Advances in Theoretical and Mathematical Physics

Volume 18 (2014)

Number 3

An exact expression for photon polarization in Kerr geometry

Pages: 659 – 686



Anusar Farooqui (Department of Mathematics and Statistics, McGill University, Montreal, Canada)

Niky Kamran (Department of Mathematics and Statistics, McGill University, Montreal, Canada)

Prakash Panangaden (School of Computer Science, McGill University, Montreal, Canada)


We analyze the transformation of the polarization of a photon propagating along an arbitrary null geodesic in Kerr geometry. The motivation comes from the problem of an observer trying to communicate quantum information to another observer in Kerr spacetime by transmitting polarized photons. It is essential that the observers understand the relationship between their frames of reference and also know how the photon’s polarization transforms as it travels through Kerr spacetime. Existing methods to calculate the rotation of the photon polarization (Faraday rotation) depend on choices of coordinate systems, are algebraically complex and yield results only in the weak-field limit.

We give a closed-form expression for a parallel propagated frame along an arbitrary null geodesic using Killing-Yano theory, and thereby solve the problem of parallel transport of the polarization vector in an intrinsic, geometrically-motivated fashion. The symmetries of Kerr geometry are utilized to obtain a remarkably compact expression for the geometrically induced phase of the photon’s polarization. We show that this phase vanishes on the equatorial plane and the axis of symmetry.

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