Mass ladder operators from spacetime conformal symmetry
AbstractLadder operators can be useful constructs, allowing for unique insight and intuition. In fact, they have played a special role in the development of quantum mechanics and field theory. Here, we introduce a novel type of ladder operators, which map a scalar field onto another massive scalar field. We construct such operators, in arbitrary dimensions, from closed conformal Killing vector fields, eigenvectors of the Ricci tensor. As an example, we explicitly construct these objects in anti–de Sitter (AdS) spacetime and show that they exist for masses above the Breitenlohner-Freedman bound. Starting from a regular seed solution of the massive Klein-Gordon equation, mass ladder operators in AdS allow one to build a variety of regular solutions with varying boundary condition at spatial infinity. We also discuss mass ladder operator in the context of spherical harmonics, and the relation between supersymmetric quantum mechanics and so-called Aretakis constants in an extremal black hole.