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The geometry and representation theory of superconformal quantum mechanics

dc.contributorDorey, Nick
dc.creatorSingleton, Andrew John
dc.description.abstractWe study aspects of the quantum mechanics of nonlinear $\sigma$-models with superconformal invariance. The connection between the differential geometry of the target manifold and symmetries of the quantum mechanics is explored, resulting in a classification of spaces admitting $\mathcal{N}=(n,n)$ superconformal invariance with $n=1,2,4$. We construct the corresponding superalgberas $\mathfrak{su}(1,1|1),~\mathfrak{u}(1,1|2)$ and $\mathfrak{osp}(4^*|4)$ explicitly. The low-energy dynamics of Yang-Mills instantons is an example of the latter and arises naturally in the discrete light-cone quantisation (DLCQ) of certain superconformal field theories. In particular, we study in some detail the quantum mechanics arising in the DLCQ of the six-dimensional (2,0) theory and four-dimensional $\mathcal{N}=4$ SUSY Yang-Mills. In the (2,0) case we carry out a detailed study of the representation theory of the light-cone superalgebra $\mathfrak{osp}(4^*|4)$. We give a complete classification of the unitary irreducible representations and their branching at the unitarity bound, and use this information to construct the superconformal index for $\mathfrak{osp}(4^*|4)$. States contribute to the index if and only if they are in the cohomology of a particular supercharge, which we identify as the $L^2$ Dolbeault cohomology of instanton moduli space with values in a real line bundle. In the SUSY Yang-Mills case the target space is the Coulomb branch of an elliptic quiver gauge theory, and as such is a scale-invariant special Kähler manifold. We describe a new type of $\sigma$-model with $\mathcal{N}=(4,4)$ superconformal symmetry and $U(1)\times SO(6)$ R-symmetry which exists on any such manifold. These models exhibit $\mathfrak{su}(1,1|4)$ invariance and we give an explicit construction of the superalgebra in terms of known functions. Consideration of the spectral problem for the dilatation operator in these models leads to a deformation which we interpret, via an extension of the moduli space approximation, as an anti-self-dual spacetime magnetic field coupling to the topological instanton current.
dc.publisherUniversity of Cambridge
dc.publisherDepartment of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics
dc.publisherJesus College
dc.titleThe geometry and representation theory of superconformal quantum mechanics

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