More exact results in the Wilson loop defect CFT: Bulk-defect OPE, nonplanar corrections and quantum spectral curve

Simone Giombi, Shota Komatsu

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We perform exact computations of correlation functions of 1/2-BPS local operators and protected operator insertions on the 1/8-BPS Wilson loop in SYM. This generalizes the results of our previous paper Giombi and Komatsu (2018 J. High Energy Phys. JHEP05(2018)109), which employs supersymmetric localization, OPE and the Gram-Schmidt process. In particular, we conduct a detailed analysis for the 1/2-BPS circular (or straight) Wilson loop in the planar limit, which defines an interesting nontrivial defect CFT. We compute its bulk-defect structure constants at finite 't Hooft coupling, and present simple integral expressions in terms of the Q-functions that appear in the quantum spectral curve - a formalism originally introduced for the computation of the operator spectrum. The results at strong coupling are found to be in precise agreement with the holographic calculation based on perturbation theory around the AdS 2 string worldsheet, where they correspond to correlation functions of open string fluctuations and closed string vertex operators inserted on the worldsheet. Along the way, we clarify several aspects of the Gram-Schmidt analysis which were not addressed in the previous paper. In particular, we clarify the role played by the multi-trace operators at the non-planar level, and confirm its importance by computing the non-planar correction to the defect two-point function. We also provide a formula for the first non-planar correction to the defect correlators in terms of the quantum spectral curve, which suggests the potential applicability of the formalism to the non-planar correlation functions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number125401
JournalJournal of Physics A: Mathematical and Theoretical
Issue number12
StatePublished - 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Statistical and Nonlinear Physics
  • Statistics and Probability
  • Modeling and Simulation
  • Mathematical Physics
  • General Physics and Astronomy


  • AdS/CFT
  • conformal field theory
  • defect CFT
  • supersymmetry


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