Clifford V. Johnson

Clifford V. Johnson
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Clifford V. Johnson

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High Energy Physics - Theory (50)
General Relativity and Quantum Cosmology (4)
Physics - Superconductivity (1)
Physics - Statistical Mechanics (1)

Publications Authored By Clifford V. Johnson

The extended thermodynamic properties of the Taub-Bolt-AdS spacetime in four dimensions are similar to those of the Schwarzschild-AdS black hole, and in a high temperature expansion they begin to deviate only at relatively high subleading orders. By analogy with what has been done for black holes, Taub-Bolt's thermodynamic equations are used to define holographic heat engines, the first examples of gravitational heat engines defined using a spacetime that is not a black hole. The Taub-Bolt engine efficiency is computed for two special kinds of engine cycle and compared to the results for analogous Schwarzschild black hole engine cycles. Read More

The extended thermodynamics of Reissner-Nordstr\"om charged black holes in D-dimensional anti-de Sitter spacetime has a phase structure in the (T,p) plane that includes a line of first order phase transitions ending in a second order transition point. For each D>=4, properties of the critical black hole at that point are explored, motivated by the observation that in D=4 its neighbourhood plays a core role in defining a very special class of heat engines that asymptote to Carnot efficiency in the large charge limit. This new limit provides a model of a novel low-temperature thermodynamic system. Read More

The Carnot heat engine sets an upper bound on the efficiency of a heat engine. As an ideal, reversible engine, a single cycle must be performed in infinite time, and so the Carnot engine has zero power. However, there is nothing in principle forbidding the existence of a heat engine whose efficiency approaches that of Carnot while maintaining finite power. Read More

We present the results of initiating a benchmarking scheme that allows for cross-comparison of the efficiencies of black holes used as working substances in heat engines. We use a circular cycle in the p-V plane as the benchmark engine. We test it on Einstein-Maxwell, Gauss-Bonnet, and Born-Infeld black holes. Read More

Further consideration is given to the efficiency of black hole heat engines that perform mechanical work via the pdV terms present in the First Law of extended gravitational thermodynamics. It is noted that when the engine cycle is a rectangle with sides parallel to the (p,V) axes, the efficiency can be written simply in terms of the mass of the black hole evaluated at the corners. Since an arbitrary cycle can be approximated to any desired accuracy by a tiling of rectangles, a general geometrical algorithm for computing the efficiency follows. Read More

We study the efficiency of heat engines that perform mechanical work via the pdV terms present in the First Law in extended gravitational thermodynamics. We use charged black holes as the working substance, for a particular choice of engine cycle. The context is Einstein gravity with negative cosmological constant and a Born-Infeld non-linear electrodynamics sector. Read More

Working in the extended black hole thermodynamics where a dynamical cosmological constant defines a thermodynamic pressure p, we study the efficiency of heat engines that perform mechanical work via the pdV terms now present in the First Law. Here the black hole itself is the working substance, and we focus on a judiciously chosen engine cycle. We work in Gauss-Bonnet-Einstein-Maxwell gravity with negative cosmological constant and, using a high temperature expansion, compare the results for these `holographic' heat engines to that of previously studied cases with no Gauss-Bonnet sector. Read More

We study the behavior of the entanglement entropy in $(2+1)$--dimensional strongly coupled theories via the AdS/CFT correspondence. We consider theories at a finite charge density with a magnetic field, with their holographic dual being Einstein-Maxwell-Dilaton theory in four dimensional anti--de Sitter gravity. Restricting to black hole and electron star solutions at zero temperature in the presence of a background magnetic field, we compute their holographic entanglement entropy using the Ryu-Takayanagi prescription for both strip and disk geometries. Read More

We study aspects of the extended gravitational thermodynamics for the Taub-NUT and Taub-Bolt geometries in four dimensional locally anti-de Sitter spacetime, where the cosmological constant is treated as a dynamical pressure. Attention is paid to the phase structure in the (p,T) plane, which has a line of first order phase transitions extending from the origin. We argue for a dynamical interpretation of the unstable physics in the negative specific heat region. Read More

In theories of semi-classical quantum gravity where the cosmological constant is considered a thermodynamic variable, the gravitational mass of a black hole has been shown to correspond to the enthalpy of the thermodynamic system, rather than the energy. We propose that this should be extended to all spacetime solutions, and consider the meaning of this extension of gravitational thermodynamics for the Taub-NUT and Taub-Bolt geometries in four dimensional locally anti-de Sitter spacetime. We present formulae for their thermodynamic volumes. Read More

It is shown that in theories of gravity where the cosmological constant is considered a thermodynamic variable, it is natural to use black holes as heat engines. Two examples are presented in detail using AdS charged black holes as the working substance. We notice that for static black holes, the maximally efficient traditional Carnot engine is also a Stirling engine. Read More

Holographic studies of the entanglement entropy of field theories dual to charged and neutral black holes in asymptotically global AdS4 spacetimes are presented. The goal is to elucidate various properties of the quantity that are peculiar to working in finite volume, and to gain access to the behaviour of the entanglement entropy in the rich thermodynamic phase structure that is present at finite volume and large N. The entropy is followed through various first order phase transitions, and also a novel second order phase transition. Read More

Four dimensional gravity with a U(1) gauge field, coupled to various fields in asymptotically anti-de Sitter spacetime, provides a rich arena for the holographic study of the strongly coupled (2+1)-dimensional dynamics of finite density matter charged under a global U(1). As a first step in furthering the study of the properties of fractionalized and partially fractionalized degrees of freedom in the strongly coupled theory, we construct electron star solutions at zero temperature in the presence of a background magnetic field. We work in Einstein-Maxwell-dilaton theory. Read More

We present the results of our studies of the entanglement entropy of a superconducting system described holographically as a fully back-reacted gravity system, with a stable ground state. We use the holographic prescription for the entanglement entropy. We uncover the behavior of the entropy across the superconducting phase transition, showing the reorganization of the degrees of freedom of the system. Read More

Using holography, we study the entanglement entropy of strongly coupled field theories perturbed by operators that trigger an RG flow from a conformal field theory in the ultraviolet (UV) to a new theory in the infrared (IR). The holographic duals of such flows involve a geometry that has the UV and IR regions separated by a transitional structure in the form of a domain wall. We address the question of how the geometric approach to computing the entanglement entropy organizes the field theory data, exposing key features as the change in degrees of freedom across the flow, how the domain wall acts as a UV region for the IR theory, and a new area law controlled by the domain wall. Read More

We study the dynamics of quenched fundamental matter in $\mathcal{N}=2^\ast$ supersymmetric large $N_c$ $SU(N_c)$ Yang-Mills theory, extending our earlier work to finite temperature. We use probe D7-branes in the holographically dual thermalized generalization of the $\mathcal{N}=2^\ast$ Pilch-Warner gravitational background found by Buchel and Liu. Such a system provides an opportunity to study how key features of the dynamics are affected by being in a non-conformal setting where there is an intrinsic scale, set here by the mass, $m_H$, of a hypermultiplet. Read More

We study the dynamics of quenched fundamental matter in $\mathcal{N}=2^\ast$ supersymmetric large $N$ SU(N) Yang-Mills theory at zero temperature. Our tools for this study are probe D7-branes in the holographically dual $\mathcal{N}=2^\ast$ Pilch-Warner gravitational background. Previous work using D3-brane probes of this geometry has shown that it captures the physics of a special slice of the Coulomb branch moduli space of the gauge theory, where the $N$ constituent D3-branes form a dense one dimensional locus known as the enhancon, located deep in the infrared. Read More

We use a combination of a 't Hooft limit and numerical methods to find non-perturbative solutions of exactly solvable string theories, showing that perturbative solutions in different asymptotic regimes are connected by smooth interpolating functions. Our earlier perturbative work showed that a large class of minimal string theories arise as special limits of a Painleve IV hierarchy of string equations that can be derived by a similarity reduction of the dispersive water wave hierarchy of differential equations. The hierarchy of string equations contains new perturbative solutions, some of which were conjectured to be the type IIA and IIB string theories coupled to (4,4k-2) superconformal minimal models of type (A,D). Read More

We study the evolution and scaling of the entanglement entropy after two types of quenches for a 2+1 field theory, using holographic techniques. We study a thermal quench, dual to the addition of a shell of uncharged matter to four dimensional Anti-de Sitter (AdS_4) spacetime, and study the subsequent formation of a Schwarzschild black hole. We also study an electromagnetic quench, dual to the addition of a shell of charged sources to AdS_4, following the subsequent formation of an extremal dyonic black hole. Read More

We uncover a remarkable role that an infinite hierarchy of non-linear differential equations plays in organizing and connecting certain {hat c}<1 string theories non-perturbatively. We are able to embed the type 0A and 0B (A,A) minimal string theories into this single framework. The string theories arise as special limits of a rich system of equations underpinned by an integrable system known as the dispersive water wave hierarchy. Read More

We further consider a probe fermion in a dyonic black hole background in anti-de Sitter spacetime, at zero temperature, comparing and contrasting two distinct classes of solution that have previously appeared in the literature. Each class has members labeled by an integer n, corresponding to the n-th Landau level for the fermion. Our interest is the study of the spectral function of the fermion, interpreting poles in it as indicative of quasiparticles associated with the edge of a Fermi surface in the holographically dual strongly coupled theory in a background magnetic field H at finite chemical potential. Read More

We study the effects of an external magnetic field on the properties of the quasiparticle spectrum of the class of 2+1 dimensional strongly coupled theories holographically dual to charged AdS$_4$ black holes at zero temperature. We uncover several interesting features. At certain values of the magnetic field, there are multiple quasiparticle peaks representing a novel level structure of the associated Fermi surfaces. Read More

We give a detailed account of the construction of non--trivial localized solutions in a 2+1 dimensional model of superconductors using a 3+1 dimensional gravitational dual theory of a black hole coupled to a scalar field. The solutions are found in the presence of a background magnetic field. We use numerical and analytic techniques to solve the full Maxwell--scalar equations of motion in the background geometry, finding condensate droplet solutions, and vortex solutions possessing a conserved winding number. Read More

We study a 2+1 dimensional model of superconductors using a 3+1 dimensional gravitational dual theory of a black hole coupled to a scalar field, with negative cosmological constant. In the presence of finite temperature T and a background magnetic field B, we use numerical and analytic techniques to solve the full Maxwell-scalar equations of motion in the background geometry, finding non-trivial localized solutions that correspond to condensate droplets, and to vortices. The properties of these solutions enable us to deduce several key features of the (B,T) phase diagram. Read More

We continue our study of the dynamics of the flavour sector of the Sakai-Sugimoto model in the presence of an external magnetic field, uncovering several features of the meson spectrum at high and low temperatures. We employ both analytical and numerical methods to study the coupled non-linear equations that result from the gravity dual. Read More

In this work we further extend the investigation of holographic gauge theories in external magnetic fields, continuing earlier work. We study the phenomenon of magnetic catalysis of mass generation in 1+3 and 1+2 dimensions, using D3/D7- and D3/D5-brane systems, respectively. We obtain the low energy effective actions of the corresponding pseudo Goldstone bosons and study their dispersion relations. Read More

We show how two important types of phase transition in large N_c gauge theory with fundamental flavours can be cast into the same classifying framework as the meson-melting phase transition. These are quantum fluctuation induced transitions in the presence of an external electric field, or a chemical potential for R-charge. The classifying framework involves the study of the local geometry of a special D-brane embedding, which seeds a self-similar spiral structure in the space of embeddings. Read More

We study a system of a complex charged scalar coupled to a Reissner-Nordstrom black hole in 3+1 dimensional anti-de Sitter spacetime, neglecting back-reaction. With suitable boundary conditions, the cases of a neutral and purely electric black hole have been studied in various limits and were shown to yield key elements of superconductivity in the dual 2+1 dimensional field theory, forming a condensate below a critical temperature. By adding magnetic charge to the black hole, we immerse the superconductor into an external magnetic field. Read More

Using the Sakai-Sugimoto model we study the effect of an external magnetic field on the dynamics of fundamental flavours in both the confined and deconfined phases of a large N_c gauge theory. We find that an external magnetic field promotes chiral symmetry breaking, consistent with the "magnetic catalysis" observed in the field theory literature, and seen in other studies using holographic duals. The external field increases the separation between the deconfinement temperature and the chiral symmetry restoring temperature. Read More

Using a ten dimensional dual string background, we study aspects of the physics of finite temperature large N four dimensional SU(N) gauge theory, focusing on the dynamics of fundamental quarks in the presence of a background magnetic field. At vanishing temperature and magnetic field, the theory has N=2 supersymmetry, and the quarks are in hypermultiplet representations. In a previous study, similar techniques were used to show that the quark dynamics exhibit spontaneous chiral symmetry breaking. Read More

We use a ten dimensional dual string background to aspects of the physics large N four dimensional SU(N) gauge theory, where its fundamental quarks are charged under a background electric field. The theory is N=2 supersymmetric for vanishing temperature and electric field. At zero temperature, we observe that the electric field induces a phase transition associated with the dissociation of the mesons into their constituent quarks. Read More

Following a recent conjecture by Lapan, Simons and Strominger, we revisit and discuss an intrinsically heterotic class of conformal field theories, emphasizing their Lagrangian construction as asymmetrically gauged WZW models, which may be useful in several applications to the study of supersymmetric strings and black holes in heterotic and type II string theory compactified on T^6 and K3 X T^2 respectively. In these cases, the leading supergravity geometry is singular, but higher order corrections remove this singularity in a way that is consistent with, for example the non-zero entropy for the black holes that these strings form after wrapping on an additional circle. The conformal field theories have the right structure to capture the features of the supergravity analysis, and possess precisely the microscopic target spaces required. Read More

We consider a D7-brane probe of AdS$_{5}\times S^5$ in the presence of pure gauge $B$-field. In the dual gauge theory, the $B$-field couples to the fundamental matter introduced by the D7-brane and acts as an external magnetic field. The $B$-field supports a 6-form Ramond-Ramond potential on the D7-branes world volume that breaks the supersymmetry and enables the dual gauge theory to develop a non-zero fermionic condensate. Read More

We present a class of solvable models that resemble string theories in many respects but have a strikingly different non-perturbative sector. In particular, there are no exponentially small contributions to perturbation theory in the string coupling, which normally are associated with branes and related objects. Perturbation theory is no longer an asymptotic expansion, and so can be completely re-summed to yield all the non-perturbative physics. Read More

We study, using a gravity dual, the finite temperature dynamics of $SU(N_c)$ gauge theory for large $N_c$, with fundamental quark flavours in a quenched approximation, in the presence of a fixed R--charge under a global R--current. We observe several notable phenomena. There is a first order phase transition where the quark condensate jumps discontinuously at finite quark mass, generalizing similar transitions seen at zero charge. Read More

In studying the dynamics of large N_c, SU(N_c) gauge theory at finite temperature with fundamental quark flavours in the quenched approximation, we observe a first order phase transition. A quark condensate forms at finite quark mass, and the value of the condensate varies smoothly with the quark mass for generic regions in parameter space. At a particular value of the quark mass, there is a finite discontinuity in the condensate's vacuum expectation value, corresponding to a first order phase transition. Read More

Type 0A string theory in the (2,4k) superconformal minimal model backgrounds, with background ZZ D-branes or R-R fluxes can be formulated non-perturbatively. The branes and fluxes have a description as threshold bound states in an associated one-dimensional quantum mechanics which has a supersymmetric structure, familiar from studies of the generalized KdV system. The relevant bound state wavefunctions in this problem have unusual asymptotics (they are not normalizable in general, and break supersymmetry) which are consistent with the underlying description in terms of open and closed string sectors. Read More

We study the Type 0A string theory in the (2,4k) superconformal minimal model backgrounds, focusing on the fully non-perturbative string equations which define the partition function of the model. The equations admit a parameter, Gamma, which in the spacetime interpretation controls the number of background D-branes, or R-R flux units, depending upon which weak coupling regime is taken. We study the properties of the string equations (often focusing on the (2,4) model in particular) and their physical solutions. Read More

We study the behaviour of spinning strings in the background of various distributions of smeared giant gravitons in supergravity. This gives insights into the behaviour of operators of high dimension, spin and R-charge. Using a new coordinate system recently presented in the literature, we find that it is particularly natural to prepare backgrounds in which the probe operators develop a variety of interesting new behaviours. Read More

We define a family of string equations with perturbative expansions that admit an interpretation as an unoriented minimal string theory with background D-branes and R-R fluxes. The theory also has a well-defined non-perturbative sector and we expect it to have a continuum interpretation as an orientifold projection of the non-critical type~0A string for \hat{c}=0, the (2,4) model. There is a second perturbative region which is consistent with an interpretation in terms of background R-R fluxes. Read More

Type 0A string theory in the (2,4k) superconformal minimal model backgrounds and the bosonic string in the (2,2k-1) conformal minimal models, while perturbatively identical in some regimes, may be distinguished non-perturbatively using double scaled matrix models. The resolvent of an associated Schrodinger operator plays three very important interconnected roles, which we explore perturbatively and non-perturbatively. On one hand, it acts as a source for placing D-branes and fluxes into the background, while on the other, it acts as a probe of the background, its first integral yielding the effective force on a scaled eigenvalue. Read More

We study an exact model of string theory propagating in a space-time containing regions with closed time-like curves (CTCs) separated from a finite cosmological region bounded by a Big Bang and a Big Crunch. The model is an non-trivial embedding of the Taub-NUT geometry into heterotic string theory with a full conformal field theory (CFT) definition, discovered over a decade ago as a heterotic coset model. Having a CFT definition makes this an excellent laboratory for the study of the stringy fate of CTCs, the Taub cosmology, and the Milne/Misner-type chronology horizon which separates them. Read More

We study the four dimensional effective action of a system of D6-branes wrapped on the K3 manifold times a torus, allowing the volume of the internal manifolds to remain dynamical. An unwrapped brane is at best a Dirac monopole of the dual R-R sector field to which it couples. After wrapping, a brane is expected to behave as a BPS monopole, where the Higgs vacuum expectation value is set by the size of the K3. Read More

Well-defined non-perturbative formulations of the physics of string theories, sometimes with D-branes present, were identified over a decade ago, from a careful study of double scaled matrix models. Following recent work which recasts some of those old results in the context of type 0 string theory, a study is made of a much larger family of models, which are proposed as type 0A models of the entire superconformal minimal series coupled to gravity. This gives many further examples of important physical phenomena, including non-perturbative descriptions of transitions between D-branes and fluxes, tachyon condensation, and holography. Read More

We report on our results of D3-brane probing a large class of generalised type IIB supergravity solutions presented very recently in the literature. The structure of the solutions is controlled by a single non-linear differential equation. These solutions correspond to renormalisation group flows from pure N=4 supersymmetric gauge theory to an N=2 gauge theory with a massive adjoint scalar. Read More

We study aspects of the interaction between a D-brane and an anti-D-brane in the maximally supersymmetric plane wave background of type IIB superstring theory, which is equipped with a mass parameter mu. An early such study in flat spacetime (mu=0) served to sharpen intuition about D-brane interactions, showing in particular the key role of the ``stringy halo'' that surrounds a D-brane. The halo marks the edge of the region within which tachyon condensation occurs, opening a gateway to new non-trivial vacua of the theory. Read More

We reconsider supersymmetric five dimensional rotating charged black holes, and their description in terms of D-branes. By wrapping some of the branes on K3, we are able to explore the role of the enhancon mechanism in this system. We verify that enhancon loci protect the black hole from violations of the Second Law of Thermodynamics which would have been achieved by the addition of certain D-brane charges. Read More

A certain conformally invariant N=1 supersymmetric SU(n) gauge theory has a description as an infra-red fixed point obtained by deforming the N=4 supersymmetric Yang-Mills theory by giving a mass to one of its N=1 chiral multiplets. We study the Penrose limit of the supergravity dual of the large n limit of this N=1 gauge theory. The limit gives a pp-wave with R-R five-form flux and both R-R and NS-NS three-form flux. Read More

We present some results of studying certain axially symmetric supergravity geometries corresponding to a distribution of BPS D6-branes wrapped on K3, obtained as extremal limits of a rotating solution. The geometry's unphysical regions resulting from the wrapping can be repaired by the enhancon mechanism, with the result that there are two nested enhancon shells. For a range of parameters, the two shells merge into a single toroidal surface. Read More

We study the addition of an irrelevant operator to the N=4 supersymmetric large n SU(n) gauge theory, in the presence of finite temperature, T. In the supergravity dual, the effect of the operator is known to correspond to a deformation of the AdS_5 x S^5 ``throat'' which restores the asymptotic ten dimensional Minkowski region of spacetime, completing the full D3-brane solution. The system at non-zero T is interesting, since at the extremes of some of the geometrical parameters the geometry interpolates between a seven dimensional spherical Minkowskian Schwarzschild black hole (times R^3) and a five dimensional flat AdS Schwarzschild black hole (times S^5). Read More