general mechanisms
electric-magnetic duality, Montonen-Olive duality, geometric Langlands duality
string-fivebrane duality
string-QFT duality
QFT-QFT duality:
effective QFT incarnations of open/closed string duality,
relating (super-)gravity to (super-)Yang-Mills theory:
Seiberg duality (swapping NS5-branes)
Ordinary heterotic string theory is the study of the perturbation series of correlators of a certain 2-dimensional SCFT over surfaces. The resulting S-matrix is interpreted as encoding the scattering amplitudes of strings propagating in some target space.
Among the gauge fields that these strings are charged under is the Kalb-Ramond field, which is a circle 2-bundle with connection.
By general electric-magnetic duality (see Freed 00 for a formal treatment in differential cohomology) one expects there to be a dual theory theory where the $(p=1)$-dimensional strings are replaced by their magnetic duals, which are $10-(p+2)-2 = 5$-branes.
The study of the corresponding perturbation series over correlators of the 6-dimensional fivebrane worldvolume SCFT over 6-volumes is far from tractable, but a handful of consistency checks exist, that the corresponding dual heterotic string theory makes sense.
Where the quantum anomaly-cancellation for the heterotic string involves the demand for (twisted) string structures, that for the dual theory involves fivebrane structures (which gives these their name).
The dual degree-8 anomaly polynomial in Green-Schwarz mechanism for dual heterotic string theory is (e.g. Freed 00 (3.48))
where $A$ denotes the gauge field connection, $\omega$ the gravity spin connection, $ch_n$ the degree-$n$ component of the Chern character and $p;_i$ the Pontryagin classes.
dual heterotic string theory
The heterotic NS5-brane (see also at half M5-brane) was found as a black brane in heterotic string theory in
Heterotic solitons, Nucl. Phys. B343 (1990) 167-184 (doi:10.1016/0550-3213(90)90599-9)
Erratum: Nucl. Phys. B353 (1991) 565-565 (doi:10.1016/0550-3213(91)90349-3, spire:27900)
Discussion of the heterotic NS5-brane as a Green-Schwarz sigma-model and its fermion worldvolume quantum anomaly:
Kurt Lechner, Mario Tonin, Worldvolume and target space anomalies in the D=10 super–fivebrane sigma–model (arXiv:hep-th/9603094)
Kurt Lechner, Mario Tonin, World-manifold and target space anomalies in heterotic Green-Schwarz strings and five-branes, in: Gauge Theories, Applied Supersymmetry and Quantum Gravity II, pp. 311-318 (1997) (arXiv:hep-th/9610110, doi:10.1142/9781848160927_0022)
J. Mourad, Anomalies of the $SO(32)$ five-brane and their cancellation, Nucl.Phys. B512 (1998) 199-208 (arxiv:hep-th/9709012)
Kurt Lechner, Quantum properties of the heterotic five-brane, Phys. Lett. B693:323-329, 2010 (arxiv:1005.5719)
J. A. Dixon, Mike Duff, Jan Plefka, Putting the string/fivebrane duality to the test (arXiv:hep-th/9208055)
Review of the history of the dual heterotic string conjecture is in
On p. 3 and 4 the latter reviews the worldsheet description of the relevant terms for the string and then look at the corresponding situation for the 5-brane on p. 6.
So this is the EM-dual analog of the Killingback-Witten-computation of the fermionic anomaly that leads to string structures in the heterotic string (see there). Where the former involves cancelling the first fractional Pontryagin class, this involves the second.
For a description of the general mechanism in differential cohomology at work here, see
Last revised on August 10, 2020 at 14:41:13. See the history of this page for a list of all contributions to it.