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High Energy Theory Seminar

Friday, March 4, 2022
1:00pm to 2:00pm
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Bootstrapping Boundaries and Branes
Yifan Wang, New York University,

The study of conformal boundary conditions for two-dimensional conformal field theories (CFTs) has a long history, ranging from the description of impurities in one-dimensional quantum chains to the formulation of D-branes in string theory. Nevertheless, the landscape of conformal boundaries is largely unknown, including in rational CFTs, where the local operator data is completely determined. We initiate a systematic bootstrap study of conformal boundaries in 2d CFTs by investigating the bootstrap equation that arises from the open-closed consistency condition of the annulus partition function with identical boundaries. We find that this deceivingly simple bootstrap equation, when combined with unitarity, leads to surprisingly strong constraints on admissible boundary states. In particular, we derive universal bounds on the tension (boundary entropy) of stable boundary conditions, which provide a rigorous diagnostic for potential D-brane decays. We also find unique solutions to the bootstrap problem of stable branes in a number of rational CFTs. Along the way, we observe a curious connection between the annulus bootstrap and the sphere packing problem, which is a natural extension of previous work on the modular bootstrap. We also derive bounds at large central charge with implications for end-of-the-world branes in pure gravity on AdS3.

Limited capacity in 469 Lauritsen

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