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Massless Rarita-Schwinger equations: Half and three halves spin solution

Mauricio Valenzuela, Jorge Zanelli

SciPost Phys. 16, 065 (2024) · published 4 March 2024


Counting the degrees of freedom of the massless Rarita-Schwinger theory is revisited using Behrends-Fronsdal projectors. The identification of the gauge invariant part of the vector-spinor is thus straightforward, consisting of spins 1/2 and 3/2. The validity of this statement is supported by the explicit solution found in the standard gamma-traceless gauge. Since the obtained systems are deterministic -free of arbitrary functions of time- we argue that the often-invoked residual gauge symmetry lacks fundamental grounding and should not be used to enforce new external constraints. The result is verified by the total Hamiltonian dynamics. We conclude that eliminating the spin-1/2 mode via the extended Hamiltonian dynamics would be acceptable if the Dirac conjecture was assumed; however, this framework does not accurately describe the original Lagrangian system.

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