UBC Faculty Research and Publications

Holographic BCFT spectra from brane mergers Biswas, Shovon; Kastikainen, Jani; Shashi, Sanjit; Sully, James


We use holography to study the spectra of boundary conformal field theories (BCFTs). To do so, we consider a 2-dimensional Euclidean BCFT with two circular boundaries that correspond to dynamical end-of-the-world branes in 3-dimensional gravity. Interactions between these branes inform the operator content and the energy spectrum of the dual BCFT. As a proof of concept, we first consider two highly separated branes whose only interaction is taken to be mediated by a scalar field. The holographic computation of the scalar-mediated exchange reproduces a light scalar primary and its global descendants in the closed-string channel of the dual BCFT. We then consider a gravity model with point particles. Here, the interaction of two separated branes corresponds to a heavy operator which lies below the black hole threshold. However, we may also consider branes at finite separation that “merge” non-smoothly. Such brane mergers can be used to describe unitary sub-threshold boundary-condition-changing operators in the open-string spectrum of the BCFT. We also find a new class of sub-threshold Euclidean bra-ket wormhole saddles with a factorization puzzle for closed-string amplitudes.

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