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5

Lecture 5 (Notes: C. Kottke)

5.1

Spinors

We have a natural action of V V on

V . Indeed, if X + V V and

V , let

(X + ) = iX + .
Then
(X + )2

= iX (iX + ) + (iX + )
= (iX ) iX + iX
= X + , X +

where , is the natural symmetric bilinear form on V V :


1
X + , Y + = ((Y ) + (X)).
2

2
Thus we have an action of v V V with v = v, v. This is the dening relation for the Cliord
Algebra CL(V V ).
For a general vector space E, CL(E, , ) is dened by

CL(E, , ) =
E/ v v v, v1
That is, CL(E, , ) is the quotient of the graded tensor product of E by the free abelian group generated
by
all elements of the form v v v, v1 for v E. Note in particular that if , 0 then CL(E, , ) = E.

n
=
We therefore have representation CL(V V ) End( V )
= End(R2 ) where n = dimV . This is
called the spin representation for CL(V V ).
Choose an orthonormal basis for V V , i.e. {e1 e1 , . . . , en en }. The cliord algebra has a natural
volume element in terms of this basis given by
(1)

n(n1)
2

(e1 e1 ) (en en )(e1 + e1 ) (en + en ).

Problem. Show 1 = 1, ei = ei , ei = ei , and 1 = 1, considering 1 as the element in


on by the cliord algebra.

V acted

The eigenspace of is naturally split, and we have


S + Ker( 1) =

ev

S Ker( + 1) =

od

The ei are known as creation operators and the ei as annihilation operators. We dene the spinors S
by

S = V = S+ S
Here is another view. V is naturally embedded in V V , so we have

CL(V ) = V CL(V V )
since V, V = 0. Note in particular that det V CL(V V ), where detV is generated by e1 en in
terms of our basis elements. detV is a minimal ideal in CL(V V ), so CL(V V ) detV CL(V V ).
Elements of CL(V V ) det V are generated by elements which look like
(1, ei , ei ej , . . .) e1 en


no ei f det V
For x CL(V V ) and S, the action x satises xf = (x )f .
Problem. Show that this action coincides with the Cartan action.
16

5.2

The Spin Group

The spin group Spin(V V ) CL(V V ) is dened by


Spin(V V ) = {v1 vr : vi V V , vi , vi = , r even.}
Spin(V V ) is a double cover of the special orthogonal group SO(V V ); there is a map
2:1

: Spin(V V ) SO(V V )
where the action (x) v = xvx1 in CL(V V ).
The adjoint action in the Lie algebra so(V V ) is given by
dx : v [x, v]
where [, ] is the commutator in CL(V V ), so
2
(V V ).
so(V V ) = span{[x, y] : x, y V V }
=
Recall that

(V V ) =

V End(V ), so a generic element in

B++A

(V V ) looks like

V End(V )

In terms of the basis, say B = Bij ei ej , ij ei ej , and A = Aji ei ej . In CL(V V ), these become Bij ei ej ,
ij ej ei and 12 Aji (ej ei ei ej ), respectively. Consider the action of each type of element on the spinors.
(Bij ei ej ) = Bij ei ei = B
( ij ej ei ) = ij iej iei = i

1 j
1 j
1 j i
1
j i
i
i
i
i
A (ej e e ej ) = Ai (iej (e ) e iej ) = ( Ai j ) Ai e ej =
TrA A
2 i
2
2
2
2
Given B
V , recall the B eld transform eB . This acts on the spinors via

eB
= + B +

1
B B +

2!

Note that there are onlynitely many terms in the above.


2
V , we have
Similarly, given
1
e = + i + i i +
2
For A End(V ), eA g GL+ (V ), we have
g=

det(g) g 1

so that, as a GL+ (V ) representation, S


= V (detV )1/2 .

17

5.3

A Bilinear Pairing on Spinors

Let ,

V and consider the reversal map :

V where

1 k k 1

Dene
(, ) = [() ]n detV
where n = dim V , and the subscript n on the bracket indicates that we take only the degree n parts of the
resulting form.
Proposition 3. For x CL(V V ), (x , ) = (, (x) )
Proof. Recall that (x )f = xf and
(, )

= if (, )f
= if (() ))f
= (f )()f
=

(f )f

so (x , ) = (xf )f = (f )(x)f = (, (x)).


Corollary 2. We have
(v , v ) = (, (v)v ) = v, v(, )
Also, for g Spin(V V ),
(g , g ) = 1(, )
Example. Suppose n = 4, and ,

ev

V , so that
= 0 + 2 + 4

and similarly for , where the subscripts indicate forms of degree 0, 2, and 4. Then () = 0 2 + 4 and

(, ) = (0 2 + 4 ) (0 + 2 + 4 ) 4 = 0 4 + 0 4 2 2
If n = 4 and ,

od

V , then

(, ) = (1 3 ) (1 + 3 ) 4 = 1 3 3 1 .

Proposition 4. In general, (, ) = (1)


Problem.

n(n1)
2

(, )

What is the signature of (, ) when symmetric?

Show that (, ) is non-degenerate on S .


Show that in dimension 4, the 16 dimensional space

18

V has a non degenerate symmetric form

5.4

Pure Sphors

Let 4 E A'tFC be any nonzero spinor, and d&e the nulI space of 4 as

L9 = { X + t E V e V * : (X+t)-$=00).
on d under the spin representation. If

It is deas then that &$ depends equi-tly


&-g.+>

where p : Sph[V V*)+ s o p


W e d , if x,y E L# we have

g Spin(VEB If*$

Y*)as b d m The key prop*

of the null space h that Tt h *Isotrapic.

+ wj@= 0.

2(x,vM = (w

~ ~ ~ ~ V ~ , O i s p u r e ~ ~ L ~ = ( X + ~ : ~ B + ~whicbisZ5ir~;hdeedthisfs
ri0=0)=~6~{8)
what we eded Lwer 8,O).
Simihrly, wkdming eB@,

have L e p s = &(Ker 0,.f * B).

Given aDirwstructure L(E,e],


choose 01, ...,@A guehthat (01, ...,8,) = h E .
s u & W f f B = ~ .~ $ = e - B 8 L ~ - . m ~ B ~ i s p u r e o t n d L c = L ( E , c ) ,

C~OOM
3 E A'V*

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