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Birefringence in pseudo-Finsler spacetimes

  • Skakala, Jozef
  • Visser, Matt
Published Article
Publication Date
Oct 24, 2008
Submission Date
Oct 24, 2008
DOI: 10.1088/1742-6596/189/1/012037
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Based on the analogue spacetime programme, and many other ideas currently mooted in "quantum gravity", there is considerable ongoing speculation that the usual pseudo-Riemannian (Lorentzian) manifolds of general relativity might eventually be modified at short distances. Two specific modifications that are often advocated are the adoption of Finsler geometries (or more specifically, pseudo-Finsler spacetimes) and the possibility of birefringence (or more generally, multi-refringence). We have investigated the possibility of whether it is possible to usefully and cleanly deal with these two possibilities simultaneously. That is, given two (or more) "signal cones": Is it possible to naturally and intuitively construct a "unified" pseudo-Finsler spacetime such that the pseudo-Finsler metric is null on these "signal cones", but has no other zeros or singularities? Our results are much less encouraging than we had originally hoped, and suggest that while pseudo-Finsler spacetimes are certainly useful constructs, it is physically more appropriate to think of physics as taking place in a single topological manifold that carries several distinct pseudo-Finsler metrics, one for each polarization mode.

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