Fayet-Iliopoulos terms in string theory

M. Dine, N. Seiberg, E. Witten

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

519 Scopus citations


For vacua of string theory which leave unbroken N = 1 supersymmetry in the leading approximation, non-renormalization theorems guarantee that higher order (string or sigma model) perturbative corrections do not modify the space-time superpotential. If the low energy gauge group contains U(1) factors, this is not enough to ensure that the low energy physics is perturbatively stable. It is still possible to generate a Fayet-Iliopoulos D-term. We show that under certain conditions such a term is generated, and destabilizes the vacuum. This is a counterexample to various claims about the universal absence of quantum tadpoles when expanding around a classical solution with unbroken supersymmetry. Whether, in a given model, the generation of a D-term will destabilize the vacuum (or merely change the pattern of symmetry breaking) can be determined from properties of the low energy effective action.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)589-598
Number of pages10
JournalNuclear Physics, Section B
Issue numberC
StatePublished - 1987

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Nuclear and High Energy Physics


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