Friday, July 19, 2013

1307.4793 (Sergei Gukov et al.)

Topological Quantum Field Theory, Nonlocal Operators, and Gapped Phases
of Gauge Theories

Sergei Gukov, Anton Kapustin
We revisit the role of loop and surface operators as order parameters for gapped phases of four-dimensional gauge theories. We show that in some cases surface operators are confined, and that this fact can be used to distinguish phases which are not distinguished by the Wilson-'t Hooft criterion. The long-distance behavior of loop and surface operators which are neither confined nor screened is controlled by a 4d TQFT. We construct these TQFTs for phases which are characterized by the presence of electrically and/or magnetically charged condensates. Interestingly, the TQFT describing a phase with a nonabelian monopole condensate is based on the theory of nonabelian gerbes. We also show that in phases with a dyonic condensate the low-energy theta-angle is quantized.
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