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  Conformal invariance of $N = 4$ Supersymmetric Yang-Mills theory

+ 4 like - 0 dislike

I will quote the following from the Wikipedia article on Supersymmetry Nonrenormalization theorems [1],

"In $N=4$ super Yang–Mills the $\beta$-function is zero for all couplings, meaning that the theory is conformal."

When we say that the $\beta$-function vanishes for a QFT, we conclude that scale invariance remains preserved at the quantum level.

However scale invariance doesn't necessarily imply conformal invariance, e.g. this paper has two such examples [2]. Hereby I am getting confused, this paper by Sohnius and West [3] originally shows why the $\beta$- function for $N=4$ super Yang–Mills vanishes. But then why is the claim for conformal invariance justified? 

  [1]: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Supersymmetry_nonrenormalization_theorems#Nonrenormalization_in_supersymmetric_theories_and_holomorphy
  [2]: https://arxiv.org/abs/hep-th/0006037
  [3]: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/0370269381903269?via%3Dihub

asked May 21, 2018 in Theoretical Physics by Joyshaitan (85 points) [ no revision ]
recategorized May 21, 2018 by Dilaton

I had posted the same question on PSE, and got a good answer. https://physics.stackexchange.com/q/407265/50770

1 Answer

+ 2 like - 0 dislike

Isn't the claim of (super)conformal invariance justified by the fact that up to the trace anomaly the trace of the stress energy tensor is zero? This is exactly what you would expect for a CFT and this is exactly what happens at the origin of the moduli space of the $\mathcal{N}=4$ SYM theory.

P.S. In general, if specific conditions are satisfied, for a scale invariant theory one can make $T_{\mu \nu}$ such that $T_{\mu}^{\mu} =0$ which implies the conformal invariance. To understand what happens with the trace anomaly is a long story that need to be carefully studied. 

answered May 24, 2018 by conformal_gk (3,625 points) [ revision history ]
edited May 24, 2018 by conformal_gk
Most voted comments show all comments

Sorry, misprint. Look again.

Is there a proof that under natural conditions, a vanishing trace implies conformal symmetry, or is it just something observed in typical examples?

No, I don't think there is a proof for that.

@conformal_gk I had a misunderstanding earlier that $T_{\mu}^{\mu} = 0$ implies only that the charge associated with dilatations is conserved, but it turns out that the charge associated with special conformal transformations is conserved too. So yeah, my problem is solved, for earlier I had the misconception that only scale invariance is preserved with this this condition.

The relation between scale invariance and conformal invariance is discussed  a bit in chapter 1 of https://arxiv.org/pdf/1601.05000.pdf.

Most recent comments show all comments

It is not MY claim.

But it look like your claim. Your answer contains the statement that vanishing trace implies conformal invariance, without attribution. In the comment you write that you don't know of a proof. So you should qualify your answer accordingly. On the other hand, maybe the comment by Joyshaitan can be developed into a proof. Since I am not an expert on conformal  theory, I'd like to know the precise status of what is believed and what is actually proved.

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