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Journal Article

Self-forces on static bodies in arbitrary dimensions


Harte,  Abraham I.
Astrophysical and Cosmological Relativity, AEI-Golm, MPI for Gravitational Physics, Max Planck Society;

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Harte, A. I., Flanagan, É. É., & Taylor, P. (2016). Self-forces on static bodies in arbitrary dimensions. Physical Review D, 93(12): 124054. doi:10.1103/PhysRevD.93.124054.

Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-002A-716B-B
We derive exact expressions for the scalar and electromagnetic self-forces and self-torques acting on arbitrary static extended bodies in arbitrary static spacetimes with any number of dimensions. Non-perturbatively, our results are identical in all dimensions. Meaningful point particle limits are quite different in different dimensions, however. These limits are defined and evaluated, resulting in simple "regularization algorithms" which can be used in concrete calculations. In these limits, self-interaction is shown to be progressively less important in higher numbers of dimensions; it generically competes in magnitude with increasingly high-order extended-body effects. Conversely, we show that self-interaction effects can be relatively large in $1+1$ and $2+1$ dimensions. Our motivations for this work are twofold: First, no previous derivation of the self-force has been provided in arbitrary dimensions, and heuristic arguments presented by different authors have resulted in conflicting conclusions. Second, the static self-force problem in arbitrary dimensions provides a valuable testbed with which to continue the development of general, non-perturbative methods in the theory of motion. Several new insights are obtained in this direction, including a significantly improved understanding of the renormalization process. We also show that there is considerable freedom to use different "effective fields" in the laws of motion---a freedom which can be exploited to optimally simplify specific problems. Different choices give rise to different inertias, gravitational forces, and electromagnetic or scalar self-forces, but there is a sense in which none of these quantities are individually accessible to experiment. Certain combinations are observable, however, and these remain invariant under all possible field redefinitions.