nLab
super-embedding formalism

Contents

Contents

Idea

The “doubly supersymmetric geometric approach” (BPSTV 95, Howe-Sezgin 97), also called the super-embedding approach (Sorokin 99), is a formulation of super-pp-brane sigma-models entirely within supergeometry, where not only the target spacetime is taken to be a supermanifold, as in Green-Schwarz sigma-models, and not only the worldvolume is taken to be a supermanifold, as in the NSR string, but where both are taken to be supermanifolds.

graphics grabbed from FSS 19c

Properties

κ\kappa-Symmetry as super-general covariance

The notorious phenomenon of kappa-symmetry in Green-Schwarz sigma-models is revealed by the superembedding approach to be nothing but the odd-graded components of the super-diffeomorphism invariance on the worldvolume, hence: of super-general covariance (Sorokin-Tkach-Volkov 89, review includes Sorokin 99, section 4.3, Howe-Sezgin 04, section 4.3):

If

  1. XX denotes a superspacetime locally modeled on super-Minkowski spacetime d1,1|N\mathbb{R}^{d-1,1\vert \mathbf{N}}

  2. Σ\Sigma denotes a super-worldvolume of a super p-brane locally modeled on super-Minkowski spacetime p,1|N/2\mathbb{R}^{p,1\vert \mathbf{N}/2}

  3. so that a sigma-model field configuration for a super p-brane of shape Σ\Sigma to propagate in XX is a morphism of supermanifolds of the form

    Σ super-worldvolume ϕ sigma-model super-field X super-spacetime \array{ \Sigma && \text{super-worldvolume} \\ \downarrow^{\mathrlap{\phi}} &&\text{sigma-model super-field}& \\ X && \text{super-spacetime} }

then:

  1. the postcomposition action of spacetime super-isometries XXX \stackrel{\simeq}{\longrightarrow} X is in even degree the action of spacetime isometries and in odd degree the action of spacetime supersymmetry on the sigma-model fields;

  2. the precomposition action of worldvolume super-diffeomorphism ΣΣ\Sigma \stackrel{\simeq}{\to} \Sigma is in even degree the action of bosonic worldvolume diffeomorphism and in odd degree the action of κ\kappa-symmetry:

Σ κ-symmetry Σ ϕ ϕ X spacetime supersymmetry X. \array{ \Sigma &\underoverset{\simeq}{\kappa\text{-symmetry}}{\longrightarrow}& \Sigma \\ \downarrow^{\mathrlap{\phi}} && \downarrow^{\mathrlap{\phi'}} \\ X &\underoverset{\simeq}{\text{spacetime supersymmetry}}{\longrightarrow}& X } \,.

Notice here the assumption that the number of odd directions on the worldvolume is half that of the target spacetime. This is the default assumption for fundamental super p-branes, and it directly reflects the statement that the corresponding black brane solutions are 1/21/2 supergravity BPS states.

For example, consider the embedding

2,1 10,1 \mathbb{R}^{2,1} \hookrightarrow \mathbb{R}^{10,1}

of 2+1d Minkowski spacetime, thought of as the worldvolume of a membrane, into 11d Minkowski spacetime, linearly along the coordinate axis. Any such embedding breaks the isometry group of 10,1\mathbb{R}^{10,1} from the 11d Poincaré group Iso(10,1)Iso(10,1) to the product group

Iso(2,1)×SO(8)Iso(10,1) Iso(2,1) \times SO(8) \hookrightarrow Iso(10,1)

(meaning that this subgroup is the stabilizer subgroup of the embedding).

Now consider instead super Minkowski spacetime 10,1|32\mathbb{R}^{10,1\vert \mathbf{32}} (with 32\mathbf{32} the irreducible Majorana spinor representation in 11), hence the local model superspace for super spacetimes in 11-dimensional supergravity. We are to ask what subspace of the spin representation 32\mathbf{32} preserves the embedding in that the spinor bilinear pairing ψ¯ 1Γψ 2\overline{\psi}_1 \Gamma \psi_2 on that subspace lands in 2,1Iso(2,1)Iso(10,1)\mathbb{R}^{2,1} \hookrightarrow Iso(2,1) \hookrightarrow Iso(10,1) (Sorokin 99, section 5.1). This is found to be the case for a half-dimensional subspace, and hence we may lift the above to a super-embedding of the form

(1) 2,1|82 10,1|32 \mathbb{R}^{2,1\vert 8 \otimes \mathbf{2}} \hookrightarrow \mathbb{R}^{10,1\vert \mathbf{32}}

(where now 2\mathbf{2} is the irreducible Majorana spinor representation in 3d, and 828 \otimes \mathbf{2} denotes the direct sum of 8 copies of it) such that the induced stabilizer supergroup inside the super Poincaré group now is

Iso( 2,1|82)×Spin(8)Iso( 10,1|32). Iso(\mathbb{R}^{2,1\vert 8 \otimes \mathbf{2}}) \times Spin(8) \hookrightarrow Iso(\mathbb{R}^{10,1\vert \mathbf{32}}) \,.

It is in this sense that the membrane “breaks exactly half the supersymmetry”, namely from 32\mathbf{32} to 828 \otimes \mathbf{2}.

If one now thinks of this not as inclusions of global spacetimes, but of their super tangent spaces at the points where the membrane sits in spacetime, then this reflects the local structure of κ\kappa-symmetry: the κ\kappa-symmetries are locally generated by the 16 odd dimensions in Iso( 2,1|82)Iso(\mathbb{R}^{2,1\vert 8 \otimes \mathbf{2}} ), being super-translations along the membrane worldvolume.

This explains why κ\kappa-symmetry in Green-Schwarz sigma models is taken to quotient out precisely half the spinor components, hence why, in the fully super-covariant formulation, one takes the worldvolume of a super pp-brane in a superspacetime locally modeled on d1,1|N\mathbb{R}^{d-1,1\vert \mathbf{N}} to be p,1|N/2\mathbb{R}^{p,1\vert \mathbf{N}/2}. But notice that this is not a mathematical necessity. One may consider the worldvolume instead to have fewer odd directions. This then describes sigma models for “non-BPS super pp-branes” (or rather “non-half-BPS” ).

Brane Lagrangians by relative trivialization

The super-embedding formalism has mostly been used for deriving equations of motion of super p-brane sigma-models.

But at least for some brane species, also their Lagrangian densities emerge naturally from the super-embedding, namely as relative trivializations of the brane cocycles as given by the brane scah/brane bouquet, relative to the superembedding:

BraneSuperEmbeddings.jpg

graphics grabbed from HSS 18

For strings and membranes

For the superstring and the super-membrane the construction of their Green-Schwarz sigma-model Lagrangian densities as relative trivialization of their super-cocycles along their super-embeddings is estalished in Howe-Sezgin 05 (4.72), HSS 18, Prop. 6.10:

graphics grabbed from FSS 19c

For the M5-brane

In FSS 19c is offered a proof that combining super-embedding formalism with exceptional generalized geometry, the Perry-Schwarz-type Lagrangian for the M5-brane emerges as the relative trivialization of the super-cocycle of the M5-brane relative to its super-exceptional embedding.

manifest supersymmetry for brane sigma-models:

manifest worldvolume supersymmetrymanifest target+worldvolume supersymmetrymanifest target space supersymmetry
NSR action functionalsuperembedding approachGreen-Schwarz action functional

graphics grabbed from FSS19c

References

General

Under the name “doubly supersymmetric geometrical approach” the formalism originates in

Review is in

where also the term “superembedding approach” is introduced.

Derivation of 1/2 BPS superembedding via rational ADE-equivariant cohomotopy:

κ\kappa-Symmetry

The super-geometric interpretation of kappa-symmetry as the odd-graded part of the action of super-diffeomorphism on the super p-brane worldvolume, regarded itself as a supermanifold was first suggested in

Review of this perspective includes

For the superstring

The equations of motion for the superstring have been derived via the superembedding approach in

See also

For the M2-brane

The equations of motion for the M2-brane have been derived via the superembedding approach in

and the Lagrangian density in

For the M5-brane

The equations of motion for the M5-brane have been derived via the superembedding approach in

following the superspace-computations in

reviewed in

Discussion for 3+3-dimensional split:

Claim that combining the super-embedding formalism with super-exceptional generalized geometry, the Perry-Schwarz-type Lagrangian for the M5-brane emerges as the relative trivialization of the super-cocycle of the M5-brane relative to its super-exceptional embedding:

Last revised on December 2, 2019 at 08:20:32. See the history of this page for a list of all contributions to it.