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Theses

Duality web between little string theories of type A

Abstract : String theory remains one of our best candidates for a theory of quantum gravity. Until now it has not lived up to this goal. However, along the way it was realized that string theory can give us valu-able insights into a variety of subjects among which supersymmetric gauge theories by studying the low-energy worldvolume dynamics of branes. This embedding of gauge theories into string theory provides us with a different viewpoint that often allows us to use powerful geometric considerati-ons in order to obtain new results that are inaccessible from conventional methods. Even in the ab-sence of experimental confirmation of supersymmetry, its presence in this class of gauge theories provides us with a playground where different methods can be tested in an efficient way. Indeed, supersymmetry provides additional structure, rendering the underlying theory more rigid and thus simplifying computations and making results more accessible. One could dare to say that when a certain result can not be calculated in the presence of supersymmetry, there is probably not much hope of achieving it without supersymmetry. This stringy approach to gauge theories makes it pos-sible to unravel hidden dualities or to understand already known ones from a different perspective. An interesting class of quantum theories that are embedded into string theory are the so called little string theories. They have been discovered two decades ago. These six-dimensional theories were first obtained as the worldvolume theory of a stack of NS5 branes in the context of Type II string theory trough a particular decoupling limit that sends the string coupling constant to zero while kee-ping at the same time the string scale finite. In this limit, the resulting theory remains interacting but the bulk dynamics is decoupled, in particular gravity. As their name suggests, they contain strings. The tension of the little strings is proportional to the string scale, which is the only intrinsic scale in the theory. Furthermore, the little string theories enjoy T-duality similar to the critical string theory. They are thus non-local quantum theories. So the complexity of little string theory lies between that of local quantum field theories and full fledged critical string theory. This makes them interesting candidates for studying stringy phenomena in an easier setup where gravity is absent and to learn more about the worldvolume dynamics of the NS5 brane. At energies far below the string scale, they have a low-energy description in terms of quiver gauge theories, so their study can also give us insights into these kinds of theories. This local description breaks down as we reach the string scale and we must rely on the full little string theories. The main goal of this thesis is to study dualities between little string theories by using different dual constructions available in string theory. These allow us to attack the problem from different angles and they establish also a connection to geometric structures. This makes it possible to systematically analyse relations among different little string theories. We then confirm the validity of the newly found duality relations by using the so called instanton partition function. The latter is a completely non-perturbative object allowing us to establish the dualities as an exact result. This duality structure naturally extends to the low-energy description in terms of supersymmetric quiver gauge theories. Furthermore, we study the direct consequences of this duality web. We find interesting cases where the dimensional reduction from six to five dimensions simultaneously reduces the rank of the group and changes the matter content. Another result that we find is the presence of a hidden dihedral symmetry which acts in a highly non-trivial fashion on the spectrum of the underlying gauge theories.
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Submitted on : Thursday, December 12, 2019 - 10:46:10 AM
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Brice Bastian. Duality web between little string theories of type A. Physics [physics]. Université de Lyon, 2019. English. ⟨NNT : 2019LYSE1117⟩. ⟨tel-02406556⟩

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