Polyhedra in loop quantum gravity

Eugenio Bianchi, Pietro Doná, Simone Speziale

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165 Scopus citations


Intertwiners are the building blocks of spin-network states. The space of intertwiners is the quantization of a classical symplectic manifold introduced by Kapovich and Millson. Here we show that a theorem by Minkowski allows us to interpret generic configurations in this space as bounded convex polyhedra in R3: A polyhedron is uniquely described by the areas and normals to its faces. We provide a reconstruction of the geometry of the polyhedron: We give formulas for the edge lengths, the volume, and the adjacency of its faces. At the quantum level, this correspondence allows us to identify an intertwiner with the state of a quantum polyhedron, thus generalizing the notion of the quantum tetrahedron familiar in the loop quantum gravity literature. Moreover, coherent intertwiners result to be peaked on the classical geometry of polyhedra. We discuss the relevance of this result for loop quantum gravity. In particular, coherent spin-network states with nodes of arbitrary valence represent a collection of semiclassical polyhedra. Furthermore, we introduce an operator that measures the volume of a quantum polyhedron and examine its relation with the standard volume operator of loop quantum gravity. We also comment on the semiclassical limit of spin foams with nonsimplicial graphs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number044035
JournalPhysical Review D - Particles, Fields, Gravitation and Cosmology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Feb 22 2011

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Nuclear and High Energy Physics
  • Physics and Astronomy (miscellaneous)


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