Motivated by the search for potentially exactly solvable time-dependent string backgrounds, we determine all homogeneous plane wave (HPW) metrics in any dimension and find one family of HPWs with geodesically complete metrics and another with metrics containing null singularities. The former generalises both the Cahen-Wallach (constant Aij) metrics to time-dependent HPWs, Aij( x+), and the Ozsvath-Schücking anti-Mach metric to arbitrary dimensions. The latter is a generalisation of the known homogeneous metrics with Aij̃1/( x+) 2 to a more complicated time-dependence. We display these metrics in various coordinate systems, show how to embed them into string theory, and determine the isometry algebra of a general HPW and the associated conserved charges. We review the Lewis-Riesenfeld theory of invariants of time-dependent harmonic oscillators and show how it can be deduced from the geometry of plane waves. We advocate the use of the invariant associated with the extra (timelike) isometry of HPWs for lightcone quantisation, and illustrate the procedure in some examples.
Nuclear Physics B
- Pub Date:
- March 2003
- High Energy Physics - Theory;
- General Relativity and Quantum Cosmology
- 48 pages, LaTeX2e, v2: additional references and cosmetic corrections