Conformal field theory and the web of quantum chaos diagnostics

Jonah Kudler-Flam, Laimei Nie, Shinsei Ryu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


We study three prominent diagnostics of chaos and scrambling in the context of two-dimensional conformal field theory: the spectral form factor, out-of-time-ordered correlators, and unitary operator entanglement. With the observation that all three quantities may be obtained by different analytic continuations of the torus partition function, we address the connections and distinctions between the information that each quantity provides us. In this process, we study the emergence of irrationality from “large-N” limits of rational conformal field theories (RCFTs) as well as the explicit breakdown of rationality for theories with central charges greater than the number of their conserved currents. Our analysis begins to elucidate the intermediate dynamical behavior of theories that bridge the gap between integrable RCFTs and maximally chaotic holographic CFTs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number175
JournalJournal of High Energy Physics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2020
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Nuclear and High Energy Physics


  • AdS-CFT Correspondence
  • Conformal Field Theory
  • Conformal and W Symmetry


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