Spin structures in string theory

N. Seiberg, E. Witten

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

326 Scopus citations


The effect of modular transformations which change the spin structure of the string world-sheet is discussed. Invariance of string perturbation theory under such transformations forces us to sum over different spin structures with well defined coefficients. The sum over spin structures amounts to performing the GSO projections. We explain why the GSO projections is compatible with unitarit; that is, why wrong G-parity states are not produced in pairs. On the contrary, we show that unitarity requires either the GSO projection, which gives a supersymmetric spectrum, or another projection which removes the massless spin- 3 2 particle from the spectrum. This is in agreement with the familiar idea that a consistent theory with a massless spin- 3 2 particle must be supersymmetric. These considerations lead us to find four new string theories in ten dimensions. Although they all have tachyons, they are otherwise consistent, modular invariant and unitary. One of these theories is particularly interesting since it has anomaly free chiral fermions in ten dimensions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)272-290
Number of pages19
JournalNuclear Physics, Section B
Issue number2
StatePublished - Oct 13 1986

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Nuclear and High Energy Physics


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