Berry phase, Lorentz covariance, and anomalous velocity for Dirac and Weyl particles

Michael Stone, Vatsal Dwivedi, Tianci Zhou

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We consider the relation between spin and the Berry-phase contribution to the anomalous velocity of massive and massless Dirac particles. We extend the Berry connection that depends only on the spatial components of the particle momentum to one that depends on the space and time components in a covariant manner. We show that this covariant Berry connection captures the Thomas-precession part of the Bargmann-Michel-Telegdi spin evolution, and contrast it with the traditional (unitary, but not naturally covariant) Berry connection that describes spin-orbit coupling. We then consider how the covariant connection enters the classical relativistic dynamics of spinning particles due to Mathisson, Papapetrou and Dixon. We discuss the problems that arise with Lorentz covariance in the massless case, and trace them mathematically to a failure of the Wigner-translation part of the massless-particle little group to be an exact gauge symmetry in the presence of interactions, and physically to the fact that the measured position of a massless spinning particle is necessarily observer dependent.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number025004
JournalPhysical Review D - Particles, Fields, Gravitation and Cosmology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 6 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nuclear and High Energy Physics
  • Physics and Astronomy (miscellaneous)


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