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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Holographic thermal field theory on curved spacetimes

  • Author(s): Marolf, D
  • Rangamani, M
  • Wiseman, T
  • et al.

The AdS/CFT correspondence relates certain strongly-coupled CFTs with large effective central charge ceff to semi-classical gravitational theories with AdS asymptotics. We describe recent progress in understanding gravity duals for CFTs on non-trivial spacetimes at finite temperature, both in and out of equilibrium. Such gravity methods provide powerful new tools to access the physics of these strongly-coupled theories, which often differs qualitatively from that found at weak coupling. Our discussion begins with basic aspects of AdS/CFT and progresses through thermal CFTs on the Einstein Static Universe and on periodically identified Minkowski spacetime. In the latter context we focus on states describing so-called plasma-balls, which become stable at large ceff. We then proceed to out-of-equilibrium situations associated with dynamical bulk black holes. In particular, the non-compact nature of these bulk black holes allows stationary solutions with non-Killing horizons that describe time-independent flows of CFT plasma. As final a topic we consider CFTs on black hole spacetimes. This discussion provides insight into how the CFT transports heat between general heat sources and sinks of finite size. In certain phases the coupling to small sources can be strongly suppressed, resulting in negligible heat transport despite the presence of a deconfined plasma with sizeable thermal conductivity. We also present a new result, explaining how this so-called droplet behaviour is related to confinement via a change of conformal frame. © 2014 IOP Publishing Ltd.

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