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Luis F Costa, José Natário, and Miguel Zilhão (2016)

Spacetime dynamics of spinning particles: Exact electromagnetic analogies

We compare the rigorous equations describing the motion of spinning test particles in gravitational and electromagnetic fields, and show that if the Mathisson-Pirani spin condition holds then exact gravito-electromagnetic analogies emerge. These analogies provide a familiar formalism to treat gravitational problems, as well as a means for comparing the two interactions. Fundamental differences are manifest in the symmetries and time projections of the electromagnetic and gravitational tidal tensors. The physical consequences of the symmetries of the tidal tensors are explored comparing the following analogous setups: magnetic dipoles in the field of nonspinning/spinning charges, and gyroscopes in the Schwarzschild, Kerr, and Kerr–de Sitter spacetimes. The implications of the time projections of the tidal tensors are illustrated by the work done on the particle in various frames; in particular, a reciprocity is found to exist: in a frame comoving with the particle, the electromagnetic (but not the gravitational) field does work on it, causing a variation of its proper mass; conversely, for “static observers,” a stationary gravitomagnetic (but not a magnetic) field does work on the particle, and the associated potential energy is seen to embody the Hawking-Wald spin-spin interaction energy. The issue of hidden momentum, and its counterintuitive dynamical implications, is also analyzed. Finally, a number of issues regarding the electromagnetic interaction and the physical meaning of Dixon’s equations are clarified.