Inverted time translations
by Willie Wong
As it turns out, the useful symmetries of the equation, in the geometrical case, are closedly related to the conformal symmetries of Minkowski space. These include the true symmetries (translations, rotations, and Lorentzian boosts), as well as the conformal scaling and, what we will discuss here, the inverted time translation, which lies at the heart of decay estimates for spin-1 and spin-2 fields on Minkowski space.
The inverted time translation, often denoted , is the vector field given in radial coordinates . In the picture to the upper left, the vector field is plotted along with its stream function. This vector field is a conformal symmetry of Minkowski space. The name of the vector field indicates the fact that it is associated to a conformal inversion (which is also used in the conformal compactification of Minkowski space). On Minkowski space, the inversion map is a conformal isometry. The vector field can be checked to be the vector field conjugated by the inversion map. As such, it has a very nice property compared with the other symmetry vector fields. The time translation and the inverted time translation are essentially (up to Lorentz boosts) the only globally causal conformal vector fields of Minkowski space. As such, with a dominant-energy type condition, they are the ones associated to which we have nonnegative energy controls.