Regular Article - Theoretical Physics
Canonical quantization of so-called non-Lagrangian systems
Instituto de Física, Universidade de São Paulo, Caixa Postal 66318-CEP, 05315-970, São Paulo, S.P., Brazil
2 Physics Department, Tomsk State University, Tomsk, 634050, Russia
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Published online: 21 February 2007
We present an approach to the canonical quantization of systems with equations of motion that are historically called non-Lagrangian equations. Our viewpoint of this problem is the following: despite the fact that a set of differential equations cannot be directly identified with a set of Euler–Lagrange equations, one can reformulate such a set in an equivalent first-order form that can always be treated as the Euler–Lagrange equations of a certain action. We construct such an action explicitly. It turns out that in the general case the hamiltonization and canonical quantization of such an action are non-trivial problems, since the theory involves time-dependent constraints. We adopt the general approach of hamiltonization and canonical quantization for such theories as described in D.M. Gitman, I.V. Tyutin, Quantization of Fields with Constraints (Springer, Berlin, 1990). to the case under consideration. There exists an ambiguity (that cannot be reduced to the addition of a total time derivative) in associating a Lagrange function with a given set of equations. We present a complete description of this ambiguity. The proposed scheme is applied to the quantization of a general quadratic theory. In addition, we consider the quantization of a damped oscillator and of a radiating point-like charge.
© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg, 2007