Relativistic Units

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Relativistic Units

From the definition of 4-vectors shown earlier, we know that

[math]\mathbf{R} \equiv \begin{bmatrix} x^0 \\ x^1 \\ x^2 \\ x^3 \end{bmatrix}= \begin{bmatrix} ct \\ x \\ y \\ z \end{bmatrix} \qquad \qquad \mathbf{P} \equiv \begin{bmatrix} p^0 \\ p^1 \\ p^2 \\ p^3 \end{bmatrix}= \begin{bmatrix} \frac{E}{c} \\ p_x \\ p_y \\ p_z \end{bmatrix}[/math]

The 4-vectors and 4-momenta are defined to be in units of distance and momentum and as such must be multiplied or divided respectively by the speed of light to meet this requirement. For simplicity, the units of c can be chosen to be 1. This implies:


[math]\therefore\ length\ units=time\ units[/math]

This also implies that from the definition of an electromagnetic wave

[math]c \equiv \frac{1}{\sqrt{\epsilon_0 \mu_0}} \rightarrow \epsilon_0=\mu_0=1[/math]

The relativistic equation for energy

[math]E^2 \equiv m^2c^4+p^2c^2[/math]

[math]\rightarrow E^2 = m^2+p^2[/math]

[math]\therefore\ energy\ units=mass\ units=momentum\ units[/math]

The Planck-Einstein relation and the de Broglie relation can be used to substitute into the relativistic energy equation

[math]E^2 = m^2+p^2[/math]

[math]\rightarrow E=\hbar \omega \qquad \qquad p=k \hbar[/math]

[math] \hbar^2 \omega^2 = m^2+k^2 \hbar^2[/math]

Since the units of [math]\omega =\frac{1}{time}\ [/math] and the units of [math]k=\frac{1}{length}[/math] setting [math]\hbar=1[/math] will preserve the relationship

[math] length\ units=time\ units[/math]

[math]\rightarrow Energy\ units=mass\ units=momentum\ units=\frac{1}{length\ units}=\frac{1}{time\ units}[/math]

The amount of energy gained by a charged particle moving across an electric potential of 1 volt are declared to be electron-volts

[math]1eV \equiv (1V)(1e^-)= \frac{1J}{1C}(1.6021766208(98)\times 10^{-19} C)=1.6021766208(98)\times 10^{-19} J[/math]

[math]\hbar \equiv 1.054571800(13)\times 10^{-34} J \cdot s \qquad c \equiv 2.99792458\frac{m}{s}[/math]

[math]\hbar c = 3.16152649\times 10^{-26} J\cdot m[/math]

Converting to eV

[math]\frac{3.16152649\times 10^{-26} J\cdot m}{1.6021766208(98)\times 10^{-19} J}=\frac{1.9732696\times 10^{-7} eV \cdot m[/math]


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