Quantizing string theory in AdS5×S5: Beyond the pp-wave

Curtis Gove Callan, Hok Kong Lee, Tristan McLoughlin, John H. Schwarz, Ian Swanson, Xinkai Wu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

170 Scopus citations


In a certain kinematic limit, where the effects of spacetime curvature (and other background fields) greatly simplify, the light-cone gauge worldsheet action for a type IIB superstring on AdS5×S5 reduces to that of a free field theory. It has been conjectured by Berenstein, Maldacena, and Nastase that the energy spectrum of this string theory matches the dimensions of operators in the appropriately defined large R-charge large-Nc sector of N=4 supersymmetric Yang-Mills theory in four dimensions. This holographic equivalence is thought to be exact, independent of any simplifying kinematic limits. As a step toward verifying this larger conjecture, we have computed the complete set of first curvature corrections to the spectrum of light-cone gauge string theory that arises in the expansion of AdS5×S5 about the plane-wave limit. The resulting spectrum has the complete dependence on λ=gYM2Nc; corresponding results in the gauge theory are known only to second order in λ. We find precise agreement to this order, including the N=4 extended supermultiplet structure. In the process, we demonstrate that the complicated schemes put forward in recent years for defining the Green-Schwarz superstring action in background Ramond-Ramond fields can be reduced to a practical (and correct) method for quantizing the string.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3-40
Number of pages38
JournalNuclear Physics B
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Nov 24 2003

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Nuclear and High Energy Physics


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