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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Unified Einstein-Virasoro Master Equation in the General Non-Linear Sigma Model


The Virasoro master equation (VME) describes the general affine-Virasoro construction $T=L^abJ_aJ_b+iD^a \dif J_a$ in the operator algebra of the WZW model, where $L^ab$ is the inverse inertia tensor and $D^a $ is the improvement vector. In this paper, we generalize this construction to find the general (one-loop) Virasoro construction in the operator algebra of the general non-linear sigma model. The result is a unified Einstein-Virasoro master equation which couples the spacetime spin-two field $L^ab$ to the background fields of the sigma model. For a particular solution $L_G^ab$, the unified system reduces to the canonical stress tensors and conventional Einstein equations of the sigma model, and the system reduces to the general affine-Virasoro construction and the VME when the sigma model is taken to be the WZW action. More generally, the unified system describes a space of conformal field theories which is presumably much larger than the sum of the general affine-Virasoro construction and the sigma model with its canonical stress tensors. We also discuss a number of algebraic and geometrical properties of the system, including its relation to an unsolved problem in the theory of $G$-structures on manifolds with torsion.

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