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Combing gravitational hair in 2 + 1 dimensions


The gravitational Gauss law requires any addition of energy to be accompanied by the addition of gravitational flux. The possible configurations of this flux for a given source may be called gravitational hair, and several recent works discuss gravitational observables ('gravitational Wilson lines') which create this hair in highly collimated 'combed' configurations. We construct and analyze time-symmetric classical solutions of 2 + 1 Einstein-Hilbert gravity such as might be created by smeared versions of such operators. We focus on the AdS 3 case, where this hair is characterized by the profile of the boundary stress tensor; the desired solutions are those where the boundary stress tensor at initial time t = 0 agrees precisely with its vacuum value outside an angular interval . At linear order in source strength the energy is independent of the combing parameter, but nonlinearities cause the full energy to diverge as . In general, solutions with combed gravitational flux also suffer from what we call displacement from their naive location. For weak sources and large one may set the displacement to zero by further increasing the energy, though for strong sources and small we find no preferred notion of a zero-displacement solution. In the latter case we conclude that naively expected gravitational Wilson lines do not exist. In the zero-displacement case, taking the AdS scale ℓ to infinity gives finite-energy flux-directed solutions that may be called asymptotically flat.

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