N=4 SYM, Argyres-Douglas Theories, and an Exact Graded Vector Space Isomorphism

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Matthew Buican, Takahiro Nishinaka

In this first of two papers, we explain in detail the simplest example of a broader set of relations between apparently very different theories. Our example relates su(2) N=4 super Yang-Mills (SYM) to a theory we call "(3,2)." This latter theory is an exactly marginal diagonal SU(2) gauging of three D3(SU(2)) Argyres-Douglas (AD) theories. We begin by observing that the Schur indices of these two theories are related by an algebraic transformation that is surprisingly reminiscent of index transformations describing spontaneous symmetry breaking on the Higgs branch. However, this transformation breaks half the supersymmetry of the SYM theory as well as its full N=2 SU(2)F flavor symmetry. Moreover, it does so in an interesting way when viewed through the lens of the corresponding 2D vertex operator algebras (VOAs): affine currents of the small N=4 super-Virasoro algebra at c=−9 get mapped to the A(6) stress tensor and some of its conformal descendants, while the extra supersymmetry currents on the N=4 side get mapped to higher-dimensional fermionic currents and their descendants on the A(6) side. We prove these relations are facets of an exact graded vector space isomorphism (GVSI) between these two VOAs. This GVSI respects the U(1)r charge of the parent 4D theories. We briefly sketch how more general su(N) N=4 SYM theories are related to an infinite class of AD theories via generalizations of our example. We conclude by showing that, in this class of theories, the A(6) VOA saturates a new inequality on the number of strong generators.


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