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- 8d gauge anomalies and the topological Green-Schwarz mechanism

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18050016

String theory provides us with 8d supersymmetric gauge theories with gauge algebras su(N), so(2N), sp(N), e_6, e_7 and e_8, but no construction for so(2N+1), f_4 and g_2 is known. If string theory is universal in 8 dimensions, this pattern requires explanation. I will show that the theories for f_4 and so(2N+1) have a global gauge anomaly in flat space, while g_2 does not have it. Surprisingly, we also find that the sp(N) theories, arising from example from O7^+ planes in string theory, have a subtler gauge anomaly. This subtler anomaly, in contrast to the one in flat space, could in principle be canceled by a topological analogue of the Green-Schwarz mechanism. I will discuss one simple example of such a generalized anomaly cancellation mechanism in three dimensions, and then explain why the generalized Green-Schwarz term required in 8 dimensions to make the O7^+ consistent is necessarily a more subtle generalization of a Chern-Simons coupling

©2012 Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics