Publication details

Hamiltonian analysis of curvature-squared gravity with or without conformal invariance

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Year of publication 2014
Type Article in Periodical
Magazine / Source Physical review D
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Science

Field Theoretical physics
Keywords Hamiltonian Formalizm; Gravity
Description We analyze gravitational theories with quadratic curvature terms, including the case of conformally invariant Weyl gravity, motivated by the intention to find a renormalizable theory of gravity in the ultraviolet region, yet yielding general relativity at long distances. In the Hamiltonian formulation of Weyl gravity, the number of local constraints is equal to the number of unstable directions in phase space, which in principle could be sufficient for eliminating the unstable degrees of freedom in the full nonlinear theory. All the other theories of quadratic type are unstable—a problem appearing as ghost modes in the linearized theory. We find that the full projection of the Weyl tensor onto a three-dimensional hypersurface contains an additional fully traceless component, given by a quadratic extrinsic curvature tensor. A certain inconsistency in the literature is found and resolved: when the conformal invariance of Weyl gravity is broken by a cosmological constant term, the theory becomes pathological, since a constraint required by the Hamiltonian analysis imposes the determinant of the metric of spacetime to be zero. In order to resolve this problem by restoring the conformal invariance, we introduce a new scalar field that couples to the curvature of spacetime, reminiscent of the introduction of vector fields for ensuring the gauge invariance.
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