Ashoke Sen

Ashoke Sen
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Ashoke Sen

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High Energy Physics - Theory (50)
General Relativity and Quantum Cosmology (17)
Mathematics - Algebraic Geometry (6)
High Energy Physics - Phenomenology (5)
Mathematics - Representation Theory (3)
Cosmology and Nongalactic Astrophysics (2)
Mathematics - Number Theory (1)
High Energy Physics - Lattice (1)

Publications Authored By Ashoke Sen

We review recent developments in the construction of heterotic and type II string field theories and their various applications. These include systematic procedures for determining the shifts in the vacuum expectation values of fields under quantum corrections, computing renormalized masses and S-matrix of the theory around the shifted vacuum and a proof of unitarity of the S-matrix. The S-matrix computed this way is free from all divergences when there are more than 4 non-compact space-time dimensions, but suffers from the usual infrared divergences when the number of non-compact space-time dimensions is 4 or less. Read More

Superstring field theory gives expressions for heterotic and type II string loop amplitudes that are free from ultraviolet and infrared divergences when the number of non-compact space-time dimensions is five or more. We prove the subleading soft graviton theorem in these theories to all orders in perturbation theory for S-matrix elements of arbitrary number of finite energy external states but only one external soft graviton. We also prove the leading soft graviton theorem for arbitrary number of finite energy external states and arbitrary number of soft gravitons. Read More

We use insights from superstring field theory to prove the subleading soft graviton theorem for tree amplitudes of (compactified) heterotic and type II string theories for arbitrary number of finite energy NS (NSNS) sector external states but only one soft graviton. We also prove the leading soft graviton theorem in these theories for arbitrary number of external soft gravitons. In our analysis there is no restriction on the mass and spin of the finite energy external states. Read More

Conventional superstring perturbation theory based on the world-sheet approach gives divergent results for the S-matrix whenever the total center of mass energy of the incoming particles exceeds the threshold of production of any final state consistent with conservation laws. Two systematic approaches have been suggested for dealing with this difficulty. The first one involves deforming the integration cycles over the moduli space of punctured Riemann surfaces into complexified moduli space. Read More

By integrating out the heavy fields in type II or heterotic string field theory one can construct the effective action for the light fields. This effective theory inherits all the algebraic structures of the parent theory and the effective action automatically satisfies the Batalin-Vilkovisky quantum master equation. This theory is manifestly ultraviolet finite, has only light fields as its explicit degrees of freedom, and the Feynman diagrams of this theory reproduce the exact scattering amplitudes of light states in string theory to any arbitrary order in perturbation theory. Read More

We complete the proof of unitarity of (compactified) heterotic and type II string field theories by showing that in the cut diagrams only physical states appear in the sum over intermediate states. This analysis takes into account the effect of mass and wave-function renormalization, and the possibility that the true vacuum may be related to the perturbative vacuum by small shifts in the string fields. Read More

Most of the massive states in superstring theory are expected to undergo mass renormalization at one loop order. Typically these corrections should contain imaginary parts, indicating that the states are unstable against decay into lighter particles. However in such cases, direct computation of the renormalized mass using superstring perturbation theory yields divergent result. Read More

We determine the reality conditions on the string fields that make the action for heterotic and type II string field theories real. Read More

Superstring field theory expresses the perturbative S-matrix of superstring theory as a sum of Feynman diagrams each of which is manifestly free from ultraviolet divergences. The interaction vertices fall off exponentially for large space-like external momenta making the ultraviolet finiteness property manifest, but blow up exponentially for large time-like external momenta making it impossible to take the integration contours for loop energies to lie along the real axis. This forces us to carry out the integrals over the loop energies by choosing appropriate contours in the complex plane whose ends go to infinity along the imaginary axis but which take complicated form in the interior navigating around the various poles of the propagators. Read More

Superstring theory is known to be free from ultraviolet divergences but suffers from the usual infrared divergences that occur in quantum field theories. After briefly reviewing the origin of ultraviolet finiteness of superstring theory we describe recent progress towards the understanding of infrared divergences in superstring theory. Read More

Taking clues from the recent construction of the covariant action for type II and heterotic string field theories, we construct a manifestly Lorentz covariant action for type IIB supergravity, and discuss its gauge fixing maintaining manifest Lorentz invariance. The action contains a (non-gravitating) free 4-form field besides the usual fields of type IIB supergravity. This free field, being completely decoupled from the interacting sector, has no physical consequence. Read More

From the analysis of the near horizon geometry and supersymmetry algebra it has been argued that all the microstates of single centered BPS black holes with four unbroken supersymmetries carry zero angular momentum in the region of the moduli space where the black hole description is valid. A stronger form of the conjecture would be that the result holds for any sufficiently generic point in the moduli space. In this paper we set out to test this conjecture for a class of black hole microstates in type II string theory on $T^6$, represented by four stacks of D-branes wrapped on various cycles of $T^6$. Read More

We construct the quantum BV master action for heterotic and type II string field theories. Read More

Superstring perturbation theory based on the 1PI effective theory approach has been useful for addressing the problem of mass renormalization and vacuum shift. We derive Ward identities associated with space-time supersymmetry transformation in this approach. This leads to a proof of the equality of renormalized masses of bosons and fermions and identities relating fermionic amplitudes to bosonic amplitudes after taking into account the effect of mass renormalization. Read More

In a metastable de Sitter space any object has a finite life expectancy beyond which it undergoes vacuum decay. However, by spreading into different parts of the universe which will fall out of causal contact of each other in future, a civilization can increase its collective life expectancy, defined as the average time after which the last settlement disappears due to vacuum decay. We study in detail the collective life expectancy of two comoving objects in de Sitter space as a function of the initial separation, the horizon radius and the vacuum decay rate. Read More

Superstring perturbation theory is traditionally carried out by using picture-changing operators (PCO's) to integrate over odd moduli. Naively the PCO's can be inserted anywhere on a string worldsheet, but actually a constraint must be placed on PCO insertions to avoid spurious singularities. Accordingly, it has been long known that the simplest version of the PCO procedure is valid only locally on the moduli space of Riemann surfaces, and that a correct PCO-based algorithm to compute scattering amplitudes must be based on piecing together local descriptions. Read More

The discovery that most of the energy density in the universe is stored in the form of dark energy has profound consequences for our future. In particular our current limited understanding of quantum theory of gravity indicates that some time in the future our universe will undergo a phase transition that will destroy us and everything else around us instantaneously. However the laws of gravity also suggest a way out -- some of our descendants could survive this catastrophe by riding gravity away from the danger. Read More

We construct off-shell amplitudes in heterotic and type II string theories involving arbitrary combination of Ramond and Neveu-Schwarz sector external states. We also construct the equations of motion of a gauge invariant 1PI effective field theory which reproduces these off-shell amplitudes. Using this construction we prove that the renormalized physical masses do not depend on the choice of local coordinate system and locations of picture changing operators used in defining the off-shell amplitudes. Read More

We construct gauge invariant 1PI effective action for the NS sector of type II and heterotic string field theory. By construction, zero eigenvalues of the kinetic operator of this action determine the renormalized physical masses, and tree level amplitudes computed from this action (after gauge fixing) give the loop corrected S-matrix elements. Using this formalism we can give a simple proof of the result that the renormalized physical masses do not depend on the choice of local coordinate system and locations of picture changing operators used in defining the off-shell amplitude. Read More

The dimensional reduction of heterotic supergravity with gauge fields truncated to the Cartan subalgebra exhibits a continuous O(d,d+16;R) global symmetry, related to the O(d,d+16;Z) T-duality of heterotic strings on a d-torus. The O(d,d+16;R) symmetry is not present, however, if the supergravity reduction is done including the full set of E_8 x E_8 or SO(32) gauge fields. We analyze which duality symmetries are realized to all orders in $\alpha'$ in the proper effective field theories for the massless string states. Read More

The absence of exotics is a conjectural property of the spectrum of BPS states of four--dimensional $\mathcal{N}=2$ supersymmetric QFT's. In this letter we revisit the precise statement of this conjecture, and develop a general strategy that, if applicable, entails the absence of exotic BPS states. Our method is based on the Coulomb branch formula and on quiver mutations. Read More

Computing the renormalized masses and S-matrix elements in string theory, involving states whose masses are not protected from quantum corrections, requires defining off-shell amplitude with certain factorization properties. While in the bosonic string theory one can in principle construct such an amplitude from string field theory, there is no fully consistent field theory for type II and heterotic string theory. In this paper we give a practical construction of off-shell amplitudes satisfying the desired factorization property using the formalism of picture changing operators. Read More

Exact results for the BPS index are known for a class of BPS dyons in type II string theory compactified on a six dimensional torus. In this paper we set up the problem of counting the same BPS states in a duality frame in which the states carry only Ramond-Ramond charges. We explicitly count the number of states carrying the lowest possible charges and find agreement with the result obtained in other duality frames. Read More

In recent series of works, by translating properties of multi-centered supersymmetric black holes into the language of quiver representations, we proposed a formula that expresses the Hodge numbers of the moduli space of semi-stable representations of quivers with generic superpotential in terms of a set of invariants associated to `single-centered' or `pure-Higgs' states. The distinguishing feature of these invariants is that they are independent of the choice of stability condition. Furthermore they are uniquely determined by the $\chi_y$-genus of the moduli space. Read More

In some string theories, e.g. SO(32) heterotic string theory on Calabi-Yau manifolds, a massless field with a tree level potential can acquire a tachyonic mass at the one loop level, forcing us to quantize the theory around a new background that is not a solution to the classical equations of motion and hence is not described by a conformally invariant world-sheet theory. Read More

This is a short review summarizing the current status of the comparison between microscopic and macroscopic entropy of extremal BPS black holes in string theory. Read More

In a previous paper we described a procedure for computing the renormalized masses and S-matrix elements in bosonic string theory for a special class of massive states which do not mix with unphysical states under renormalization. In this paper we extend this result to general states in bosonic string theory, and argue that only the squares of renormalized physical masses appear as the locations of the poles of the S-matrix of other physical states. We also discuss generalizations to Neveu-Schwarz sector states in heterotic and superstring theories. Read More

String theory gives a well defined procedure for computing the S-matrix of BPS or a class of massless states, but similar calculation for general massive states is plagued with difficulties due to mass renormalization effect. In this paper we describe a procedure for computing the renormalized masses and S-matrix elements in bosonic string theory for a special class of massive states which do not mix with unphysical states under renormalization. Even though this requires working with off-shell amplitudes which are ambiguous, we show that the renormalized masses and S-matrix elements are free from these ambiguities. Read More

We study the mass of the stable non-BPS state in type I / heterotic string theory compactified on a circle with the help of the interpolation formula between weak and strong coupling results. Comparison between the results at different orders indicate that this procedure can determine the mass of the particle to within 10% accuracy over the entire two dimensional moduli space parametrized by the string coupling and the radius of compactification. This allows us to estimate the region of the stability of the particle in this two dimensional moduli space. Read More

Quiver quantum mechanics is invariant under Seiberg duality. A mathematical consequence is that the cohomology of the Higgs branch moduli space is invariant under mutations of the quiver. The Coulomb branch formula, on the other hand, conjecturally expresses the Poincar\'e / Dolbeault polynomial of the Higgs branch moduli space in terms of certain quantities known as single-centered indices. Read More

We consider the problem of resumming the perturbative expansions for anomalous dimensions of low twist, non-BPS operators in four dimensional N=4 supersymmetric Yang-Mills theories. The requirement of S-duality invariance imposes considerable restrictions on any such resummation. We introduce several prescriptions that produce interpolating functions on the upper half plane that are compatible with a subgroup of the full duality group. Read More

Strong - weak coupling duality in string theory allows us to compute physical quantities both at the weak coupling end and at the strong coupling end. Furthermore perturbative string theory can be used to compute corrections to the leading order formula at both ends. We explore the possibility of constructing a smooth interpolating formula that agrees with the perturbation expansion at both ends and leads to a fairly accurate determination of the quantity in consideration over the entire range of the coupling constant. Read More

In previous work we have shown that the equivariant index of multi-centered N=2 black holes localizes on collinear configurations along a fixed axis. Here we provide a general algorithm for enumerating such collinear configurations and computing their contribution to the index. We apply this machinery to the case of black holes described by quiver quantum mechanics, and give a systematic prescription -- the Coulomb branch formula -- for computing the cohomology of the moduli space of quiver representations. Read More

The partition function on the three-sphere of ABJM theory and its generalizations has, at large N, a universal, subleading logarithmic term. Inspired by the success of one-loop quantum gravity for computing the logarithmic corrections to black hole entropy, we try to reproduce this universal term by a one-loop calculation in Euclidean eleven-dimensional supergravity on AdS_4 \times X_7. We find perfect agreement between the results of ABJM theory and the eleven dimensional supergravity. Read More

N=4 supersymmetric string theories contain negative discriminant states whose numbers are known precisely from microscopic counting formulae. On the macroscopic side, these results can be reproduced by regarding these states as multi-centered black hole configurations provided we make certain identification of apparently distinct multi-centered black hole configurations according to a precise set of rules. In this paper we provide a physical explanation of such identifications, thereby establishing that multi-centered black hole configurations reproduce correctly the microscopic results for the number of negative discriminant states without any ad hoc assumption. Read More

Middle cohomology states on the Higgs branch of supersymmetric quiver quantum mechanics - also known as pure Higgs states - have recently emerged as possible microscopic candidates for single-centered black hole micro-states, as they carry zero angular momentum and appear to be robust under wall-crossing. Using the connection between quiver quantum mechanics on the Coulomb branch and the quantum mechanics of multi-centered black holes, we propose a general algorithm for reconstructing the full moduli-dependent cohomology of the moduli space of an arbitrary quiver, in terms of the BPS invariants of the pure Higgs states. We analyze many examples of quivers with loops, including all cyclic Abelian quivers and several examples with two loops or non-Abelian gauge groups, and provide supporting evidence for this proposal. Read More

Euclidean gravity method has been successful in computing logarithmic corrections to extremal black hole entropy in terms of low energy data, and gives results in perfect agreement with the microscopic results in string theory. Motivated by this success we apply Euclidean gravity to compute logarithmic corrections to the entropy of various non-extremal black holes in different dimensions, taking special care of integration over the zero modes and keeping track of the ensemble in which the computation is done. These results provide strong constraint on any ultraviolet completion of the theory if the latter is able to give an independent computation of the entropy of non-extremal black holes from microscopic description. Read More

We compute the second Seely-DeWitt coefficient of the kinetic operator of the metric and gauge fields in Einstein-Maxwell theory in an arbitrary background field configuration. We then use this result to compute the logarithmic correction to the entropy of an extremal Kerr-Newmann black hole. Read More

BPS states in N=4 supersymmetric SU(N) gauge theories in four dimensions can be represented as planar string networks with ends lying on D3-branes. We introduce several protected indices which capture information on the spectrum and various quantum numbers of these states, give their wall crossing formula and describe how using the wall crossing formula we can compute all the indices at all points in the moduli space. Read More

The wall crossing formula of Kontsevich and Soibelman gives an implicit relation between the BPS indices on two sides of the wall of marginal stability by equating two symplectomorphisms constructed from the indices on two sides of the wall. The wall crossing formulae of Manschot, Pioline and the author give two apparently different explicit expressions for the BPS index on one side of the wall in terms of the BPS indices on the other side. We prove the equivalence of all the three formulae. Read More

We compute logarithmic corrections to the entropy of rotating extremal black holes using quantum entropy function i.e. Euclidean quantum gravity approach. Read More

Logarithmic corrections to the extremal black hole entropy can be computed purely in terms of the low energy data -- the spectrum of massless fields and their interaction. The demand of reproducing these corrections provides a strong constraint on any microscopic theory of quantum gravity that attempts to explain the black hole entropy. Using quantum entropy function formalism we compute logarithmic corrections to the entropy of half BPS black holes in N=2 supersymmetric string theories. Read More

We compute logarithmic corrections to the entropy of supersymmetric extremal black holes in N=4 and N=8 supersymmetric string theories and find results in perfect agreement with the microscopic results. In particular these logarithmic corrections vanish for quarter BPS black holes in N=4 supersymmetric theories, but has a finite coefficient for 1/8 BPS black holes in the N=8 supersymmetric theory. On the macroscopic side these computations require evaluating the one loop determinant of massless fields around the near horizon geometry, and include, in particular, contributions from dynamical four dimensional gravitons propagating in the loop. Read More

Single centered BPS black hole solutions exist only when the charge carried by the black hole has positive discriminant. On the other hand the exact dyon spectrum in heterotic string theory compactified on T^6 is known to contain states with negative discriminant. We show that all of these negative discriminant states can be accounted for as two centered black holes. Read More

We propose a formula for computing the (moduli-dependent) contribution of multi-centered solutions to the total BPS index in terms of the (moduli-independent) indices associated to single-centered solutions. The main tool in our analysis is the computation of the refined index Tr(-y)^{2J_3} of configurational degrees of freedom of multi-centered BPS black hole solutions in N=2 supergravity by localization methods. When the charges carried by the centers do not allow for scaling solutions (i. Read More

Since euclidean global AdS_2 space represented as a strip has two boundaries, the state / operator correspondence in the dual CFT_1 reduces to the standard map from the operators acting on a single copy of the Hilbert space to states in the tensor product of two copies of the Hilbert space. Using this picture we argue that the corresponding states in the dual string theory living on AdS_2 x K are described by twisted version of the Hartle-Hawking states, the twists being generated by a large unitary group of symmetries that this string theory must possess. This formalism makes natural the dual interpretation of the black hole entropy, -- as the logarithm of the degeneracy of ground states of the quantum mechanics describing the low energy dynamics of the black hole, and also as an entanglement entropy between the two copies of the same quantum theory living on the two boundaries of global AdS_2 separated by the event horizon. Read More

A key question in the study of N=2 supersymmetric string or field theories is to understand the decay of BPS bound states across walls of marginal stability in the space of parameters or vacua. By representing the potentially unstable bound states as multi-centered black hole solutions in N=2 supergravity, we provide two fully general and explicit formulae for the change in the (refined) index across the wall. The first, "Higgs branch" formula relies on Reineke's results for invariants of quivers without oriented loops, specialized to the Abelian case. Read More

For BPS black holes with at least four unbroken supercharges, we describe how the macroscopic entropy can be used to compute an appropriate index, which can be then compared with the same index computed in the microscopic description. We obtain exact results incorporating all higher order quantum corrections in the limit when only one of the charges, representing momentum along an internal direction, approaches infinity keeping all other charges fixed at arbitrary finite values. In this limit, we find that the microscopic index is controlled by certain anomaly coefficients whereas the macroscopic index is controlled by the coefficients of certain Chern-Simons terms in the effective action. Read More

Single centered supersymmetric black holes in four dimensions have spherically symmetric horizon and hence carry zero angular momentum. This leads to a specific sign of the helicity trace index associated with these black holes. Since the latter are given by the Fourier expansion coefficients of appropriate meromorphic modular forms of Sp(2,Z) or its subgroup, we are led to a specific prediction for the signs of a subset of these Fourier coefficients which represent contributions from single centered black holes only. Read More

We survey recent results on the exact dyon spectrum in a class of N=4 supersymmetric string theories, and discuss how the results can be understood from the macroscopic viewpoint using AdS_2/CFT_1 correspondence. The comparison between the microscopic and the macroscopic results includes power suppressed corrections to the entropy, the sign of the index, logarithmic corrections and also the twisted index measuring the distribution of discrete quantum numbers among the microstates. Read More