Regular Article – Theoretical Physics
Vaidya geometries and scalar fields with null gradients
Department of Physics and Astronomy, Bishop’s University, 2600 College Street, J1M 1Z7, Sherbrooke, Québec, Canada
Accepted: 8 March 2021
Published online: 15 March 2021
Since, in Einstein gravity, a massless scalar field with lightlike gradient behaves as a null dust, one could expect that it can act as the matter source of Vaidya geometries. We show that this is impossible because the Klein–Gordon equation forces the null geodesic congruence tangent to the scalar field gradient to have zero expansion, contradicting a basic property of Vaidya solutions. By contrast, exact plane waves travelling at light speed and sourced by a scalar field acting as a null dust are possible.
© The Author(s) 2021
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