Abstract: Two-dimensional conformal field theories exhibit a universal free energy in the high temperature limit T → ∞, and a universal spectrum in the Cardy regime, Δ → ∞. We show that a much stronger form of universality holds in theories with a large central charge c and a sparse light spectrum. In these theories, the free energy is universal at all values of the temperature, and the microscopic spectrum matches the Cardy entropy for all Δ ≥c6. The same is true of three-dimensional quantum gravity; therefore our results provide simple necessary and sufficient criteria for 2d CFTs to behave holographically in terms of the leading spectrum and thermodynamics. We also discuss several applications to CFT and gravity, including operator dimension bounds derived from the modular bootstrap, universality in symmetric orbifolds, and the role of non-universal ‘enigma’ saddlepoints in the thermodynamics of 3d gravity.
- AdS-CFT Correspondence
- Field Theories in Lower Dimensions
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Nuclear and High Energy Physics