Canonical structure of higher derivative theories Academic Article uri icon


  • Abstract 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.

publication date

  • January 1, 2014