Indexed on: 16 Jul '99Published on: 16 Jul '99Published in: High Energy Physics - Theory
The maximal center gauge, combined with center projection, is a means to associate Yang-Mills lattice gauge configurations with closed center vortex world-surfaces. This technique allows to study center vortex physics in lattice gauge experiments. In the present work, the continuum analogue of the maximal center gauge is constructed. This sheds new light on the meaning of the procedure on the lattice and leads to a sketch of an effective vortex theory in the continuum. Furthermore, the manner in which center vortex configurations generate the Pontryagin index is investigated. The Pontryagin index is built up from self-intersections of the vortex world-surfaces, where it is crucial that the surfaces be globally non-oriented.