Modular covariance and uniqueness of JT¯ deformed CFTs

Ofer Aharony, Shouvik Datta, Amit Giveon, Yunfeng Jiang*, David Kutasov

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


We study families of two dimensional quantum field theories, labeled by a dimensionful parameter μ, that contain a holomorphic conserved U(1) current J(z). We assume that these theories can be consistently defined on a torus, so their partition sum, with a chemical potential for the charge that couples to J, is modular covariant. We further require that in these theories, the energy of a state at finite μ is a function only of μ, and of the energy, momentum and charge of the corresponding state at μ = 0, where the theory becomes conformal. We show that under these conditions, the torus partition sum of the theory at μ = 0 uniquely determines the partition sum (and thus the spectrum) of the perturbed theory, to all orders in μ, to be that of a μJT¯ deformed conformal field theory (CFT). We derive a flow equation for the JT¯ deformed partition sum, and use it to study non-perturbative effects. We find non-perturbative ambiguities for any non-zero value of μ, and comment on their possible relations to holography.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number85
JournalJournal of High Energy Physics
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019, The Author(s).


  • Conformal Field Theory
  • Effective Field Theories
  • Field Theories in Lower Dimensions


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