AIP Digital Archive
The general relationship between local symmetries occurring in a Lagrangian formulation of a field theory and the corresponding constraints present in a phase space formulation are studied. First, a prescription—applicable to an arbitrary Lagrangian field theory—for the construction of phase space from the manifold of field configurations on space-time is given. Next, a general definition of the notion of local symmetries on the manifold of field configurations is given that encompasses, as special cases, the usual gauge transformations of Yang–Mills theory and general relativity. Local symmetries on phase space are then defined via projection from field configuration space. It is proved that associated to each local symmetry which suitably projects to phase space is a corresponding equivalence class of constraint functions on phase space. Moreover, the constraints thereby obtained are always first class, and the Poisson bracket algebra of the constraint functions is isomorphic to the Lie bracket algebra of the local symmetries on the constraint submanifold of phase space. The differences that occur in the structure of constraints in Yang–Mills theory and general relativity are fully accounted for by the manner in which the local symmetries project to phase space: In Yang–Mills theory all the "field-independent'' local symmetries project to all of phase space, whereas in general relativity the nonspatial diffeomorphisms do not project to all of phase space and the ones that suitably project to the constraint submanifold are "field dependent.'' As by-products of the present work, definitions are given of the symplectic potential current density and the symplectic current density in the context of an arbitrary Lagrangian field theory, and the Noether current density associated with an arbitrary local symmetry. A number of properties of these currents are established and some relationships between them are obtained.
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