nLab D-brane charge quantization in topological K-theory -- references

D-brane charge quantization in topological K-theory

On the conjectural D-brane charge quantization in topological K-theory:

Origin and basics

The idea that D-branes have Dirac charge quantization in topological K-theory originates with:

and with emphasis on the full picture of twisted differential K-theory in:


From Sch 18

Expression of these D-brane K-theory classes via the Atiyah-Hirzebruch spectral sequence:

Specifically for D-branes in WZW models see

  • Peter Bouwknegt, A note on equality of algebraic and geometric D-brane charges in WZW models (pdf)

Discussion of D-brane matrix models taking these K-theoretic effects into account (K-matrix model) is in

  • T. Asakawa, S. Sugimoto, S. Terashima, D-branes, Matrix Theory and K-homology, JHEP 0203 (2002) 034 (arXiv:hep-th/0108085)

Twisted, equivariant and differential refinement

Discussion of charge quantization in twisted K-theory for the case of non-vanishing B-field:

An elaborate proposal for the correct flavour of equivariant KR-theory needed for orientifolds is sketched in:

Discussion of full-blown twisted differential K-theory and its relation to D-brane charge in type II string theory

Discussion of full-blown twisted differential orthogonal K-theory and its relation to D-brane charge in type I string theory (on orientifolds):


See also for instance

Discussion of D-branes in KK-theory is reviewed in

based on

In particular (BMRS2) discusses the definition and construction of D-brane charge as a generalized index in KK-theory. The discussion there focuses on the untwisted case. Comments on the generalization of this to topologicall non-trivial B-field and hence twisted K-theory is in

Conceptual problems

But there remain conceptual issues with the proposal that D-brane charge is in K-theory, as highlighted in

In particular, actual checks of the proposal that D-brane charge is given by K-theory, via concrete computation in boundary conformal field theory, have revealed some subtleties:

  • Stefan Fredenhagen, Thomas Quella, Generalised permutation branes, JHEP 0511:004, 2005 (arXiv:hep-th/0509153)

    It might surprise that despite all the progress that has been made in understanding branes on group manifolds, there are usually not enough D-branes known to explain the whole charge group predicted by (twisted) K-theory.

The closest available towards an actual check of the argument for K-theory via open superstring tachyon condensation (Witten 98, Section 3) seems to be

  • Theodore Erler, Analytic Solution for Tachyon Condensation in Berkovits’ Open Superstring Field Theory, JHEP 1311 (2013) 007 (arXiv:1308.4400)

which, however, concludes (on p. 32) with:

It would also be interesting to see if these developments can shed light on the long-speculated relation between string field theory and the K-theoretic description of D-brane charge [[75, 76, 77]]. We leave these questions for future work.

See also

which still lists (on p. 112) among open problems of string field theory:

“Are there topological invariants of the open string star algebra representing D-brane charges?”

For orbifolds in equivariant K-theory

The proposal that D-brane charge on orbifolds is measured in equivariant K-theory (orbifold K-theory) goes back to

It was pointed out that only a subgroup of equivariant K-theory can be physically relevant in

Further discussion of equivariant K-theory for D-branes on orbifolds includes the following:

Discussion of real K-theory for D-branes on orientifolds includes the following:

The original observation that D-brane charge for orientifolds should be in KR-theory is due to

and was then re-amplified in

With further developments in

Discussion of orbi-orienti-folds using equivariant KO-theory is in

Discussion of the alleged K-theory classification of D-brane charge in relation to the M-theory C-field is in

See also

More complete discussion of double dimensional reduction of the supergravity C-field in 11d to the expected B-field and RR-field flux forms in 10d:

Last revised on November 15, 2022 at 18:15:21. See the history of this page for a list of all contributions to it.