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$ ( \partial _{\mu} \partial ^{\mu}+m^2)\Phi = 0 $

Klein-Gordon Equation


The Klein-Gordon equation describes how the state of a relativistic (= fast moving) quantum system without spin changes in time.

The analogous equation for systems with half-integer spin is the Dirac Equation.

If the system only moves slowly, the Klein-Gordon equation becomes the Schrödinger Equation.


The Klein-Gordon equation can be derived from the Lagrangian

\begin{equation} \mathscr{L}= \frac{1}{2}( \partial _{\mu} \Phi \partial ^{\mu} \Phi -m^2 \Phi^2) \end{equation}

using the Euler-Lagrange equations.


The most general solution of the Klein-Gordon equation is\begin{equation}\label{KGsol} \Phi(x)= \int \mathrm{d }k^3 \frac{1}{(2\pi)^3 2\omega_k} \left( a(k){\mathrm{e }}^{ -i(k x)} + a^\dagger(k) {\mathrm{e }}^{ i(kx)}\right) .\end{equation}


The motto in this section is: the higher the level of abstraction, the better.

Why is it interesting?

The Klein-Gordon equation is the correct equation of motion that describes free spin $1$ particles.


  • $\partial _{\mu} $ denotes the partial derivative and $\partial _{\mu} \partial ^{\mu}$ stands for a sum using the Einstein sum convention, i.e. $\partial _{\mu} \partial ^{\mu} = \partial _0 \partial^0 - \partial _1 \partial^1 -\partial _2 \partial^2 -\partial _3 \partial^3$,
  • $m$ denotes the mass of the particle,
  • $\Phi$ is either the wave function of the spin $0$ particle if we use the Klein-Gordon equation in a particle theory, or describes the spin $0$ field if we work in a field theory.

Contributing authors:

Jakob Schwichtenberg Leonard Truss
equations/klein-gordon_equation.txt · Last modified: 2018/04/16 07:12 by jakobadmin