Friday, November 11, 2011

M-theory 11/11/11

With so many 11's around today, it seems fitting to mention some M-theory related material. A few days ago, Hisham Sati updated his On the geometry of the supermultiplet in M-theory paper which argues that the massless supermultiplet of D=11 supergravity can be generated from the decomposition of reps of the exceptional Lie group F4 and its maximal compact subgroup Spin(9). The dynamical origin of this is proposed to result from Cayley plane bundles over eleven-dimensional spacetime.

The Cayley plane, OP^2, is a projective plane over the octonions and its isometries form the group F4. Lines in OP^2 are 8-spheres and given any two points in OP^2 there is a unique 8-sphere passing through them. Given any three distinct points, if we apply an F4 transformation that fixes one of the points, we get a Spin(9) transformation.

In matrix parlance, F4 is the automorphism group of the algebra of 3x3 Hermitian matrices over the octonions, the exceptional Jordan algebra J(3,O). We can construct OP^2 using the rank one projectors of J(3,O). It can actually be defined as the space of all such rank one projectors. Normalizing the rank one projectors turns them into primitive idempotents, that is, matrices P that satisfy P^2=P which cannot be decomposed as an orthogonal sum of other idempotents. As the identity matrix of J(3,O) is just a 3x3 matrix with ones on the diagonal, its straightforward to see that it decomposes into an orthogonal sum of three primitive idempotents. This is called the capacity and is why J(3,O) is an algebra of degree three.

Going back to the geometry of OP^2, the three distinct points mentioned earlier can be interpreted as three orthogonal primitive idempotents of J(3,O) with orthogonality being a result of these matrices satisfying P1.P2=0 under regular matrix multiplication. To simplify the picture, let's just imagine applying an F4 transformation on the identity matrix where we want to keep one of the diagonal ones fixed. This can be done with a Spin(9) transformation. Since we can fix any of the three diagonal ones of the identity matrix, there are three copies of Spin(9) inside F4 we can use. This freedom of choice we have is what some people refer to as triality.

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Creation of Matter and E7

Recently, Ferrara and Kallosh posted a paper on arxiv entitled Creation of Matter in the Universe and Groups of Type E7. The abstract is as follows:

We relate the mechanism of matter creation in the universe after inflation to a simple and universal mathematical property of extended N > 1 supergravities and related compactifications of superstring theory. We show that in all such models, the inflaton field may decay into vector fields due to a nonminimal scalar-vector coupling. This coupling is compulsory for all scalars except N=2 hyperscalars. The proof is based on the fact that all extended supergravities described by symmetric coset spaces G/H have duality groups G of type E7, with exception of U(p,n) models. For N=2 we prove separately that special geometry requires a non-minimal scalar-vector coupling. Upon truncation to N=1 supergravity, extended models generically preserve the non-minimal scalar-vector coupling, with exception of U(p,n) models and hyperscalars. For some string theory/supergravity inflationary models, this coupling provides the only way to complete the process of creation of matter in the early universe.

As mentioned in the article, one can consider d=4, N=8 supergravity arising from M-theory on T^7, with duality group G=E7(7) acting on a 56-dimensional Freudenthal triple system (FTS) over the split-octonions. Another type arises from the N=2 magic supergravity based on the FTS over the octonions, with duality group G=E7(-25). At an algebraic level, E7(7) and E7(-25) are unified in the complexified duality group G=E7(C) acting on the FTS over the bioctonions. There is, however, no corresponding E7(C) supergravity theory at this time.