The Wigner little group for massless particles is isomorphic to the Euclidean group SE(2). Applied to momentum eigenstates, or to infinite plane waves, the Euclidean "Wigner translations" act as the identity. We show that when applied to finite wave packets, the translation generators move the packet trajectory parallel to itself through a distance proportional to the particle's helicity. We relate this effect to the spin Hall effect of light and to the Lorentz-frame dependence of the position of a massless spinning particle.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physics and Astronomy(all)