Parameterized postNewtonian formalism
General relativity  

G_{\mu \nu} + \Lambda g_{\mu \nu}= {8\pi G\over c^4} T_{\mu \nu}


Fundamental concepts




PostNewtonian formalism is a calculational tool that expresses Einstein's (nonlinear) equations of gravity in terms of the lowestorder deviations from Newton's law of universal gravitation. This allows approximations to Einstein's equations to be made in the case of weak fields. Higher order terms can be added to increase accuracy, but for strong fields sometimes it is preferable to solve the complete equations numerically. Some of these postNewtonian approximations are expansions in a small parameter, which is the ratio of the velocity of the matter forming the gravitational field to the speed of light, which in this case is better called the speed of gravity. In the limit, when the fundamental speed of gravity becomes infinite, the postNewtonian expansion reduces to Newton's law of gravity.
The parameterized postNewtonian formalism or PPN formalism is a version of this formulation that explicitly details the parameters in which a general theory of gravity can differ from Newtonian gravity. It is used as a tool to compare Newtonian and Einsteinian gravity in the limit in which the gravitational field is weak and generated by objects moving slowly compared to the speed of light. In general, PPN formalism can be applied to all metric theories of gravitation in which all bodies satisfy the Einstein equivalence principle (EEP). The speed of light remains constant in PPN formalism and it assumes that the metric tensor is always symmetric.
Contents
 History 1
 Betadelta notation 2
 Alphazeta notation 3
 How to apply PPN 4
 Comparisons between theories of gravity 5
 Accuracy from experimental tests 6
 References 7
 See also 8
History
The earliest parameterizations of the postNewtonian approximation were performed by Sir Arthur Stanley Eddington in 1922. However, they dealt solely with the vacuum gravitational field outside an isolated spherical body. Dr. Ken Nordtvedt (1968, 1969) expanded this to include 7 parameters. Clifford Martin Will (1971) introduced a stressed, continuous matter description of celestial bodies.
The versions described here are based on WeiTou Ni (1972), Will and Nordtvedt (1972), Charles W. Misner et al. (1973) (see Gravitation (book)), and Will (1981, 1993) and have 10 parameters.
Betadelta notation
Ten postNewtonian parameters completely characterize the weakfield behavior of the theory. The formalism has been a valuable tool in tests of general relativity. In the notation of Will (1971), Ni (1972) and Misner et al. (1973) they have the following values:
\gamma  How much space curvature g_{ij} is produced by unit rest mass ? 
\beta  How much nonlinearity is there in the superposition law for gravity g_{00} ? 
\beta_1  How much gravity is produced by unit kinetic energy \textstyle\frac12\rho_0v^2 ? 
\beta_2  How much gravity is produced by unit gravitational potential energy \rho_0/U ? 
\beta_3  How much gravity is produced by unit internal energy \rho_0\Pi ? 
\beta_4  How much gravity is produced by unit pressure p ? 
\zeta  Difference between radial and transverse kinetic energy on gravity 
\eta  Difference between radial and transverse stress on gravity 
\Delta_1  How much dragging of inertial frames g_{0j} is produced by unit momentum \rho_0v ? 
\Delta_2  Difference between radial and transverse momentum on dragging of inertial frames 
g_{\mu\nu} is the 4 by 4 symmetric metric tensor and indexes i and j go from 1 to 3.
In Einstein's theory, the values of these parameters are chosen (1) to fit Newton's Law of gravity in the limit of velocities and mass approaching zero, (2) to ensure conservation of energy, mass, momentum, and angular momentum, and (3) to make the equations independent of the reference frame. In this notation, general relativity has PPN parameters \gamma=\beta=\beta_1=\beta_2=\beta_3=\beta_4=\Delta_1=\Delta_2=1 and \zeta=\eta=0
Alphazeta notation
In the more recent notation of Will & Nordtvedt (1972) and Will (1981, 1993, 2006) a different set of ten PPN parameters is used.
 \gamma=\gamma
 \beta=\beta
 \alpha_1=7\Delta_1+\Delta_24\gamma4
 \alpha_2=\Delta_2+\zeta1
 \alpha_3=4\beta_12\gamma2\zeta
 \zeta_1=\zeta
 \zeta_2=2\beta+2\beta_23\gamma1
 \zeta_3=\beta_31
 \zeta_4=\beta_4\gamma
 \xi is calculated from 3\eta=12\beta3\gamma9+10\xi3\alpha_1+2\alpha_22\zeta_1\zeta_2
The meaning of these is that \alpha_1, \alpha_2 and \alpha_3 measure the extent of preferred frame effects. \zeta_1, \zeta_2, \zeta_3, \zeta_4 and \alpha_3 measure the failure of conservation of energy, momentum and angular momentum.
In this notation, general relativity has PPN parameters
 \gamma=\beta=1 and \alpha_1=\alpha_2=\alpha_3=\zeta_1=\zeta_2=\zeta_3=\zeta_4=\xi=0
The mathematical relationship between the metric, metric potentials and PPN parameters for this notation is:
 \begin{matrix}g_{00} = 1+2U2\beta U^22\xi\Phi_W+(2\gamma+2+\alpha_3+\zeta_12\xi)\Phi_1 +2(3\gamma2\beta+1+\zeta_2+\xi)\Phi_2 \\ \ +2(1+\zeta_3)\Phi_3+2(3\gamma+3\zeta_42\xi)\Phi_4(\zeta_12\xi)A(\alpha_1\alpha_2\alpha_3)w^2U \\ \ \alpha_2w^iw^jU_{ij}+(2\alpha_3\alpha_1)w^iV_i+O(\epsilon^3) \end{matrix}
 g_{0i}=\textstyle\frac12(4\gamma+3+\alpha_1\alpha_2+\zeta_12\xi)V_i\textstyle\frac12(1+\alpha_2\zeta_1+2\xi)W_i \textstyle\frac12(\alpha_12\alpha_2)w^iU\alpha_2w^jU_{ij}+O(\epsilon^{\frac52})\;
 g_{ij}=(1+2\gamma U)\delta_{ij}+O(\epsilon^2)\;
where repeated indexes are summed. \epsilon is on the order of potentials such as U, the square magnitude of the coordinate velocities of matter, etc. w^i is the velocity vector of the PPN coordinate system relative to the mean restframe of the universe. w^2=\delta_{ij}w^iw^j is the square magnitude of that velocity. \delta_{ij}=1 if and only if i=j, 0 otherwise.
There are ten metric potentials, U, U_{ij}, \Phi_W, A, \Phi_1, \Phi_2, \Phi_3, \Phi_4, V_i and W_i, one for each PPN parameter to ensure a unique solution. 10 linear equations in 10 unknowns are solved by inverting a 10 by 10 matrix. These metric potentials have forms such as:
 U(\mathbf{x},t)=\int{\rho(\mathbf{x}',t)\over\mathbf{x}\mathbf{x}'}d^3x'
which is simply another way of writing the Newtonian gravitational potential,
 U_{ij}=\int{\rho(\mathbf{x}',t)(xx')_i(xx')_j\over\mathbf{x}\mathbf{x}'^3}d^3x'
 \Phi_W=\int{\rho(\mathbf{x}',t)\rho(\mathbf{x}'',t)(xx')_i\over\mathbf{x}\mathbf{x}'^3}\left({(x'x'')^i\over\mathbf{x}\mathbf{x}'}{(xx'')^i\over\mathbf{x}'\mathbf{x}''}\right)d^3x'd^3x''
 A=\int{\rho(\mathbf{x}',t)\left(\mathbf{v}(\mathbf{x}',t)\cdot(\mathbf{x}\mathbf{x}')\right)^2\over\mathbf{x}\mathbf{x}'^3}d^3x'
 \Phi_1=\int{\rho(\mathbf{x}',t)\mathbf{v}(\mathbf{x}',t)^2\over\mathbf{x}\mathbf{x}'}d^3x'
 \Phi_2=\int{\rho(\mathbf{x}',t)U(\mathbf{x}',t)\over\mathbf{x}\mathbf{x}'}d^3x'
 \Phi_3=\int{\rho(\mathbf{x}',t)\Pi(\mathbf{x}',t)\over\mathbf{x}\mathbf{x}'}d^3x'
 \Phi_4=\int{p(\mathbf{x}',t)\over\mathbf{x}\mathbf{x}'}d^3x'
 V_i=\int{\rho(\mathbf{x}',t)v(\mathbf{x}',t)_i\over\mathbf{x}\mathbf{x}'}d^3x'
 W_i=\int{\rho(\mathbf{x}',t)\left(\mathbf{v}(\mathbf{x}',t)\cdot(\mathbf{x}\mathbf{x}')\right)(xx')_i\over\mathbf{x}\mathbf{x}'^3}d^3x'
where \rho is the density of rest mass, \Pi is the internal energy per unit rest mass, p is the pressure as measured in a local freely falling frame momentarily comoving with the matter, and \mathbf{v} is the coordinate velocity of the matter.
Stressenergy tensor for a perfect fluid takes form
 T^{00}=\rho(1+\Pi+\mathbf{v}^2+2U)
 T^{0i}=\rho(1+\Pi+\mathbf{v}^2+2U+p/\rho)v^i
 T^{ij}=\rho(1+\Pi+\mathbf{v}^2+2U+p/\rho)v^iv^j+p\delta^{ij}(12\gamma U)
How to apply PPN
Examples of the process of applying PPN formalism to alternative theories of gravity can be found in Will (1981, 1993). It is a nine step process:
 Step 1: Identify the variables, which may include: (a) dynamical gravitational variables such as the metric g_{\mu\nu}\,, scalar field \phi\,, vector field K_\mu\,, tensor field B_{\mu\nu}\, and so on; (b) priorgeometrical variables such as a flat background metric \eta_{\mu\nu}\,, cosmic time function t\,, and so on; (c) matter and nongravitational field variables.
 Step 2: Set the cosmological boundary conditions. Assume a homogeneous isotropic cosmology, with isotropic coordinates in the rest frame of the universe. A complete cosmological solution may or may not be needed. Call the results g^{(0)}_{\mu\nu}=\mbox{diag}(c_0,c_1,c_1,c_1)\,, \phi_0\,, K^{(0)}_\mu\,, B^{(0)}_{\mu\nu}\,.
 Step 3: Get new variables from h_{\mu\nu}=g_{\mu\nu}g^{(0)}_{\mu\nu}\,, with \phi\phi_0\,, K_\muK^{(0)}_\mu\, or B_{\mu\nu}B^{(0)}_{\mu\nu}\, if needed.
 Step 4: Substitute these forms into the field equations, keeping only such terms as are necessary to obtain a final consistent solution for h_{\mu\nu}\,. Substitute the perfect fluid stress tensor for the matter sources.
 Step 5: Solve for h_{00}\, to O(2)\,. Assuming this tends to zero far from the system, one obtains the form h_{00}=2\alpha U\, where U\, is the Newtonian gravitational potential and \alpha\, may be a complicated function including the gravitational "constant" G\,. The Newtonian metric has the form g_{00}=c_0+2\alpha U\,, g_{0j}=0\,, g_{ij}=\delta_{ij}c_1\,. Work in units where the gravitational "constant" measured today far from gravitating matter is unity so set G_{\mbox{today}} = \alpha/c_0 c_1=1\,.
 Step 6: From linearized versions of the field equations solve for h_{ij}\, to O(2)\, and h_{0j}\, to O(3)\,.
 Step 7: Solve for h_{00}\, to O(4)\,. This is the messiest step, involving all the nonlinearities in the field equations. The stress–energy tensor must also be expanded to sufficient order.
 Step 8: Convert to local quasiCartesian coordinates and to standard PPN gauge.
 Step 9: By comparing the result for g_{\mu\nu}\, with the equations presented in PPN with alphazeta parameters, read off the PPN parameter values.
Comparisons between theories of gravity
A table comparing PPN parameters for 23 theories of gravity can be found in Alternatives to general relativity#PPN parameters for a range of theories.
Most metric theories of gravity can be lumped into categories. Scalar theories of gravitation include conformally flat theories and stratified theories with timeorthogonal space slices.
In conformally flat theories such as Nordström's theory of gravitation the metric is given by \mathbf{g}=f\boldsymbol{\eta}\, and for this metric \gamma=1\,, which violently disagrees with observations. In stratified theories such as Yilmaz theory of gravitation the metric is given by \mathbf{g}=f_1\mathbf{d}t \otimes \mathbf{d} t +f_2\boldsymbol{\eta}\, and for this metric \alpha_1=4(\gamma+1)\,, which also disagrees violently with observations.
Another class of theories is the quasilinear theories such as Whitehead's theory of gravitation. For these \xi=\beta\,. The relative magnitudes of the harmonics of the Earth's tides depend on \xi and \alpha_2, and measurements show that quasilinear theories disagree with observations of Earth's tides.
Another class of metric theories is the bimetric theory. For all of these \alpha_2\, is nonzero. From the precession of the solar spin we know that \alpha_2 < 4\times 10^{7}\,, and that effectively rules out bimetric theories.
Another class of metric theories is the scalar tensor theories, such as Brans–Dicke theory. For all of these, \gamma=\textstyle\frac{1+\omega}{2+\omega}\,. The limit of \gamma1<2.3\times10^{5}\, means that \omega\, would have to be very large, so these theories are looking less and less likely as experimental accuracy improves.
The final main class of metric theories is the vectortensor theories. For all of these the gravitational "constant" varies with time and \alpha_2\, is nonzero. Lunar laser ranging experiments tightly constrain the variation of the gravitational "constant" with time and \alpha_2 < 4\times 10^{7}\,, so these theories are also looking unlikely.
There are some metric theories of gravity that do not fit into the above categories, but they have similar problems.
Accuracy from experimental tests
Bounds on the PPN parameters Will (2006)
Parameter  Bound  Effects  Experiment 

\gamma1  2.3 x 10^{5}  Time delay, Light deflection  Cassini tracking 
\beta1  3 x 10^{3}  Perihelion shift  Perihelion shift 
\beta1  2.3 x 10^{4}  Nordtvedt effect with assumption \eta_N=4\beta\gamma3  Nordtvedt effect 
\xi  0.001  Earth tides  Gravimeter data 
\alpha_1  10^{4}  Orbit polarization  Lunar laser ranging 
\alpha_2  4 x 10^{7}  Spin precession  Sun axis' alignment with ecliptic 
\alpha_3  4 x 10^{20}  Selfacceleration  Pulsar spindown statistics 
\eta_N  9 x 10^{4}  Nordtvedt effect  Lunar Laser Ranging 
\zeta_1  0.02    Combined PPN bounds 
\zeta_2  4 x 10^{5}†  Binary pulsar acceleration  PSR 1913+16 
\zeta_3  10^{8}  Newton's 3rd law  Lunar acceleration 
\zeta_4  0.006‡    Kreuzer experiment 
† Will, C.M., Is momentum conserved? A test in the binary system PSR 1913 + 16, Astrophysical Journal, Part 2  Letters (ISSN 0004637X), vol. 393, no. 2, July 10, 1992, p. L59L61.
‡ Based on 6\zeta_4=3\alpha_3+2\zeta_13\zeta_3 from Will (1976, 2006). It is theoretically possible for an alternative model of gravity to bypass this bound, in which case the bound is \zeta_4< 0.4 from Ni (1972).
References
 Eddington, A. S. (1922) The Mathematical Theory of Relativity, Cambridge University Press.
 Misner, C. W., Thorne, K. S. & Wheeler, J. A. (1973) Gravitation, W. H. Freeman and Co.
 Nordtvedt Jr, K. (1968) Equivalence principle for massive bodies II: Theory, Phys. Rev. 169, 10171025.
 Nordtvedt Jr, K. (1969) Equivalence principle for massive bodies including rotational energy and radiation pressure, Phys. Rev. 180, 12931298.
 Will, C. M. (1971) Theoretical frameworks for testing relativistic gravity II: Parameterized postNewtonian hydrodynamics and the Nordtvedt effect, Astrophys. J. 163, 611628.
 Will, C. M. (1976) Active mass in relativistic gravity: Theoretical interpretation of the Kreuzer experiment, Astrophys. J., 204, 224234.
 Will, C. M. (1981, 1993) Theory and Experiment in Gravitational Physics, Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0521439736.
 Will, C. M., (2006) The Confrontation between General Relativity and Experiment, http://relativity.livingreviews.org/Articles/lrr20063/
 Will, C. M., and Nordtvedt Jr., K (1972) Conservation laws and preferred frames in relativistic gravity I, The Astrophysical Journal 177, 757.
See also
 Alternatives to general relativity#PPN parameters for a range of theories
 Linearized gravity
 PeskinTakeuchi parameter The same thing as PPN, but for electroweak theory instead of gravitation
 Tests of general relativity

