
}
\lr{
\rcap \partial_{r} \psi
+ \frac{\thetacap}{r} \partial_{\theta} \psi
+ \frac{\phicap}{r S_\theta} \partial_{\phi} \psi
} \\
&=
\partial_{rr} \psi
+ \rcap \thetacap \partial_r \lr{ \inv{r} \partial_\theta \psi}
+ \rcap \phicap \inv{S_\theta} \partial_r \lr{ \inv{r} \partial_\phi \psi } \\
&
\quad + \frac{\thetacap}{r} \partial_{\theta} \lr{ \rcap \partial_{r} \psi }
+ \frac{\thetacap}{r^2} \partial_{\theta} \lr{ \thetacap \partial_{\theta} \psi }
+ \frac{\thetacap}{r^2} \partial_{\theta} \lr{ \frac{\phicap}{S_\theta} \partial_{\phi} \psi } \\
&
\quad + \frac{\phicap}{r S_\theta} \partial_{\phi} \lr{ \rcap \partial_{r} \psi }
+ \frac{\phicap}{r^2 S_\theta} \partial_{\phi} \lr{ \thetacap \partial_{\theta} \psi }
+ \frac{\phicap}{r^2 S_\theta^2} \partial_{\phi} \lr{ \phicap \partial_{\phi} \psi } \\
&=
\partial_{rr} \psi
+ \rcap \thetacap \partial_r \lr{ \inv{r} \partial_\theta \psi}
+ \rcap \phicap \inv{S_\theta} \partial_r \lr{ \inv{r} \partial_\phi \psi } \\
&
\quad + \frac{\thetacap\rcap}{r} \partial_{\theta} \lr{ \partial_{r} \psi }
+ \frac{1}{r^2} \partial_{\theta \theta} \psi
+ \frac{\thetacap \phicap}{r^2} \partial_{\theta} \lr{ \frac{1}{S_\theta} \partial_{\phi} \psi } \\
&
\quad + \frac{\phicap \rcap}{r S_\theta} \partial_{\phi r} \psi
+ \frac{\phicap\thetacap}{r^2 S_\theta} \partial_{\phi\theta} \psi
+ \frac{1}{r^2 S_\theta^2} \partial_{\phi \phi} \psi \\
&
\quad + \frac{\thetacap}{r} (\partial_\theta \rcap) \partial_{r} \psi
+ \frac{\thetacap}{r^2} (\partial_\theta \thetacap) \partial_{\theta} \psi
+ \frac{\thetacap}{r^2} (\partial_\theta \phicap) \frac{\phicap}{S_\theta} \partial_{\phi} \psi \\
&
\quad + \frac{\phicap}{r S_\theta} (\partial_\phi \rcap) \partial_{r} \psi
+ \frac{\phicap}{r^2 S_\theta} (\partial_\phi \thetacap) \partial_{\theta} \psi
+ \frac{\phicap}{r^2 S_\theta^2} (\partial_\phi \phicap) \partial_{\phi} \psi \\
&=
\partial_{rr} \psi
+ \rcap \thetacap \partial_r \lr{ \inv{r} \partial_\theta \psi}
+ \rcap \phicap \inv{S_\theta} \partial_r \lr{ \inv{r} \partial_\phi \psi } \\
&
\quad + \frac{\thetacap\rcap}{r} \partial_{\theta} \lr{ \partial_{r} \psi }
+ \frac{1}{r^2} \partial_{\theta \theta} \psi
+ \frac{\thetacap \phicap}{r^2} \partial_{\theta} \lr{ \frac{1}{S_\theta} \partial_{\phi} \psi } \\
&
\quad + \frac{\phicap \rcap}{r S_\theta} \partial_{\phi r} \psi
+ \frac{\phicap\thetacap}{r^2 S_\theta} \partial_{\phi\theta} \psi
+ \frac{1}{r^2 S_\theta^2} \partial_{\phi \phi} \psi \\
&
\quad + \frac{\thetacap}{r} (\thetacap) \partial_{r} \psi
+ \frac{\thetacap}{r^2} (-\rcap) \partial_{\theta} \psi
+ \frac{\thetacap}{r^2} (0) \frac{\phicap}{S_\theta} \partial_{\phi} \psi \\
&
\quad + \frac{\phicap}{r S_\theta} (S_\theta \phicap) \partial_{r} \psi
+ \frac{\phicap}{r^2 S_\theta} (C_\theta \phicap) \partial_{\theta} \psi
+ \frac{\phicap}{r^2 S_\theta^2} (-\rcap S_\theta – \thetacap C_\theta) \partial_{\phi} \psi
\end{aligned}
\end{equation}

All the bivector factors are expected to cancel out, but this should be checked. Those with an \( \rcap \thetacap \) factor are

\begin{equation}\label{eqn:sphericalLaplacian:560}
\partial_r \lr{ \inv{r} \partial_\theta \psi}
– \frac{1}{r} \partial_{\theta r} \psi
+ \frac{1}{r^2} \partial_{\theta} \psi
=
-\inv{r^2} \partial_\theta \psi
+\inv{r} \partial_{r \theta} \psi
– \frac{1}{r} \partial_{\theta r} \psi
+ \frac{1}{r^2} \partial_{\theta} \psi
= 0,
\end{equation}

and those with a \( \thetacap \phicap \) factor are
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:sphericalLaplacian:580}
\frac{1}{r^2} \partial_{\theta} \lr{ \frac{1}{S_\theta} \partial_{\phi} \psi }
– \frac{1}{r^2 S_\theta} \partial_{\phi\theta} \psi
+ \frac{1}{r^2 S_\theta^2} C_\theta \partial_{\phi} \psi
=
– \frac{1}{r^2} \frac{C_\theta}{S_\theta^2} \partial_{\phi} \psi
+ \frac{1}{r^2 S_\theta} \partial_{\theta \phi} \psi
– \frac{1}{r^2 S_\theta} \partial_{\phi\theta} \psi
+ \frac{1}{r^2 S_\theta^2} C_\theta \partial_{\phi} \psi
= 0,
\end{equation}

and those with a \( \phicap \rcap \) factor are
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:sphericalLaplacian:600}
– \inv{S_\theta} \partial_r \lr{ \inv{r} \partial_\phi \psi }
+ \frac{1}{r S_\theta} \partial_{\phi r} \psi
– \frac{1}{r^2 S_\theta^2} S_\theta \partial_{\phi} \psi
=
\inv{S_\theta} \frac{1}{r^2} \partial_\phi \psi
– \inv{r S_\theta} \partial_{r \phi} \psi
+ \frac{1}{r S_\theta} \partial_{\phi r} \psi
– \frac{1}{r^2 S_\theta} \partial_{\phi} \psi
= 0.
\end{equation}

This leaves
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:sphericalLaplacian:620}
\spacegrad^2 \psi
=
\partial_{rr} \psi
+ \frac{2}{r} \partial_{r} \psi
+ \frac{1}{r^2} \partial_{\theta \theta} \psi
+ \frac{1}{r^2 S_\theta} C_\theta \partial_{\theta} \psi
+ \frac{1}{r^2 S_\theta^2} \partial_{\phi \phi} \psi.
\end{equation}

This factors nicely as

\begin{equation}\label{eqn:sphericalLaplacian:640}
\boxed{
\spacegrad^2 \psi
=
\inv{r^2} \PD{r}{} \lr{ r^2 \PD{r}{ \psi} }
+ \frac{1}{r^2 \sin\theta} \PD{\theta}{} \lr{ \sin\theta \PD{\theta}{ \psi } }
+ \frac{1}{r^2 \sin\theta^2} \PDSq{\phi}{ \psi}
,
}
\end{equation}

which checks against the back cover of Jackson. Here it has been demonstrated explicitly that this operator expression is valid for multivector fields \( \psi \) as well as scalar fields \( \psi \).

References

[1] JD Jackson. Classical Electrodynamics. John Wiley and Sons, 2nd edition, 1975.

[2] A. Macdonald. Vector and Geometric Calculus. CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2012.

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