Spacetime geometry of acoustics and electromagnetism


Both acoustics and electromagnetism represent measurable fields in terms of dynamical potential fields. Electromagnetic force-fields form a spacetime bivector that is represented by a dynamical energy-momentum 4-vector potential field. Acoustic pressure and velocity fields form an energy-momentum density 4-vector field that is represented by a dynamical action scalar potential field. Surprisingly, standard field theory analyses of spin angular momentum based on these traditional potential representations contradict recent experiments, which motivates a careful reassessment of both theories. We analyze extensions of both theories that use the full geometric structure of spacetime to respect essential symmetries enforced by vacuum wave propagation. The resulting extensions are geometrically complete and phase-invariant (i.e., dual-symmetric) formulations that span all five grades of spacetime, with dynamical potentials and measurable fields spanning complementary grades that are related by a spacetime vector derivative (i.e., the quantum Dirac operator). These complete representations correct the equations of motion, energy-momentum tensors, forces experienced by probes, Lagrangian densities, and allowed gauge freedoms, while making manifest the deep structural connections to relativistic quantum field theories. Finally, we discuss the implications of these corrections to experimental tests.

Justin Dressel
Justin Dressel
Associate Professor of Physics

Researches quantum information, computation, and foundations.