Canonical structure of higher derivative theories

Eran Avraham, Ram Brustein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The canonical structure of theories whose Lagrangian contains higher powers of time derivatives is often obscured by the nonlinear relationship between the velocities and momenta. We use the Dirac formalism and define a generalized Legendre transform to overcome some of the difficulties associated with inverting the relation between velocities and momenta. We are then able to define a standard single valued symplectic structure on phase space and a compatible single valued Hamiltonian. We demonstrate the application of our formalism in several examples.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number024003
JournalPhysical Review D - Particles, Fields, Gravitation and Cosmology
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Jul 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Nuclear and High Energy Physics
  • Physics and Astronomy (miscellaneous)


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