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Complex Tensors in General Relativity

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General Relativity is written in the language of tensors. A tensor is a mathematical object that maps a collection of real vectors and real covectors onto the real numbers.

What would be the physical significance of a complex tensor?

How about an integer-valued tensor?

In other words, can such an object be used to describe gravity, for example?

This post imported from StackExchange Physics at 2016-11-10 22:26 (UTC), posted by SE-user Optimus Prime
asked Nov 10, 2016 in Theoretical Physics by Optimus Prime (80 points) [ no revision ]

1 Answer

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Using complex tensors is a rather standard procedure, and it usually reveals a very rich structure of the underlying theory. For example, in QFT you can continue S-matrix amplitudes into the complex plane, where the momenta effectively become complex; you can use the information to relate different physical processes (crossing symmetry) and to deduce analiticity properties of the scattering amplitudes (which are closely related to unitarity). Moreover, complex manifolds are used a lot in supersymmetry and other branches of physics.

On the other hand, tensors that map tensors into integers is rather useless, because you lose the ability to use differential equations.

This post imported from StackExchange Physics at 2016-11-10 22:26 (UTC), posted by SE-user AccidentalFourierTransform
answered Nov 10, 2016 by AccidentalFourierTransform (375 points) [ no revision ]
Which reference would you recommend which discusses its application well in QFT?

This post imported from StackExchange Physics at 2016-11-10 22:26 (UTC), posted by SE-user Optimus Prime
@OptimusPrime I really like Itzykson C., Zuber J.-B. Quantum field theory (e.g., chapter 5-3, Unitarity and Causality, and chapter 6-3, Analiticity Properties). You may also want to have a quick look at Weinberg's QFT. Vol I, section 10.8, Dispersion relations (page 462).

This post imported from StackExchange Physics at 2016-11-10 22:26 (UTC), posted by SE-user AccidentalFourierTransform
I'll definitely look into it AFT. Thank you for the accuracy.

This post imported from StackExchange Physics at 2016-11-10 22:26 (UTC), posted by SE-user Optimus Prime

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