Self-forces in arbitrary dimensions

25 Aug 2017  ·  Harte Abraham I., Taylor Peter, Flanagan Éanna É. ·

Bodies coupled to electromagnetic or other long-range fields are subject to radiation reaction and other effects in which their own fields can influence their motion. Self-force phenomena such as these have been poorly understood for spacetime dimensions not equal to four, despite the relevance of differing dimensionalities for holographic duals, effectively two-dimensional condensed matter and fluid systems, and so on... We remedy this by showing that forces and torques acting on extended electromagnetic charges in all dimensions $d \geq 3$ have the same functional form as the usual test body expressions, except that the electromagnetic field appearing in those expressions is not the physical one; it is an effective surrogate. For arbitrary even $d \geq 4$, our surrogate field locally satisfies the source-free field equations, and is conceptually very similar to what arises in the Detweiler-Whiting prescription previously established when $d=4$. The odd-dimensional case is different, involving effective fields which are not necessarily source-free. Moreover, we find a 1-parameter family of natural effective fields for each odd $d$, where the free parameter--a lengthscale--is degenerate with (finite) renormalizations of a body's stress-energy tensor. While different parameter choices can result in different forces, they do so without affecting physical observables. Having established these general results, explicit point-particle self-forces are derived in odd-dimensional Minkowski spacetimes. Simple examples are discussed for $d=3$ and $d=5$, one of which illustrates that the particularly slow decay of fields in three spacetime dimensions results in particles creating their own "preferred rest frames:" Initially-static charges which are later perturbed have a strong tendency to return to rest. Our results easily extend also to the scalar and gravitational self-force problems. read more

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General Relativity and Quantum Cosmology High Energy Physics - Theory