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Entropy Variations and Light Ray Operators from Replica Defects

We study the defect operator product expansion (OPE) of displacement operators in free and interacting conformal field theories using replica methods. We show that as n approaches 1 a contact term can emerge when the OPE contains defect operators of twist d−2. For interacting theories and general states we give evidence that the only possibility is from the defect operator that becomes the stress tensor in the n→1 limit. This implies that the quantum null energy condition (QNEC) is always saturated for CFTs with a twist gap. As a check, we show independently that in a large class of near vacuum states, the second variation of the entanglement entropy is given by a simple correlation function of averaged null energy operators as studied by Hofman and Maldacena. This suggests that sub-leading terms in the the defect OPE are controlled by a defect version of the spin-3 non-local light ray operator and we speculate about the possible origin of such a defect operator. For free theories this contribution condenses to a contact term that leads to violations of QNEC saturation.

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Collection/Series: 
Event Type: 
Seminar
Scientific Area(s): 
Event Date: 
Tuesday, February 18, 2020 - 14:30 to 16:00
Location: 
Space Room
Room #: 
400