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Three applications of a geometric approach to conformal field theory

Abstract : The thesis, consisting of three parts, is focusing on different physical problems that are related to two dimensional Conformal Field Theory (CFT).The first part deals with nonequilibrium transport properties across a junction of quantum wires. Three models are studied. The first one describes the wires by a free compactified bosonic field, seen as the bosonization of the Luttinger liquid of electrons. The junction of the wires is modeled by a boundary condition that ensures nontrivial scattering of the charges between the wires. Combining canonical quantization and functional integral, we compute exactly the current correlation functions in equilibrium, but also in a nonequilibrium stationary state, as well as the full counting statistics of charge and energy between the wires set at different temperatures and potentials. The two other models of quantum wire junction are based on Wess-Zumino-Witten theory (WZW). In the first one, the junction is described by a “cyclic brane” and in the second, by a “coset brane”. The results in the first case are as complete as for the free field, but the charges are fully transmitted from one wire to the next one. In the second case, the scattering is nontrivial, but the model turns out to be difficult to solve.The second part of the thesis studies the global gauge anomalies in “coset” models of CFT, realized as gauged WZW theories. The (almost) complete classification of such anomalies, that lead to some inconsistent coset models, is presented. It is based on Dynkin classification of subalgebras of simple Lie algebras.Finally, the third part of the thesis describes the geometric construction of index from unitary operator families obtained from valence band projectors of a two-dimensional time-reversal invariant topological insulator. The index is related on one hand to the square root of the Wess-Zumino amplitude of such a family, and, on the other hand, it reproduces the Kane-Mele invariant of the insulator. The last identification requires a nontrivial argument that uses a new gauge anomaly of WZW models with boundary.The three parts of the thesis use similar geometrical tool of CFT, that permits to obtain several original results. The unity in the method, as well as the topic of anomalies, builds a bridge between the different components of the manuscript.
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Clément Tauber. Three applications of a geometric approach to conformal field theory. Mathematical Physics [math-ph]. Ecole normale supérieure de lyon - ENS LYON, 2015. English. ⟨NNT : 2015ENSL1047⟩. ⟨tel-01247290⟩

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