Towards integrability for AdS3/CFT2

A. Sfondrini

Research output: ThesisDoctoral thesis 1 (Research UU / Graduation UU)


In this thesis we consider certain supersymmetric string theories on curved backgrounds containing the three-dimensional anti-de Sitter space, AdS3. On the one hand, these are gravity theories in three dimensions, which makes them simpler than real-world gravity but still rich in interesting phenomena. On the other hand, according to the holographic duality, each of these gravitational theories should be equivalent to a suitable quantum field theory with conformal symmetry in two dimensions, a CFT2. In that low dimension, such conformal field theories enjoy an infinite-dimensional Virasoro symmetry which strongly constrains them, but remain non-trivial. Our study is confined to a particular regime, the 't Hooft limit, in which the strings propagate freely. Free string theory can be described as a non-linear sigma model from the string worldsheet (geometrically, a two-dimensional cylinder) into a target space of the form AdS3xM, where M is a manifold without boundary. For us, M is a product of circles and three-dimensional spheres, namely M=S3xT4 or M=S3xS3xS1, both of which enjoy 16 supersymmetries. For the sake of brevity, our presentation is mostly focused on the massive sector of the former geometry, while more general cases are discussed in the concluding chapter. Our main result is to describe how these theories are integrable at the quantum level, i.e. how their worldsheet scattering matrix factorises and their spectrum can be efficiently computed by Bethe ansatz techniques. This is done both from the point of view of the worldsheet theory and of a dual spin chain picture. We also discuss how this procedure is supported by overwhelming evidence from independent (perturbative or semiclassical) calculations, up to two loops in the worldsheet theory expansion.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • Utrecht University
  • Arutyunov, G.E., Primary supervisor
Award date28 Apr 2014
Print ISBNs978-94-6259-086-1
Publication statusPublished - 28 Apr 2014


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