Helicity (particle physics)
as the projection of orbital angular momentum along the linear momentum is zero, L→∘ = 0.
Because the eigenvalues of spin with respect to an axis have discrete values, the eigenvalues of helicity are also discrete. For a particle of spin S, the eigenvalues of helicity are S, S − 1, ..., −S. The measured helicity of a spin S particle will range from −S to +S.
In 3 + 1 dimensions, the little group for a massless particle is the double cover of SE(2). This has unitary representations which are invariant under the SE(2) "translations" and transform as eihθ under a SE(2) rotation by θ. This is the helicity h representation. There is also another unitary representation which transforms non-trivially under the SE(2) translations. This is the continuous spin representation.
In d + 1 dimensions, the little group is the double cover of SE(d − 1) (the case where d ≤ 2 is more complicated because of anyons, etc.). As before, there are unitary representations which don't transform under the SE(d − 1) "translations" (the "standard" representations) and "continuous spin" representations.
For massless spin-1⁄2 particles, helicity is equivalent to the chirality operator multiplied by ħ/2. By contrast, for massive particles, distinct chirality states (e.g., as occur in the weak interaction charges) have both positive and negative helicity components, in ratios proportional to the mass of the particle.
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