Australian Journal of Physics Australian Journal of Physics Society
A journal for the publication of original research in all branches of physics

Exact Solutions of the Heisenberg Equations and Zitterbewegung of the Electron in a Constant Uniform Magnetic Field

AO Barut and AJ Bracken

Australian Journal of Physics 35(4) 353 - 370
Published: 1982


For a free Dirac electron, the Heisenberg equations define an internal dynamical system in the rest frame, isomorphic to a finite three-dimensional oscillator with a compact SO(5) phase space, such that the spin of the electron is the orbital angular momentum of the internal dynamics (Barut and Bracken 1980, 1981a). In the present work, the change in this internal dynamics due to an external magnetic field is studied. In order that the internal motion can be distinguished from the centre of mass motion, the solutions of the corresponding Hamilton and Heisenberg equations for the relativistic classical motion and the relativistic quantum mechanical spinless motion are also presented. The solutions for the electron exhibit the effect of the spin terms both in the internal motion and external motion, and we are able to identify the properties of the Zitterbewegung in the external field.

© CSIRO 1982

PDF (4.6 MB) Export Citation Cited By (4)