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Publication# Studies in strongly coupled quantum field theories and renormalization group flows

Abstract

This thesis presents studies in strongly coupled Renormalization Group (RG) flows. In the first part, we analyze the subject of non-local Conformal Field Theories (CFTs), arising as continuous phase transitions of statistical models with long-range interactions. Specifically, we study the critical long-range Ising model in a general number of dimension: first we show that it is conformally invariant, and then we study in depth the different regimes of the theory. We find an example of an infrared duality, to our knowledge the first non-local example of such phenomenon. The second part of the thesis deals with walking theories and weakly first order phase transi- tions, meaning Quantum Field Theories that show approximate scale invariance over a range of energies, in a general number of dimensions. We discuss several example in the high energy as well as the statistical mechanics literature, and show that these theories can be understood as an RG flow passing between two complex CFTs, i.e. non-unitary theories living at complex values of the couplings. Combining the conformal data of these complex CFTs and conformal perturbation theory, we describe observables of the walking theory. Finally, we give the explicit example of the two dimensional Potts model with more than four states.

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Conformal field theory

A conformal field theory (CFT) is a quantum field theory that is invariant under conformal transformations. In two dimensions, there is an infinite-dimensional algebra of local conformal transformati

Phase transition

In chemistry, thermodynamics, and other related fields, a phase transition (or phase change) is the physical process of transition between one state of a medium and another. Commonly the term is use

Renormalization group

In theoretical physics, the term renormalization group (RG) refers to a formal apparatus that allows systematic investigation of the changes of a physical system as viewed at different scales. In p

Conformal field theories (CFTs) play a very significant role in modern physics, appearing in such diverse fields as particle physics, condensed matter and statistical physics and in quantum gravity both as the string worldsheet theory and through the AdS/CFT correspondence. In recent years major breakthroughs have been made in solving these CFTs through a method called numerical conformal bootstrap. This method uses consistency conditions on the CFT data in order to find and constrain conformal field theories and obtain precise measurements of physical observables. In this thesis we apply the conformal bootstrap to study among others the O(2)- and the ARP^3- models in 3D.
In the first chapter we extend the conventional scalar numerical conformal bootstrap to a mixed system of correlators involving a scalar field charged under a global U(1) symmetry and the associated conserved spin-1 current J. The inclusion of a conserved spinning operator is an important advance in the numerical bootstrap program. Using numerical bootstrap techniques we obtain bounds on new observables not accessible in the usual scalar bootstrap. Concentrating on the O(2) model we extract rigorous bounds on the three-point function coefficient of two currents and the unique relevant scalar singlet, as well as those of two currents and the stress tensor. Using these results, and comparing with a quantum Monte Carlo simulation of the O(2) model conductivity, we give estimates of the thermal one-point function of the relevant singlet and the stress tensor. We also obtain new bounds on operators in various sectors.
In the second chapter we investigate the existence of a second-order phase transition in the ARP^3 model. This model has a global O(4) symmetry and a discrete Z_2 gauge symmetry. It was shown by a perturbative renormalization group analysis that its Landau-Ginzburg-Wilson effective description does not have any stable fixed point, thus disallowing a second-order phase transition. However, it was also shown that lattice simulations contradict this, finding strong evidence for the existence of a second-order phase transition. In this chapter we apply conformal bootstrap methods to the correlator of four scalars t transforming in the traceless symmetric representation of O(4) in order to investigate the existence of this second order phase transition. We find various features that stand out in the region predicted by the lattice data. Moreover, under reasonable assumptions a candidate island can be isolated. We also apply a mixed t-s bootstrap setup in which this island persists. In addition we study the kink-landscape for all representations appearing in the t times t OPE for general N. Among others, we find a new family of kinks in the upper-bound on the dimension of the first scalar operator in the "Box" and "Hook" representations.

This thesis explores two aspects of the renormalization group (RG) in quantum field theory (QFT). In the first part we study the structure of RG flows in general Poincaré-invariant, unitary QFTs, and in particular the irreversibility properties and the relation between scale and conformal invariance. Within the formalism of the local Callan--Symanzik equation, we derive a series of results in four and six-dimensional QFTs. Specifically, in the four dimensional case we revisit and complete existing proofs of the $a$-theorem and of the equivalence between scale and conformal invariance in perturbation theory. We then present an original derivation of similar results in six-dimensional QFTs. In the second part we present the Hamiltonian Truncation method and study its applicability to the numerical solution of non-perturbative RG flows. We test the method in the Phi^4 model in two dimensions and show how it can be used to make quantitative predictions for the low-energy observables. In particular, we calculate the numerical spectrum and estimate the critical coupling at which the theory becomes conformal. We also compare our results to previous estimates. The main original ingredient of our analysis is an analytic renormalization procedure used to improve the numerical convergence. We then adapt the method in order to treat the strongly-coupled regime of the model where the Z2 symmetry is spontaneously broken. We reproduce perturbative and non-perturbative observables and compare our results with analytical predictions.

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.