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Publication# Large field excursions and approximate discrete symmetries from a clockwork axion

Abstract

We present a renormalizable theory of scalars in which the low-energy effective theory contains a pseudo-Goldstone boson with a compact field space of 2 pi F and an approximate discrete shift symmetry Z(Q) with Q >> 1, yet the number of fields in the theory goes as log Q. Such a model can serve as a UV completion to models of relaxions and is a new source of exponential scale separation in field theory. While the model is local in "theory space," it appears not to have a continuum generalization (i.e., it cannot be a deconstructed extra dimension). Our framework shows that super-Planckian field excursions can be mimicked while sticking to renormalizable four-dimensional quantum field theory. We show that a supersymmetric extension is straightforwardly obtained, and we illustrate possible UV completions based on a compact extra dimension, where all global symmetries arise accidentally as a consequence of gauge invariance and five-dimensional locality.

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Supersymmetry

In a supersymmetric theory the equations for force and the equations for matter are identical. In theoretical and mathematical physics, any theory with this property has the principle of supersymmet

Extra dimensions

In physics, extra dimensions are proposed additional space or time dimensions beyond the (3 + 1) typical of observed spacetime, such as the first attempts based on the Kaluza–Klein theory.

Quantum field theory

In theoretical physics, quantum field theory (QFT) is a theoretical framework that combines classical field theory, special relativity, and quantum mechanics. QFT is used in particle physics to cons

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Currently, the best theoretical description of fundamental matter and its gravitational interaction is given by the Standard Model (SM) of particle physics and Einstein's theory of General Relativity (GR). These theories contain a number of seemingly unrelated scales. While Newton's gravitational constant and the mass of the Higgs boson are parameters in the classical action, the masses of other elementary particles are due to the electroweak symmetry breaking. Yet other scales, like ΛQCD associated to the strong interaction, only appear after the quantization of the theory. We reevaluate the idea that the fundamental theory of nature may contain no fixed scales and that all observed scales could have a common origin in the spontaneous break-down of exact scale invariance. To this end, we consider a few minimal scale-invariant extensions of GR and the SM, focusing especially on their cosmological phenomenology. In the simplest considered model, scale invariance is achieved through the introduction of a dilaton field. We find that for a large class of potentials, scale invariance is spontaneously broken, leading to induced scales at the classical level. The dilaton is exactly massless and practically decouples from all SM fields. The dynamical break-down of scale invariance automatically provides a mechanism for inflation. Despite exact scale invariance, the theory generally contains a cosmological constant, or, put in other words, flat spacetime need not be a solution. We next replace standard gravity by Unimodular Gravity (UG). This results in the appearance of an arbitrary integration constant in the equations of motion, inducing a run-away potential for the dilaton. As a consequence, the dilaton can play the role of a dynamical dark-energy component. The cosmological phenomenology of the model combining scale invariance and unimodular gravity is studied in detail. We find that the equation of state of the dilaton condensate has to be very close to the one of a cosmological constant. If the spacetime symmetry group of the gravitational action is reduced from the group of all diffeomorphisms (Diff) to the subgroup of transverse diffeomorphisms (TDiff), the metric in general contains a propagating scalar degree of freedom. We show that the replacement of Diff by TDiff makes it possible to construct a scale-invariant theory of gravity and particle physics in which the dilaton appears as a part of the metric. We find the conditions under which such a theory is a viable description of particle physics and in particular reproduces the SM phenomenology. The minimal theory with scale invariance and UG is found to be a particular case of a theory with scale and TDiff invariance. Moreover, cosmological solutions in models based on scale and TDiff invariance turn out to generically be similar to the solutions of the model with UG. In usual quantum field theories, scale invariance is anomalous. This might suggest that results based on classical scale invariance are necessarily spoiled by quantum corrections. We show that this conclusion is not true. Namely, we propose a new renormalization scheme which allows to construct a class of quantum field theories that are scale-invariant to all orders of perturbation theory and where the scale symmetry is spontaneously broken. In this type of theory, all scales, including those related to dimensional transmutation, like ΛQCD, appear as a consequence of the spontaneous break-down of the scale symmetry. The proposed theories are not renormalizable. Nonetheless, they are valid effective theories below a field-dependent cut-off scale. If the scale-invariant renormalization scheme is applied to the presented minimal scale-invariant extensions of GR and the SM, the goal of having a common origin of all scales, spontaneous breaking of scale invariance, is achieved.

We defend the Fock-space Hamiltonian truncation method, which allows us to calculate numerically the spectrum of strongly coupled quantum field theories, by putting them in a finite volume and imposing a UV cutoff. The accuracy of the method is improved via an analytic renormalization procedure inspired by the usual effective field theory. As an application, we study the two-dimensional.4 theory for a wide range of couplings. The theory exhibits a quantum phase transition between the symmetry-preserving and symmetry-breaking phases. We extract quantitative predictions for the spectrum and the critical coupling and make contact with previous results from the literature. Future directions to further improve the accuracy of the method and enlarge its scope of applications are outlined.

Leonardo Brizi, Claudio Scrucca

We study the scalar mass matrix of general supersymmetric theories with local gauge symmetries, and derive an absolute upper bound on the lightest scalar mass. This bound can be saturated by suitably tuning the superpotential, and its positivity therefore represents a necessary and sufficient condition for the existence of metastable vacua. It is derived by looking at the subspace of all those directions in field space for which an arbitrary supersymmetric mass term is not allowed and scalar masses are controlled by supersymmetry-breaking splitting effects. This subspace includes not only the direction of supersymmetry breaking, but also the directions of gauge symmetry breaking and the lightest scalar is in general a linear combination of fields spanning all these directions. We present explicit results for the simplest case of theories with a single local gauge symmetry. For renormalizable gauge theories, the lightest scalar is a combination of the Goldstino partners and its square mass is always positive. For more general non-linear sigma models, on the other hand, the lightest scalar can involve also the Goldstone partner and its square mass is not always positive.

2011