Probing gauge theories: Exact results and holographic computations

by Blai Garolera Huguet

Institution: Universitat de Barcelona
Year: 2015
Keywords: Models de corda; Modelos de cuerdas vibrantes (Física nuclear); String models; Teoria quàntica de camps; Teoría cuántica de campos; Quantum field theory; Gravitació; Gravitación; Gravitation; Mecànica de matrius; Mecánica matricial; Matrix mechanics; Correspondencia AdS/CFT; Correspondència AdS/CFT; AdS/CFT correspondence; Ciències Experimentals i Matemàtiques
Record ID: 1129991
Full text PDF: http://hdl.handle.net/10803/289346


The holographic duality between gauge theories and string theories has opened a new door to access the strongly coupled regime of quantum field theories and offers, at the same time, a completely new way to understand the elusive nature of quantum gravity and the non-perturbative regime of string theory. After almost two decades of research, the current status of the correspondence is that of a solid conjecture that has passed a great number of nontrivial tests, to the point that it is generally believed to be true. The present thesis includes a collection of four papers published in peer-reviewed scientific journals, all of them in the context of the AdS/CFT correspondence and with a particular focus on studying gauge theories by inserting heavy external probes, following prescribed trajectories and transforming under various representations of the gauge group. Each of these works reports a little step forward in the development of new strategies for capturing correc- tions beyond the leading order as well as in using exact results available in quantum field theory in order to derive exact expressions for other relevant observables and new non-trivial string theory predictions. In chapters 2 and 3 we use the AdS/CFT correspondence in order to compute several observables of N = 4 SU (N ) super Yang-Mills theory related with the presence of an infinitely heavy particle transforming in the k-symmetric or the k-antisymmetric representations of the gauge group and following particular trajectories. This is achieved by means of adding certain D-brane probes with electric fluxes turned on and reaching the boundary of AdS on the very trajectories followed by the dual particles. For the antisymmetric case we consider D5-branes reaching the boundary at arbitrary time-like trajectories, while for the symmetric case, we consider a D3-brane fully embedded in AdS5 that reaches the boundary at either a straight line or a hyperbola. This generalizes previous computations that used fundamental strings, which are claimed to be dual to infinitely heavy point particles transforming in the fundamental. Besides the intrinsic interest of these generalizations, our main motivation in studying them is that, as it happens in the computation of certain Wilson loops, the results obtained with D3-branes give an all- orders series of corrections in 1/N to the leading order result for the fundamental representation obtained by means of fundamental strings. It is important to remark, one more time, that we can not really extrapolate up to k = 1, since this is beyond the regime of validity of the supergravity approximation. Therefore, it is not justified a priori to set k = 1 in our results. Nevertheless, when compared with the exact results available, we find that the D3-brane computation reproduces the correct result in the large N , λ limit and with k = 1. This better than expected performance …