Quantcast
  • Register
PhysicsOverflow is a next-generation academic platform for physicists and astronomers, including a community peer review system and a postgraduate-level discussion forum analogous to MathOverflow.

Welcome to PhysicsOverflow! PhysicsOverflow is an open platform for community peer review and graduate-level Physics discussion.

Please help promote PhysicsOverflow ads elsewhere if you like it.

News

Please welcome our new moderators!

Please do help out in categorising submissions. Submit a paper to PhysicsOverflow!

... see more

Tools for paper authors

Submit paper
Claim Paper Authorship

Tools for SE users

Search User
Reclaim SE Account
Request Account Merger
Nativise imported posts
Claim post (deleted users)
Import SE post

Users whose questions have been imported from Physics Stack Exchange, Theoretical Physics Stack Exchange, or any other Stack Exchange site are kindly requested to reclaim their account and not to register as a new user.

Public \(\beta\) tools

Report a bug with a feature
Request a new functionality
404 page design
Send feedback

Attributions

(propose a free ad)

Site Statistics

122 submissions , 103 unreviewed
3,497 questions , 1,172 unanswered
4,543 answers , 19,337 comments
1,470 users with positive rep
407 active unimported users
More ...

Vector and Spinor Representation in Ramond-Neveu-Schwarz Superstring Theory

+ 5 like - 0 dislike
72 views

I am learning Ramnond-Neveu-Schwarz Superstring theory (RNS theory). I often find the following notation, especially in the closed string spectrum etc.:

$$\mathbf{8}_s,\mathbf{8}_v $$

And it is noted that these are vector and spinor representations of something. I have two questions regarding these.

  1. What are these representations of? Are they representations of $SO(8)$?

  2. What do they actually mean? How do you represent something in vector/spinor notation. 

asked Apr 14, 2013 in Theoretical Physics by dimension10 (1,950 points) [ revision history ]
edited Apr 25, 2014 by dimension10
I suggest that you put an email address in your profile so that people can contact you. If someone who actually knows string theory could talk with you, they should be able to quickly identify what would be useful for you to learn next.

This post imported from StackExchange Physics at 2014-03-07 16:30 (UCT), posted by SE-user Mitchell Porter

1 Answer

+ 6 like - 0 dislike

Yes, they're representations of $SO(8)$, more precisely $Spin(8)$ which is an "improvement" of $SO(8)$ that allows the rotation by 360 degrees to be represented by a matrix different from the unit matrix, namely minus unit matrix.

${\bf 8}_v$ transforms normally as $$ v\mapsto M v$$ where $MM^T=1$ is the $8\times 8$ real orthogonal $SO(8)$ matrix. The spinor reps ${\bf 8}_s\oplus {\bf 8}_c$ label the left-handed and right-handed spinor, respectively. People usually learn spinors well before they study RNS string theory.

The spinor representation transforms under $SO(8)$ in a way that is fully encoded by the transformation rules under infinitesimal $SO(8)$ transformations, $1+i\omega_{ij} J^{ij}$ where $\omega$ are the angle parameters and $J$ are the generators.

In the Dirac spinor representation, $J_{ij}$ is written as $$ J_{ij} = \frac{\gamma_i \gamma_j - \gamma_j\gamma_i}{4}$$ where $\gamma$ are the Dirac matrices that may be written as tensor products of Pauli matrices and the unit matrix and that obey $$\gamma_i\gamma_j+\gamma_j\gamma_i = 2\delta_{ij}\cdot {\bf 1}$$ Each pair of added dimensions doubles the size of the Dirac matrices so the dimension of the total "Dirac" representation for $SO(2n)$ is $2^n$. For $n=4$ we get $2^4=16$.

This 16-dimensional spinor representation is real and may be split, according to the eigenvalue of the $\Gamma_9$ chirality matrix, to the 8-dimensional chiral (=Weyl) spinor representations labeled by the indices s,c.

For $SO(8)$, there are 3 real 8-dimensional irreducible representations that are "equally good" and may actually be permuted by an operation called "triality". This operation may be seen as the $S_3$ permutation symmetry of the 3 legs of the Mercedes-logo-like $SO(8)$ Dynkin diagram. I just wrote a text about it last night:

http://motls.blogspot.cz/2013/04/complex-real-and-pseudoreal.html?m=1

If you really need to explain what a representation of a group is, you should interrupt your studies of string theory and focus on group theory – keywords Lie groups, Lie algebras, and representation theory. Without this background, you would face similar confusion too often.

This post imported from StackExchange Physics at 2014-03-07 16:30 (UCT), posted by SE-user Luboš Motl
answered Apr 14, 2013 by Luboš Motl (10,178 points) [ no revision ]
Thanks a lot. I had learnt spinors, lie groups etc, but I didn't encounter this notation in earlier sources. Thanks for clearing my doubts.

This post imported from StackExchange Physics at 2014-03-07 16:30 (UCT), posted by SE-user Dimensio1n0

Your answer

Please use answers only to (at least partly) answer questions. To comment, discuss, or ask for clarification, leave a comment instead.
To mask links under text, please type your text, highlight it, and click the "link" button. You can then enter your link URL.
Please consult the FAQ for as to how to format your post.
This is the answer box; if you want to write a comment instead, please use the 'add comment' button.
Live preview (may slow down editor)   Preview
Your name to display (optional):
Privacy: Your email address will only be used for sending these notifications.
Anti-spam verification:
If you are a human please identify the position of the character covered by the symbol $\varnothing$ in the following word:
p$\hbar$ysics$\varnothing$verflow
Then drag the red bullet below over the corresponding character of our banner. When you drop it there, the bullet changes to green (on slow internet connections after a few seconds).
To avoid this verification in future, please log in or register.




user contributions licensed under cc by-sa 3.0 with attribution required

Your rights
...