, Volume 47, Issue 5, pp 347-359

Relativistic operator description of photon polarization

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Abstract

We present an operator approach to the description of photon polarization, based on Wigner’s concept of elementary relativistic systems. The theory of unitary representations of the Poincarè group, and of parity, is exploited to construct spinlike operators acting on the polarization states of a photon at each fixed energy momentum. The nontrivial topological features of these representations relevant for massless particles, and the departures from the treatment of massive finite spin representations are highlighted and addressed.