Mathisson's helical motions for a spinning particle: Are they unphysical?

L. Filipe Costa, Carlos Herdeiro, José Natário, Miguel Zilhão
2012 Physical Review D  
It has been asserted in the literature that Mathisson's helical motions are unphysical, with the argument that their radius can be arbitrarily large. We revisit Mathisson's helical motions of a free spinning particle, and observe that such statement is unfounded. Their radius is finite and confined to the disk of centroids. We argue that the helical motions are perfectly valid and physically equivalent descriptions of the motion of a spinning body, the difference between them being the choice
more » ... being the choice of the representative point of the particle, thus a gauge choice. We discuss the kinematical explanation of these motions, and we dynamically interpret them through the concept of hidden momentum. We also show that, contrary to previous claims, the frequency of the helical motions coincides, even in the relativistic limit, with the zitterbewegung frequency of the Dirac equation for the electron.
doi:10.1103/physrevd.85.024001 fatcat:56pzg2x4kff33j5d5tp4zjhydi