Duality and cohomology in M-theory with boundary

Research paper by Hisham Sati

Indexed on: 01 Apr '12Published on: 01 Apr '12Published in: High Energy Physics - Theory


We consider geometric and analytical aspects of M-theory on a manifold with boundary Y. The partition function of the C-field requires summing over harmonic forms. When Y is closed Hodge theory gives a unique harmonic form in each de Rham cohomology class, while in the presence of a boundary the Hodge-Morrey-Friedrichs decomposition should be used. This leads us to study the boundary conditions for the C-field. The dynamics and the presence of the dual to the C-field gives rise to a mixing of boundary conditions with one being Dirichlet and the other being Neumann. We describe the mixing between the corresponding absolute and relative cohomology classes via Poincar\'e duality angles, which we also illustrate for the M5-brane as a tubular neighborhood. Several global aspects are then considered. We provide a systematic study of the extension of the E8 bundle and characterize obstructions. Considering Y as a fiber bundle, we describe how the phase looks like on the base, hence providing dimensional reduction in the boundary case via the adiabatic limit of the eta invariant. The general use of the index theorem leads to a new effect given by a gravitational Chern-Simons term CS on Y whose restriction to the boundary would be a generalized WZW model. This suggests that holographic models of M-theory can be viewed as a sector within this index-theoretic approach.