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Discrete Moyal-type representations for a spin

By Stephan Heiss and S. Weigert


In Moyal’s formulation of quantum mechanics, a quantum spin s is described in terms of continuous symbols, i.e., by smooth functions on a two-dimensional sphere. Such prescriptions to associate operators with Wigner functions, P or Q symbols, are conveniently expressed in terms of operator kernels satisfying the Stratonovich-Weyl postulates. In analogy to this approach, a discrete Moyal formalism is defined on the basis of a modified set of postulates. It is shown that appropriately modified postulates single out a well-defined set of kernels that give rise to discrete symbols. Now operators are represented by functions taking values on (2s+1)2 points of the sphere. The discrete symbols contain no redundant information, contrary to the continuous ones. The properties of the resulting discrete Moyal formalism for a quantum spin are worked out in detail and compared to the continuous formalism

Year: 2001
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