Advances in Theoretical and Mathematical Physics

Volume 22 (2018)

Number 8

Tractors and twistors from conformal Cartan geometry: a gauge theoretic approach, I. Tractors

Pages: 1831 – 1883



Jeremy Attard (Aix Marseille Université, Université de Toulon, CNRS, CPT, Marseille, France)

Jordan François (Service de Physique de l’Univers, Champs et Gravitation, Université de Mons, Belgium)


Tractors and Twistors bundles both provide natural conformally covariant calculi on $4D$-Riemannian manifolds. They have different origins but are closely related, and usually constructed bottom-up from prolongation of defining differential equations. We propose alternative top-down gauge theoretic constructions starting from the conformal Cartan bundle $\mathcal{P}$ and its vectorial $E$ and spinorial $\mathsf{E}$ associated bundles. Our key ingredient is the dressing field method of gauge symmetry reduction, which allows to exhibit tractors and twistors and their associated connections as gauge fields of a nonstandard kind as far as Weyl rescaling symmetry is concerned. By which we mean that they implement the gauge principle but are of a different geometric nature than the well known differential geometric objects usually underlying gauge theories. We provide the corresponding BRST treatment. The present paper deals with the case of tractors while a companion paper deals with twistors.

Published 15 July 2019