The strategy is to try to write the charge conjugate of this equation then show that it is equivalent to the Dirac equation with the right choice of charge conjugation operator for . First of all, the sign of is expected to change in the charge conjugate equation. (Assume the equation, including the constant is the same but the sign of the EM field changes.) Second assume, for now, that the

where we are motivated by complex scalar field experience. is a 4 by 4 matrix. The

Take the

Compare this to the

The two equations will be the

Recalling the matrices in our representation,

It anti-commutes with and producing a minus sign to cancel the one from complex conjugation. It commutes with giving the right + sign. It anti-commutes with giving the right - sign.

The **charge conjugate of the Dirac spinor** is given by.

Applying this to the plane wave solutions gives.

Let us take one more look at a plane wave solution to the Dirac equation, for example
and its charge conjugate,
from the point of view that **a positron is an electron moving backward in time**.
Discard the idea of the ``negative energy'' sea.
Assume that we have found a new solution to the field equations that moves backward in time rather than forward.

The charge conjugate of the electron solution is an electron with the same charge , opposite momentum , and spin opposite to the original state. It satisfies the equation with the signs of the EM fields reversed and, because the sign of the term in the exponential is reversed, it behaves as a positive energy solution moving backward in time, with the right momentum and spin.

Our opinion of the ``negative energy'' solutions has been biased by living in a world of matter.
We know about **matter waves oscillating as**
.
There is a **symmetric set of solutions for the same particles moving ``backward in time'' oscillating as**
.
These solutions **behave like antiparticles moving forward in time**.
Consider the following diagram (which contributes to Thomson scattering) **from two points of view**.
From one point of view, an electron starts out at
, lets say in the state
.
At time
, the electron interacts with the field and makes a transition to the state
which travels backward in time to
where it again interacts and makes a transition
to
.
From the other point of view, the electron starts out at
, then, at time
, the field causes the creation of
an electron positron pair both of which propagate forward in time.
At time
, the positron and initial electron annihilate interacting with the field.
The electron produced at
propagates on into the future.

The charge conjugation operation is similar to parity.
A parity operation changes the system to a symmetric one that also satisfies the equations of motion
but is different from the original system.
**Both parity and charge conjugation are good symmetries of the Dirac equation and of the electromagnetic interaction.**The charge conjugate solution is that of an electron going backward in time that can also be treated as a positron going
forward in time.

Jim Branson 2013-04-22