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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Tachyons, boundary interactions, and the genus expansion in string theory Laidlaw, Mark Colin Andrew

Abstract

This thesis examines the interaction of both bosonic- and superstrings with various backgrounds with a view to understanding the interplay between tachyon condensation and world-sheet conformal invariance, and to understanding the d-branes that overlap with closed string modes. We briefly review the development of both background independent string field theory and cubic string field theory, as these provide insight into the problem of tachyon condensation. We then develop the boundary state and show that in backgrounds of interest to tachyon condensation the conformal invariance of the string world-sheet is broken, which suggests a generalized boundary state obtained by integrating over the conformal group of the disk. We find that this prescription reproduces particle emission amplitudes calculated from the string sigma model for both on- and off-shell boundary interactions. The boundary state appears as a coherent superposition of closed string states, and using this a method for calculating amplitudes beyond tree level is developed. The interaction of closed strings with other backgrounds is also discussed. An extension of the boundary state to encode fields other than a gauge or tachyon field is described. A modification of the boundary state which encodes the time dependence of tachyon condensation is reviewed, and an examination of spherically symmetric tachyon condensation in the 1/D expansion is presented.

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