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Localization and Dualities in Three Dimensional Superconformal Field Theories


Willett, Brian M. (2012) Localization and Dualities in Three Dimensional Superconformal Field Theories. Dissertation (Ph.D.), California Institute of Technology. doi:10.7907/F9V6-HD05.


In this thesis we apply the technique of localization to three-dimensional N=2 superconformal field theories. We consider both theories which are exactly superconformal, and those which are believed to flow to nontrivial superconformal fixed points, for which we consider implicitly these fixed points. We find that in such theories, the partition function and certain supersymmetric observables, such as Wilson loops, can be computed exactly by a matrix model. This matrix model consists of an integral over g, the Lie algebra of the gauge group of the theory, of a certain product of 1-loop factors and classical contributions. One can also consider a space of supersymmetric deformations of the partition function corresponding to the set of abelian global symmetries.

In the second part of the thesis we apply these results to test dualities. We start with the case of ABJM theory, which is dual to M-theory on an asymptotically AdS_4xS^7 background. We extract strong coupling results in the field theory, which can be compared to semiclassical, weak coupling results in the gravity theory, and a nontrivial agreement is found. We also consider several classes of dualities between two three-dimensional field theories, namely, 3D mirror symmetry, Aharony duality, and Giveon-Kutasov duality. Here the dualities are typically between the IR limits of two Yang-Mills theories, which are strongly coupled in three dimensions since Yang-Mills theory is asymptotically free here. Thus the comparison is again very nontrivial, and relies on the exactness of the localization computation. We also compare the deformed partition functions, which tests the mapping of global symmetries of the dual theories. Finally, we discuss some recent progress in the understanding of general three-dimensional theories in the form of the F-theorem, a conjectured analogy to the a-theorem in four dimensions and c-theorem in two dimensions, which is closely related to the localization computation.

Item Type:Thesis (Dissertation (Ph.D.))
Subject Keywords:Quantum Field Theory; Supersymmetry; Dualities; String Theory
Degree Grantor:California Institute of Technology
Division:Physics, Mathematics and Astronomy
Major Option:Physics
Awards:John Stager Semple Memorial Prize in Physics, 2010
Thesis Availability:Public (worldwide access)
Research Advisor(s):
  • Kapustin, Anton N.
Group:Caltech Theory
Thesis Committee:
  • Kapustin, Anton N. (chair)
  • Schwarz, John H.
  • Wise, Mark B.
  • Porter, Frank C.
Defense Date:15 May 2012
Record Number:CaltechTHESIS:05312012-151945114
Persistent URL:
Default Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:7111
Deposited By: Brian Willett
Deposited On:01 Jun 2012 18:01
Last Modified:03 Oct 2019 23:56

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