Aspects of local conformal symmetry in 1+1 dimensions
Collier, Scott Andrew
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CitationCollier, Scott Andrew. 2020. Aspects of local conformal symmetry in 1+1 dimensions. Doctoral dissertation, Harvard University, Graduate School of Arts & Sciences.
AbstractIn this dissertation we describe progress towards carving out the space of non-integrable conformal field theories (CFTs) in 1+1 dimensions using conformal bootstrap techniques. We develop and apply numerical and analytical techniques to explore the non-perturbative consequences of conformal symmetry, unitarity and locality on the spectrum and dynamics of 2D CFTs. Throughout we focus on compact irrational CFTs, which have a discrete spectrum consisting of an infinite number of primary operators and exhibit chaotic dynamics.
In the first part of the dissertation we report on numerical advances in charting the space of 2D CFTs. We use semidefinite programming to compute bounds on the gap in the spectrum of primary operators as a function of the central charge and on spectral functions that capture the spectral density of primary operators. We then develop recursion relations for arbitrary Virasoro conformal blocks, and explore the constraints of modular invariance of the genus-two partition function, leading to ``critical surfaces'' that bound the heavy structure constants of a CFT.
In the second part of the dissertation we develop the analytic bootstrap program for two dimensional conformal field theories, focusing on universal aspects of irrational unitary CFTs and holography. We show that the large-spin sector of irrational CFTs is universally governed by a ``Virasoro mean field theory,'' incorporating exact stress tensor dynamics into the analytic bootstrap and leading to non-perturbative insights about the bound-state dynamics of three-dimensional quantum gravity. We then leverage a generalized notion of modular invariance to derive a universal asymptotic formula for the average value of the structure constants whenever one or more of the operators has large conformal dimension. The large central charge limit makes contact with quantum gravity in three dimensions, where the averaging over heavy states corresponds to coarse-graining over black hole microstates. Finally, we study the Euclidean gravitational path integral of pure AdS3 quantum gravity, and use a modular bootstrap analysis to suggest new saddle point configurations that can be consistently included in the gravitational path integral and whose inclusion renders the dual torus partition function unitary.
Citable link to this pagehttps://nrs.harvard.edu/URN-3:HUL.INSTREPOS:37365728
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