New approach to nonlinear electrodynamics: dualities as symmetries of interaction

Research paper by E. A. Ivanov, B. M. Zupnik

Indexed on: 21 Mar '03Published on: 21 Mar '03Published in: High Energy Physics - Theory


We elaborate on the duality-symmetric nonlinear electrodynamics in a new formulation with auxiliary tensor fields. The Maxwell field strength appears only in bilinear terms of the corresponding generic Lagrangian, while the self-interaction is presented by a function E depending on the auxiliary fields. Two types of dualities inherent in the nonlinear electrodynamics models admit a simple off-shell characterization in terms of this function. In the standard formulation, the continuous U(1) duality symmetry is nonlinearly realized on the Maxwell field strength. In the new setting, the same symmetry acts as linear U(1) transformations of the auxiliary field variables. The nonlinear U(1) duality condition proves to be equivalent to the linear U(1) invariance of the self-interaction E. The discrete self-duality (or self-duality by Legendre transformation) amounts to a weaker reflection symmetry of E. For a class of duality- symmetric Lagrangians we introduce an alternative representation with the auxiliary scalar field and find new explicit examples of such systems.