Ambitwistor strings and the scattering equations

  • Lionel Mason
  • David SkinnerEmail author
Open Access


We show that string theories admit chiral infinite tension analogues in which only the massless parts of the spectrum survive. Geometrically they describe holomorphic maps to spaces of complex null geodesics, known as ambitwistor spaces. They have the standard critical space-time dimensions of string theory (26 in the bosonic case and 10 for the superstring). Quantization leads to the formulae for tree-level scattering amplitudes of massless particles found recently by Cachazo, He and Yuan. These representations localize the vertex operators to solutions of the same equations found by Gross and Mende to govern the behaviour of strings in the limit of high energy, fixed angle scattering. Here, localization to the scattering equations emerges naturally as a consequence of working on ambitwistor space. The worldsheet theory suggests a way to extend these amplitudes to spinor fields and to loop level. We argue that this family of string theories is a natural extension of the existing twistor string theories.


Superstrings and Heterotic Strings Scattering Amplitudes Supergravity Models 


Open Access

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The Mathematical InstituteOxfordU.K.
  2. 2.Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical PhysicsCambridgeU.K.

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