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(2013)CLASSICAL AND QUANTUM GRAVITY.30(16). Mark abstract We consider time reversal transformations to obtain twofold orthogonal splittings of any tensor on a Lorentzian space of arbitrary dimension n. Applied to the Weyl tensor of a spacetime, this leads to a definition of its electric and magnetic parts relative to an observer (defined by a unit timelike vector field u), in any dimension. We study the cases where one of these parts vanishes in detail, i.e., purely electric (PE) or magnetic (PM) spacetimes. We generalize several results from four to higher dimensions and discuss new features of higher dimensions. For instance, we prove that the only permitted Weyl types are G, I-i and D, and discuss the possible relation of u with the Weyl aligned null directions (WANDs); we provide invariant conditions that characterize PE/PM spacetimes, such as Bel-Debever-like criteria, or constraints on scalar invariants, and connect the PE/PM parts to the kinematic quantities of u; we present conditions under which direct product spacetimes (and certain warps) are PE/PM, which enables us to construct explicit examples. In particular, it is also shown that all static spacetimes are necessarily PE, while stationary spacetimes (such as spinning black holes) are in general neither PE nor PM. Whereas ample classes of PE spacetimes exist, PM solutions are elusive; specifically, we prove that PM Einstein spacetimes of type D do not exist, in any dimension. Finally, we derive corresponding results for the electric/magnetic parts of the Riemann tensor, which is useful when considering spacetimes with matter fields, and moreover leads to first examples of PM spacetimes in higher dimensions. We also note in passing that PE/PM Weyl (or Riemann) tensors provide examples of minimal tensors, and we make the connection hereof with the recently proved alignment theorem (Hervik 2011 Class. Quantum Grav. 28 215009). This in turn sheds new light on the classification of the Weyl tensors based on null alignment, providing a further invariant characterization that distinguishes the (minimal) types G/I/D from the (non-minimal) types II/III/N.

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Autor: S Hervik, M Ortaggio and Lode Wylleman



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