We propose a framework where the string scale as well as all compact dimensions are at the electroweak scale ∼ TeV-1. The weakness of gravity is attributed to the small value of the string coupling gs ∼ 10-16, presumably a remnant of the dilaton's runaway behavior, suggesting the possibility of a common solution to the hierarchy and dilaton-runaway problems. In spite of the small gs, in type-II string theories with gauge interactions localized in the vicinity of NS5-branes, the standard model gauge couplings are of order one and are associated with the sizes of compact dimensions. At a TeV these theories exhibit higher dimensional and stringy behavior. The models are holographically dual to a higher dimensional non-critical string theory and this can be used to compute the experimentally accessible spectrum and self-couplings of the little strings. In spite of the stringy behavior, gravity remains weak and can be ignored at collider energies. The Damour-Polyakov mechanism is an automatic consequence of our scenario and suggests the presence of a massless conformally-coupled scalar, leading to potentially observable deviations from Einstein's theory, including violations of the equivalence principle.
- Beyond standard model
- Compactification and string models
- Superstring vacua