TY - JOUR

T1 - Striking property of the gravitational Hamiltonian

AU - Ashtekar, Abhay

AU - Varadarajan, Madhavan

PY - 1994

Y1 - 1994

N2 - A Hamiltonian framework for (2+1)-dimensional gravity coupled with matter (satisfying positive energy conditions) is considered in the asymptotically flat context. It is shown that the total energy of the system is non-negative, vanishing if and only if space-time is (globally) Minkowskian. Furthermore, contrary to one's experience with usual field theories, the Hamiltonian is bounded from above. This is a genuinely nonperturbative result. In the presence of a spacelike Killing field, (3+1)-dimensional vacuum general relativity is equivalent to (2+1)-dimensional general relativity coupled to certain matter fields. Therefore, our expression provides, in particular, a formula for energy per-unit length (along the symmetry direction) of gravitational waves with a spacelike symmetry in 3+1 dimensions. A special case is that of cylindrical waves which have two hypersurface orthogonal, spacelike Killing fields. In this case, our expression is related to the "c energy" in a nonpolynomial fashion. While in the weak field limit the two agree, in the strong field regime they differ significantly. By construction, our expression yields the generator of the time translation in the full theory, and therefore represents the physical energy in the gravitational field.

AB - A Hamiltonian framework for (2+1)-dimensional gravity coupled with matter (satisfying positive energy conditions) is considered in the asymptotically flat context. It is shown that the total energy of the system is non-negative, vanishing if and only if space-time is (globally) Minkowskian. Furthermore, contrary to one's experience with usual field theories, the Hamiltonian is bounded from above. This is a genuinely nonperturbative result. In the presence of a spacelike Killing field, (3+1)-dimensional vacuum general relativity is equivalent to (2+1)-dimensional general relativity coupled to certain matter fields. Therefore, our expression provides, in particular, a formula for energy per-unit length (along the symmetry direction) of gravitational waves with a spacelike symmetry in 3+1 dimensions. A special case is that of cylindrical waves which have two hypersurface orthogonal, spacelike Killing fields. In this case, our expression is related to the "c energy" in a nonpolynomial fashion. While in the weak field limit the two agree, in the strong field regime they differ significantly. By construction, our expression yields the generator of the time translation in the full theory, and therefore represents the physical energy in the gravitational field.

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U2 - 10.1103/PhysRevD.50.4944

DO - 10.1103/PhysRevD.50.4944

M3 - Article

AN - SCOPUS:0000716603

VL - 50

SP - 4944

EP - 4956

JO - Physical review D: Particles and fields

JF - Physical review D: Particles and fields

SN - 0556-2821

IS - 8

ER -