String Theory, Strongly Correlated Systems, and Duality Twists
In the first part of this dissertation (Chapter 1), I present a construction of a six dimensional (2,0)-theory model that describes the dynamics of the Fractional Quantum Hall Effect (FQHE). The FQHE appears as part of the low energy description of the Coulomb branch of the A_1 (2,0)-theory formulated on a geometry (S^1 x R^2)/Z_k. At low-energy, the configuration is described in terms of a 4+1D supersymmetric Yang-Mills (SYM) theory on a cone (R^2/Z_k) with additional 2+1D degrees of freedom at the tip of the cone that include fractionally charged particles. These fractionally charged "quasi-particles" are BPS strings of the (2,0)-theory wrapped on short cycles. In this framework, a W-boson can be modeled as a bound state of k quasi-particles, which can be used to understand the dynamics of the FQHE.
In the second part of this dissertation (Chapters 2-3), I investigate the N=4 SYM theory compactified on a circle, with a varying coupling constant (Janus configuration) and an S-duality twist. I relate this setup to a three dimensional topological theory and to a dual string theory. The equality of these descriptions is exhibited by matching the operator algebra, and the dimensions of the Hilbert space. Additionally, this dissertation addresses a classic result in number theory, called quadratic reciprocity, using string theory language. I present a proof that quadratic reciprocity is a direct consequence of T-duality of Type-II string theory. This is demonstrated by analyzing a partition function of abelian N=4 SYM theory on a certain supersymmetry-preserving four-manifold with variable coupling constant and a SL(2,Z)-duality twist.