M-theory through the looking glass: Tachyon condensation in the E8 heterotic string

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We study the spacetime decay to nothing in string theory and M-theory. First we recall a nonsupersymmetric version of heterotic M-theory, in which bubbles of nothing -- connecting the two E_8 boundaries by a throat -- are expected to be nucleated. We argue that the fate of this system should be addressed at weak string coupling, where the nonperturbative instanton instability is expected to turn into a perturbative tachyonic one. We identify the unique string theory that could describe this process: The heterotic model with one E_8 gauge group and a singlet tachyon. We then use worldsheet methods to study ... continued below

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Horava, Petr; Horava, Petr & Keeler, Cynthia A. September 20, 2007.

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We study the spacetime decay to nothing in string theory and M-theory. First we recall a nonsupersymmetric version of heterotic M-theory, in which bubbles of nothing -- connecting the two E_8 boundaries by a throat -- are expected to be nucleated. We argue that the fate of this system should be addressed at weak string coupling, where the nonperturbative instanton instability is expected to turn into a perturbative tachyonic one. We identify the unique string theory that could describe this process: The heterotic model with one E_8 gauge group and a singlet tachyon. We then use worldsheet methods to study the tachyon condensation in the NSR formulation of this model, and show that it induces a worldsheet super-Higgs effect. The main theme of our analysis is the possibility of making meaningful alternative gauge choices for worldsheet supersymmetry, in place of the conventional superconformal gauge. We show in a version of unitary gauge how the worldsheet gravitino assimilates the goldstino and becomes dynamical. This picture clarifies recent results of Hellerman and Swanson. We also present analogs of R_\xi gauges, and note the importance of logarithmic CFT in the context of tachyon condensation.

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36

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  • Journal Name: Physical Review D; Journal Volume: 77; Related Information: Journal Publication Date: 19 March 2008

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  • Report No.: LBNL-403E
  • Grant Number: DE-AC02-05CH11231
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 934695
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc898246

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  • September 20, 2007

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  • Sept. 27, 2016, 1:39 a.m.

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  • Sept. 30, 2016, 6:47 p.m.

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Horava, Petr; Horava, Petr & Keeler, Cynthia A. M-theory through the looking glass: Tachyon condensation in the E8 heterotic string, article, September 20, 2007; Berkeley, California. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc898246/: accessed September 24, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.