Burt Ovrut - University of Pennsylvania

Burt Ovrut
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Burt Ovrut
University of Pennsylvania
United States

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High Energy Physics - Theory (50)
High Energy Physics - Phenomenology (11)
Cosmology and Nongalactic Astrophysics (8)
High Energy Physics - Experiment (2)
Astrophysics (2)
General Relativity and Quantum Cosmology (1)

Publications Authored By Burt Ovrut

The worldvolume actions of 3+1 dimensional bosonic branes embedded in a five-dimensional bulk space can lead to important effective field theories, such as the DBI conformal Galileons, and may, when the Null Energy Condition is violated, play an essential role in cosmological theories of the early universe. These include Galileon Genesis and "bouncing'' cosmology, where a pre-Big Bang contracting phase bounces smoothly to the presently observed expanding universe. Perhaps the most natural arena for such branes to arise is within the context of superstring and $M$-theory vacua. Read More

We study the non-perturbative superpotential in E_8 x E_8 heterotic string theory on a non-simply connected Calabi-Yau manifold X, as well as on its simply connected covering space \tilde{X}. The superpotential is induced by the string wrapping holomorphic, isolated, genus 0 curves. According to the residue theorem of Beasley and Witten, the non-perturbative superpotential must vanish in a large class of heterotic vacua because the contributions from curves in the same homology class cancel each other. Read More

It is shown that in the phenomenologically realistic supersymmetric $B-L$ MSSM theory, a linear combination of the neutral, up Higgs field with the third family left-and right-handed sneutrinos can play the role of the cosmological inflaton. Assuming that supersymmetry is softly broken at a mass scale of order $10^{13}~\mathrm{GeV}$, the potential energy associated with this field allows for 60 e-foldings of inflation with the cosmological parameters being consistent with all Planck2015 data. The theory does not require any non-standard coupling to gravity and the physical fields are all sub-Planckian during the inflationary epoch. Read More

In previous work, we presented a statistical scan over the soft supersymmetry breaking parameters of the minimal SUSY $B-L$ model. For specificity of calculation, unification of the gauge parameters was enforced by allowing the two ${\mathbb Z}_{3}\times {\mathbb Z}_{3}$ Wilson lines to have mass scales separated by approximately an order of magnitude. This introduced an additional "left-right" sector below the unification scale. Read More

We explicitly confirm that spatially flat non-singular bouncing cosmologies make sense as effective theories. The presence of a non-singular bounce in a spatially flat universe implies a temporary violation of the null energy condition, which can be achieved through a phase of ghost condensation. We calculate the scale of strong coupling and demonstrate that the ghost-condensate bounce remains trustworthy throughout, and that all perturbation modes within the regime of validity of the effective description remain under control. Read More

This paper introduces a random statistical scan over the high-energy initial parameter space of the minimal SUSY $B-L$ model--denoted as the $B-L$ MSSM. Each initial set of points is renormalization group evolved to the electroweak scale--being subjected, sequentially, to the requirement of radiative $B-L$ and electroweak symmetry breaking, the present experimental lower bounds on the $B-L$ vector boson and sparticle masses, as well as the lightest neutral Higgs mass of $\sim$125 GeV. The subspace of initial parameters that satisfies all such constraints is presented, shown to be robust and to contain a wide range of different configurations of soft supersymmetry breaking masses. Read More

The structure of the B-L MSSM theory--specifically, the relevant mass scales and soft supersymmetric breaking parameters--is discussed. The space of initial soft parameters is explored at the high scale using random statistical sampling subject to a constraint on the range of dimensionful parameters. For every chosen initial point, the complete set of renormalization group equations is solved. Read More

We study the propagation of super-horizon cosmological perturbations in a non-singular bounce spacetime. The model we consider combines a ghost condensate with a Galileon term in order to induce a ghost-free bounce. Our calculation is performed in harmonic gauge, which ensures that the linearized equations of motion remain well-defined and non-singular throughout. Read More

The existence of R-parity in supersymmetric models can be naturally explained as being a discrete subgroup of gauged baryon minus lepton number (B-L). The most minimal supersymmetric B-L model triggers spontaneous R-parity violation, while remaining consistent with proton stability. This model is well-motivated by string theory and makes several interesting, testable predictions. Read More

The MSSM with right-handed neutrino supermultiplets, gauged B-L symmetry and a non-vanishing sneutrino expectation value is the minimal theory that spontaneously breaks R-parity and is consistent with the bounds on proton stability and lepton number violation. This minimal B-L MSSM can have a colored/charged LSP, of which a stop LSP is the most amenable to observation at the LHC. We study the R-parity violating decays of a stop LSP into a bottom quark and charged leptons--the dominant modes for a generic "admixture" stop. Read More

We study a model for a non-singular cosmic bounce in N=1 supergravity, based on supergravity versions of the ghost condensate and cubic Galileon scalar field theories. The bounce is preceded by an ekpyrotic contracting phase which prevents the growth of anisotropies in the approach to the bounce, and allows for the generation of scale-invariant density perturbations that carry over into the expanding phase of the universe. We present the conditions required for the bounce to be free of ghost excitations, as well as the tunings that are necessary in order for the model to be in agreement with cosmological observations. Read More

We discuss the use of gauge fields to stabilize complex structure moduli in Calabi-Yau three-fold compactifications of heterotic string and M-theory. The requirement that the gauge fields in such models preserve supersymmetry leads to a complicated landscape of vacua in complex structure moduli space. We develop methods to systematically map out this multi-branched vacuum space, in a computable and explicit manner. Read More

Galileons are higher-derivative theories of a real scalar which nevertheless admit second order equations of motion. They have interesting applications as dark energy models and in early universe cosmology, and have been conjectured to arise as descriptions of brane dynamics in string theory. In the present paper, we study the bosonic sector of globally N=1 supersymmetric extensions of the cubic Galileon Lagrangian in detail. Read More

Within the context of the weakly coupled E8 x E8 heterotic string, we study the hidden sector of heterotic standard model compactifications to four-dimensions. Specifically, we present a class of hidden sector vector bundles - composed of the direct sum of line bundles only - that, together with an effective bulk five-brane, renders the heterotic standard model entirely N=1 supersymmetric. Two explicit hidden sectors are constructed and analyzed in this context; one with the gauge group E7 x U(1) arising from a single line bundle and a second with an SO(12) x U(1) x U(1) gauge group constructed from the direct sum of two line bundles. Read More

We present the theory of a supersymmetric ghost condensate coupled to N=1 supergravity. This is accomplished using a general formalism for constructing locally supersymmetric higher-derivative chiral superfield actions. The theory admits a ghost condensate vacuum in de Sitter spacetime. Read More

It was recently demonstrated that, when coupled to N=1 supergravity, the Dirac-Born-Infeld (DBI) action constructed from a single chiral superfield has the property that when the higher-derivative terms become important, the potential becomes negative. Thus, DBI inflation cannot occur in its most interesting, relativistic regime. In this paper, it is shown how to overcome this problem by coupling the model to one or more additional chiral supermultiplets. Read More

We construct N=1 supergravity extensions of scalar field theories with higher-derivative kinetic terms. Special attention is paid to the auxiliary fields, whose elimination leads not only to corrections to the kinetic terms, but to new expressions for the potential energy as well. For example, a potential energy can be generated even in the absence of a superpotential. Read More

We present a formalism for computing the higher-order corrections to the worldvolume action of a co-dimension one kink soliton embedded in five-dimensional heterotic M-theory. The geometry of heterotic M-theory, as well as the effective theory which describes a five-brane wrapping a holomorphic curve by a topological kink in a scalar field, is reviewed. Using this formalism, the explicit worldvolume action is computed to second order in two expansion parameters--one describing the "warp" of the heterotic geometry and the second the fluctuation length of the soliton hypersurface. Read More

A formalism is presented for computing the higher-order corrections to the worldvolume action of co-dimension one solitons. By modifying its potential, an explicit "kink" solution of a real scalar field in AdS spacetime is found. The formalism is then applied to explicitly compute the kink worldvolume action to quadratic order in two expansion parameters--associated with the hypersurface fluctuation length and the radius of AdS spacetime respectively. Read More

The spontaneous breaking of SU(4) heterotic standard models by Z_3 x Z_3 Wilson lines to the MSSM with three right-handed neutrino supermultiplets and gauge group SU(3)_C x SU(2)_L x U(1) x U(1) is explored. The two-dimensional subspace of the Spin(10) Lie algebra that commutes with su(3)_C + su(2)_L is analyzed. It is shown that there is a unique basis for which the initial soft supersymmetry breaking parameters are uncorrelated and for which the U(1) x U(1) field strengths have no kinetic mixing at any scale. Read More

Holomorphic gauge fields in N=1 supersymmetric heterotic compactifications can constrain the complex structure moduli of a Calabi-Yau manifold. In this paper, the tools necessary to use holomorphic bundles as a mechanism for moduli stabilization are systematically developed. We review the requisite deformation theory -- including the Atiyah class, which determines the deformations of the complex structure for which the gauge bundle becomes non-holomorphic and, hence, non-supersymmetric. Read More

We further develop the numerical algorithm for computing the gauge connection of slope-stable holomorphic vector bundles on Calabi-Yau manifolds. In particular, recent work on the generalized Donaldson algorithm is extended to bundles with Kahler cone substructure on manifolds with h^{1,1}>1. Since the computation depends only on a one-dimensional ray in the Kahler moduli space, it can probe slope-stability regardless of the size of h^{1,1}. Read More

Galileon theories are of considerable interest since they allow for stable violations of the null energy condition. Since such violations could have occurred during a high-energy regime in the history of our universe, we are motivated to study supersymmetric extensions of these theories. This is carried out in this paper, where we construct generic classes of N=1 supersymmetric Galileon Lagrangians. Read More

We propose a scenario to stabilize all geometric moduli - that is, the complex structure, Kahler moduli and the dilaton - in smooth heterotic Calabi-Yau compactifications without Neveu-Schwarz three-form flux. This is accomplished using the gauge bundle required in any heterotic compactification, whose perturbative effects on the moduli are combined with non-perturbative corrections. We argue that, for appropriate gauge bundles, all complex structure and a large number of other moduli can be perturbatively stabilized - in the most restrictive case, leaving only one combination of Kahler moduli and the dilaton as a flat direction. Read More

We show how to construct supersymmetric actions for higher-derivative scalar field theories of the form P(X,phi), within the context of d=4, N=1 supersymmetry. This construction is of general use, and is applied to write supersymmetric versions of the Dirac-Born-Infeld action. Our principal application of this formalism is to construct the supersymmetric extension of the ghost condensate. Read More

We analyze transitions between heterotic vacua with distinct gauge bundles using two complementary methods - the effective four-dimensional field theory and the corresponding geometry. From the viewpoint of effective field theory, such transitions occur between flat directions of the potential energy associated with heterotic stability walls. Geometrically, this branch structure corresponds to smooth deformations of the gauge bundle coupled to the chamber structure of K\"ahler moduli space. Read More

In this paper, we show that the presence of gauge fields in heterotic Calabi-Yau compacitifications causes the stabilisation of some, or all, of the complex structure moduli of the Calabi-Yau manifold while maintaining a Minkowski vacuum. Certain deformations of the Calabi-Yau complex structure, with all other moduli held fixed, can lead to the gauge bundle becoming non-holomorphic and, hence, non-supersymmetric. This leads to an F-term potential which stabilizes the corresponding complex structure moduli. Read More

The matter spectrum of the MSSM, including three right-handed neutrino supermultiplets and one pair of Higgs-Higgs conjugate superfields, can be obtained by compactifying the E_{8} x E_{8} heterotic string and M-theory on Calabi-Yau manifolds with specific SU(4) vector bundles. These theories have the standard model gauge group augmented by an additional gauged U(1)_{B-L}. Their minimal content requires that the B-L gauge symmetry be spontaneously broken by a vacuum expectation value of at least one right-handed sneutrino. Read More

A numerical algorithm is presented for explicitly computing the gauge connection on slope-stable holomorphic vector bundles on Calabi-Yau manifolds. To illustrate this algorithm, we calculate the connections on stable monad bundles defined on the K3 twofold and Quintic threefold. An error measure is introduced to determine how closely our algorithmic connection approximates a solution to the Hermitian Yang-Mills equations. Read More

A holomorphic vector bundle on a Calabi-Yau threefold, X, with h^{1,1}(X)>1 can have regions of its Kahler cone where it is slope-stable, that is, where the four-dimensional theory is N=1 supersymmetric, bounded by "walls of stability". On these walls the bundle becomes poly-stable, decomposing into a direct sum, and the low energy gauge group is enhanced by at least one anomalous U(1) gauge factor. In this paper, we show that these additional symmetries can strongly constrain the superpotential in the stable region, leading to non-trivial textures of Yukawa interactions and restrictions on allowed masses for vector-like pairs of matter multiplets. Read More

E8 X E8 heterotic string and M-theory, when appropriately compactified, can give rise to realistic, N=1 supersymmetric particle physics. In particular, the exact matter spectrum of the MSSM, including three right-handed neutrino supermultiplets, one per family, and one pair of Higgs-Higgs conjugate superfields is obtained by compactifying on Calabi-Yau manifolds admitting specific SU(4) vector bundles. These "heterotic standard models" have the SU(3)_{C} X SU(2)_{L} X U(1)_{Y} gauge group of the standard model augmented by an additional gauged U(1)_{B-L}. Read More

We study the sub-structure of the heterotic Kahler moduli space due to the presence of non-Abelian internal gauge fields from the perspective of the four-dimensional effective theory. Internal gauge fields can be supersymmetric in some regions of the Kahler moduli space but break supersymmetry in others. In the context of the four-dimensional theory, we investigate what happens when the Kahler moduli are changed from the supersymmetric to the non-supersymmetric region. Read More

E8 x E8 heterotic string and M-theory, when compactified on a Calabi-Yau threefold admitting an SU(4) vector bundle with Wilson lines, can give rise to the exact MSSM spectrum with three right-handed neutrino chiral superields, one per family. Rank preserving Wilson lines require that the standard model group be augmented by a gauged U(1)_B-L. Since there are no fields in this theory for which 3(B-L) is an even, non-zero integer, the gauged B-L symmetry must be spontaneously broken at a low scale, not too far above the electroweak scale. Read More

We explicitly describe, in the language of four-dimensional N=1 supersymmetric field theory, what happens when the moduli of a heterotic Calabi-Yau compactification change so as to make the internal non-Abelian gauge fields non-supersymmetric. At the edge of the region in Kahler moduli space where supersymmetry can be preserved, an additional anomalous U(1) gauge symmetry appears in the four-dimensional theory. The D-term contribution to the scalar potential associated to this U(1) attempts to force the system back into a supersymmetric configuration and provides a consistent low-energy description of gauge bundle stability. Read More

We present a vacuum of heterotic M-theory whose observable sector has the MSSM spectrum with the addition of one extra pair of Higgs-Higgs conjugate superfields. The quarks/leptons have a realistic mass hierarchy with a naturally light first family. The double elliptic structure of the Calabi-Yau compactification threefold leads to two ``stringy'' selection rules. Read More

A numerical algorithm for explicitly computing the spectrum of the Laplace-Beltrami operator on Calabi-Yau threefolds is presented. The requisite Ricci-flat metrics are calculated using a method introduced in previous papers. To illustrate our algorithm, the eigenvalues and eigenfunctions of the Laplacian are computed numerically on two different quintic hypersurfaces, some Z_5 x Z_5 quotients of quintics, and the Calabi-Yau threefold with Z_3 x Z_3 fundamental group of the heterotic standard model. Read More

We study aspects of worldsheet instantons relevant to a heterotic standard model. The non-simply connected Calabi-Yau threefold used admits Z_3 x Z_3 Wilson lines, and a more detailed investigation shows that the homology classes of curves are H_2(X,Z)=Z^3+Z_3+Z_3. We compute the genus-0 prepotential, this is the first explicit calculation of the Gromov-Witten invariants of homology classes with torsion (finite subgroups). Read More

We extend previous computations of Calabi-Yau metrics on projective hypersurfaces to free quotients, complete intersections, and free quotients of complete intersections. In particular, we construct these metrics on generic quintics, four-generation quotients of the quintic, Schoen Calabi-Yau complete intersections and the quotient of a Schoen manifold with Z_3 x Z_3 fundamental group that was previously used to construct a heterotic standard model. Various numerical investigations into the dependence of Donaldson's algorithm on the integration scheme, as well as on the Kahler and complex structure moduli, are also performed. Read More

New Ekpyrotic Cosmology is an alternative scenario of the early universe which relies on a phase of slow contraction before the big bang. We calculate the 3-point and 4-point correlation functions of primordial density perturbations and find a generically large non-Gaussian signal, just below the current sensitivity level of CMB experiments. This is in contrast with slow-roll inflation, which predicts negligible non-Gaussianity. Read More

We present the potential energy due to flux and gaugino condensation in heterotic M-theory compactifications with anti-branes in the vacuum. For reasons which we explain in detail, the contributions to the potential due to flux are not modified from those in supersymmetric contexts. The discussion of gaugino condensation is, however, changed by the presence of anti-branes. Read More

New Ekpyrotic Cosmology is an alternative scenario of early universe cosmology in which the universe existed before the big bang. The simplest model relies on two scalar fields, whose entropy perturbation leads to a scale-invariant spectrum of density fluctuations. The ekpyrotic solution has a tachyonic instability along the entropy field direction which, a priori, appears to require fine-tuning of the initial conditions. Read More

We apply mirror symmetry to the problem of counting holomorphic rational curves in a Calabi-Yau threefold X with Z_3 x Z_3 Wilson lines. As we found in Part A [hep-th/0703182], the integral homology group H_2(X,Z)=Z^3 + Z_3 + Z_3 contains torsion curves. Using the B-model on the mirror of X as well as its covering spaces, we compute the instanton numbers. Read More

As a first step towards studying vector bundle moduli in realistic heterotic compactifications, we identify all holomorphic rational curves in a Calabi-Yau threefold X with Z_3 x Z_3 Wilson lines. Computing the homology, we find that H_2(X,Z)=Z^3+Z_3+Z_3. The torsion curves complicate our analysis, and we develop techniques to distinguish the torsion part of curve classes and to deal with the non-toric threefold X. Read More

As a first step towards computing instanton-generated superpotentials in heterotic standard model vacua, we determine the Gromov-Witten invariants for a Calabi-Yau threefold with fundamental group pi_1(X)=Z_3 x Z_3. We find that the curves fall into homology classes in H_2(X,Z)=Z^3+(Z_3+Z_3). The unexpected appearance of the finite torsion subgroup in the homology group complicates our analysis. Read More

In this paper, we present a new scenario of the early Universe that contains a pre big bang Ekpyrotic phase. By combining this with a ghost condensate, the theory explicitly violates the null energy condition without developing any ghost-like instabilities. Thus the contracting universe goes through a non-singular bounce and evolves smoothly into the expanding post big bang phase. Read More

We derive the perturbative four-dimensional effective theory describing heterotic M-theory with branes and anti-branes in the bulk space. The back-reaction of both the branes and anti-branes is explicitly included. To first order in the heterotic strong-coupling expansion, we find that the forces on branes and anti-branes vanish and that the KKLT procedure of simply adding to the supersymmetric theory the probe approximation to the energy density of the anti-brane reproduces the correct potential. Read More

We study a new mechanism to dynamically break supersymmetry in the E8xE8 heterotic string. As discussed recently in the literature, a long-lived, meta-stable non-supersymmetric vacuum can be achieved in an N=1 SQCD whose spectrum contains a sufficient number of light fundamental flavors. In this paper, we present, within the context of the hidden sector of the weakly and strongly coupled heterotic string, a slope-stable, holomorphic vector bundle on a Calabi-Yau threefold for which all matter fields are in the fundamental representation and are massive at generic points in moduli space. Read More

It is shown that four-dimensional N=1 supersymmetric QCD with massive flavors in the fundamental representation of the gauge group can be realized in the hidden sector of E8xE8 heterotic string vacua. The number of flavors can be chosen to lie in the range of validity of the free-magnetic dual, using which one can demonstrate the existence of long-lived meta-stable non-supersymmetric vacua. This is shown explicitly for the gauge group Spin(10), but the methods are applicable to Spin(Nc), SU(Nc) and Sp(Nc) for a wide range of color index Nc. Read More

It is shown that strongly coupled heterotic M-theory with anti-five-branes in the S^1/Z_2 bulk space can have meta-stable vacua which break N=1 supersymmetry and have a small, positive cosmological constant. This is demonstrated for the "minimal" heterotic standard model. This vacuum has the exact MSSM matter spectrum in the observable sector, a trivial hidden sector vector bundle and both five-branes and anti-five-branes in the bulk space. Read More

The observable sector of the "minimal heterotic standard model" has precisely the matter spectrum of the MSSM: three families of quarks and leptons, each with a right-handed neutrino, and one Higgs-Higgs conjugate pair. In this paper, it is explicitly proven that the SU(4) holomorphic vector bundle leading to the MSSM spectrum in the observable sector is slope-stable. Read More