Causality and Superluminal Fields

Research paper by Jean-Philippe Bruneton

Indexed on: 13 Dec '06Published on: 13 Dec '06Published in: High Energy Physics - Theory


The expression of causality depends on an underlying choice of chronology. Since a chronology is provided by any Lorentzian metric in relativistic theories, there are as many expressions of causality as there are non-conformally related metrics over spacetime. Although tempting, a definitive choice of a preferred metric to which one may refer to is not satisfying. It would indeed be in great conflict with the spirit of general covariance. Moreover, a theory which appear to be non causal with respect to (hereafter, w.r.t) this metric, may well be causal w.r.t another metric. In a theory involving fields that propagate at different speeds (e.g. due to some spontaneous breaking of Lorentz invariance), spacetime is endowed with such a finite set of non-conformally related metrics. In that case one must look for a new notion of causality, such that 1. no particular metric is favored and 2. there is an unique answer to the question : ``is the theory causal?''. This new causality is unique and defined w.r.t the metric drawing the wider cone in the tangent space of a given point of the manifold. Moreover, which metric defines the wider cone may depend on the location on spacetime. In that sense, superluminal fields are generically causal, provided that some other basic requirements are met.