International
Tables for Crystallography Volume D Physical properties of crystals Edited by A. Authier © International Union of Crystallography 2006 |
International Tables for Crystallography (2006). Vol. D, ch. 1.1, p. 10
Section 1.1.3.7.3. Properties of the vector product^{a}Institut de Minéralogie et de la Physique des Milieux Condensés, Bâtiment 7, 140 rue de Lourmel, 75015 Paris, France |
Expression (1.1.3.4) of the vector product shows that it is of a covariant nature. This is indeed correct, and it is well known that the vector product of two vectors of the direct lattice is a vector of the reciprocal lattice [see Section 1.1.4 of Volume B of International Tables for Crystallography (2001)].
The vector product is a very particular vector which it is better not to call a vector: sometimes it is called a pseudovector or an axial vector in contrast to normal vectors or polar vectors. The components of the vector product are the independent components of the antisymmetric tensor . In the space of n dimensions, one would write
The number of independent components of is equal to or 3 in the space of three dimensions and 6 in the space of four dimensions, and the independent components of are not the components of a vector in the space of four dimensions.
Let us also consider the behaviour of the vector product under the change of axes represented by the matrix
This is a symmetry with respect to a point that transforms a right-handed set of axes into a left-handed set and reciprocally. In such a change, the components of a normal vector change sign. Those of the vector product, on the contrary, remain unchanged, indicating – as one well knows – that the orientation of the vector product has changed and that it is not, therefore, a vector in the normal sense, i.e. independent of the system of axes.
References
International Tables for Crystallography (2001). Vol. B. Reciprocal space, edited by U. Shmueli. Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers.