A rough end for smooth microstate geometries
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A rough end for smooth microstate geometries


Supersymmetric microstate geometries with five non-compact dimensions have recently been shown by Eperon, Reall, and Santos (ERS) to exhibit a non-linear instability featuring the growth of excitations at an "evanescent ergosurface" of infinite redshift. We argue that this growth may be treated as adiabatic evolution along a family of exactly supersymmetric solutions in the limit where the excitations are Aichelburg-Sexl-like shockwaves. In the 2-charge system such solutions may be constructed explicitly, incorporating full backreaction, and are in fact special cases of known microstate geometries. In a near-horizon limit, they reduce to Aichelburg-Sexl shockwaves in $AdS_3 \times S^3$ propagating along one of the angular directions of the sphere. Noting that the ERS analysis is valid in the limit of large microstate angular momentum $j$, we use the above identification to interpret their instability as a transition from rare smooth microstates with large angular momentum to more typical microstates with smaller angular momentum. This entropic driving terminates when the angular momentum decreases to $j \sim \sqrt{n_1n_5}$ where the density of microstates is maximal. We argue that, at this point, the large stringy corrections to such microstates will render them non-linearly stable. We identify a possible mechanism for this stabilization and detail an illustrative toy model.

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