Self-force effects in post-Minkowskian scattering

Samuel E. Gralla, Kunal Lobo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


We revisit the old problem of the self-force on a particle moving in a weak-field spacetime in the context of renewed interest in two-body gravitational scattering. We analytically calculate the scalar, electromagnetic, and gravitational self-force on a particle moving on a straight-line trajectory at a large distance from a Newtonian star, and use these results to find the associated correction to its motion. In the gravitational case we must also include the matter-mediated force, which acts at the same perturbative order as the gravitational self-force. We further augment the gravitational results with geodesic calculations at second order in the central body mass to determine the full, explicit solution to the two-body gravitational scattering problem at second post-Minkowskian order (2PM). We calculate the momentum transfer (which reproduces Westpfahl's old result), the change in mechanical angular momentum (which matches the radiative flux recently computed by Damour), and the change in mechanical mass moment (the time-space components of the angular momentum tensor), which has not previously appeared. Besides the new 2PM results of explicit trajectories and all conserved quantities, this work clarifies the role of gravitational self-force in PM scattering theory and provides a foundation for higher-order calculations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number095001
JournalClassical and Quantum Gravity
Issue number9
StatePublished - May 5 2022


  • Post-Minkowskian
  • scattering
  • self-force

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physics and Astronomy (miscellaneous)


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