Gauge theories and integrable lattice models

Edward Witten

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

137 Scopus citations

Abstract

Investigations of new knot polynomials discovered in the last few years have shown them to be intimately connected with soluble models of two dimensional lattice statistical mechanics. In this paper, these results, which in time may illuminate the whole question of why integrable lattice models exist, are reconsidered from the point of view of three dimensional gauge theory. Expectation values of Wilson lines in three dimensional Chern-Simons gauge theories can be computed by evaluating the partition functions of certain lattice models on finite graphs obtained by projecting the Wilson lines to the plane. The models in question - previously considered in both the knot theory and statistical mechanics - are IRF models in which the local Boltzmann weights are the matrix elements of braiding matrices in rational conformal field theories. These matrix elements, in turn, can be presented in three dimensional gauge theory in terms of the expectation value of a certain tetrahedral configuration of Wilson lines. This representation makes manifest a surprising symmetry of the braiding matrix elements in conformal field theory.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)629-697
Number of pages69
JournalNuclear Physics, Section B
Volume322
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 21 1989
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Nuclear and High Energy Physics

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