Two-body Dirac equations
In quantum field theory, and in the significant subfields of quantum electrodynamics and quantum chromodynamics, the two-body Dirac equations (TBDE) of constraint dynamics provide a three-dimensional yet manifestly covariant reformulation of the Bethe–Salpeter equation for two spin-1/2 particles. Such a reformulation is necessary since without it, as shown by Nakanishi, the Bethe–Salpeter equation possesses negative-norm solutions arising from the presence of an essentially relativistic degree of freedom, the relative time. These ""ghost"" states have spoiled the naive interpretation of the Bethe–Salpeter equation as a quantum mechanical wave equation. The two-body Dirac equations of constraint dynamics rectify this flaw. The forms of these equations can not only be derived from quantum field theory they can also be derived purely in the context of Dirac's constraint dynamics and relativistic mechanics and quantum mechanics. Their structures, unlike the more familiar two-body Dirac equation of Breit, which is a single equation, are that of two simultaneous quantum relativistic wave equations. A single two-body Dirac equation similar to the Breit equation can be derived from the TBDE. Unlike the Breit equation, it is manifestly covariant and free from the types of singularities that prevent a strictly nonperturbative treatment of the Breit equation.In applications of the TBDE to QED, the two particles interact by way of four-vector potentials derived from the field theoretic electromagnetic interactions between the two particles. In applications to QCD, the two particles interact by way of four-vector potentials and Lorentz invariant scalar interactions, derived in part from the field theoretic chromomagnetic interactions between the quarks and in part by phenomenological considerations. As with the Breit equation a sixteen-component spinor Ψ is used.