We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. By continuing to browse this repository, you give consent for essential cookies to be used. You can read more about our Privacy and Cookie Policy.

Durham Research Online
You are in:

Mean string field theory: Landau-Ginzburg theory for 1-form symmetries

Iqbal, Nabil and McGreevy, John (2022) 'Mean string field theory: Landau-Ginzburg theory for 1-form symmetries.', SciPost Physics, 13 (5). p. 114.


By analogy with the Landau-Ginzburg theory of ordinary zero-form symmetries, we introduce and develop a Landau-Ginzburg theory of one-form global symmetries, which we call mean string field theory. The basic dynamical variable is a string field – defined on the space of closed loops – that can be used to describe the creation, annihilation, and condensation of effective strings. Like its zero-form cousin, the mean string field theory provides a useful picture of the phase diagram of broken and unbroken phases. We provide a transparent derivation of the area law for charged line operators in the unbroken phase and describe the dynamics of gapless Goldstone modes in the broken phase. The framework also provides a theory of topological defects of the broken phase and a description of the phase transition that should be valid above an upper critical dimension, which we discuss. We also discuss general consequences of emergent one-form symmetries at zero and finite temperature.

Item Type:Article
Full text:(VoR) Version of Record
Available under License - Creative Commons Attribution 4.0.
Download PDF
Publisher Web site:
Publisher statement:Copyright N. Iqbal and J. McGreevy. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. Published by the SciPost Foundation.
Date accepted:28 September 2022
Date deposited:23 November 2022
Date of first online publication:22 November 2022
Date first made open access:23 November 2022

Save or Share this output

Look up in GoogleScholar