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Projective representations of the inhomogeneous Hamilton group: Noninertial symmetry in quantum mechanics

journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-17, 12:01 authored by Low, SG, Peter JarvisPeter Jarvis, Campoamor-Stursberg, R
Symmetries in quantum mechanics are realized by the projective representations of the Lie group as physical states are defined only up to a phase. A cornerstone theorem shows that these representations are equivalent to the unitary representations of the central extension of the group. The formulation of the inertial states of special relativistic quantum mechanics as the projective representations of the inhomogeneous Lorentz group, and its nonrelativistic limit in terms of the Galilei group, are fundamental examples. Interestingly, neither of these symmetries include the Weyl–Heisenberg group; the hermitian representations of its algebra are the Heisenberg commutation relations that are a foundation of quantum mechanics. The Weyl–Heisenberg group is a one dimensional central extension of the abelian group and its unitary representations are therefore a particular projective representation of the abelian group of translations on phase space. A theorem involving the automorphism group shows that the maximal symmetry that leaves the Heisenberg commutation relations invariant is essentially a projective representation of the inhomogeneous symplectic group. In the nonrelativistic domain, we must also have invariance of Newtonian time. This reduces the symmetry group to the inhomogeneous Hamilton group that is a local noninertial symmetry of the Hamilton equations. The projective representations of these groups are calculated using the Mackey theorems for the general case of a nonabelian normal subgroup.


Publication title

Annals of Physics








School of Natural Sciences


Academic Press Inc Elsevier Science

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