, Volume 197, Issue 3, pp 489-519

On the Algebras of BPS States

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We define an algebra on the space of BPS states in theories with extended supersymmetry. We show that the algebra of perturbative BPS states in toroidal compactification of the heterotic string is closely related to a generalized Kac–Moody algebra. We use D-brane theory to compare the formulation of RR-charged BPS algebras in type II compactification with the requirements of string/string duality and find that the RR charged BPS states should be regarded as cohomology classes on moduli spaces of coherent sheaves. The equivalence of the algebra of BPS states in heterotic/IIA dual pairs elucidates certain results and conjectures of Nakajima and Gritsenko & Nikulin, on geometrically defined algebras and furthermore suggests nontrivial generalizations of these algebras. In particular, to any Calabi–Yau 3-fold there are two canonically associated algebras exchanged by mirror symmetry.

Received: 29 August 1997 / Accepted: 5 November 1997