Wilson loops in 5d \( \mathcal{N}=1 \) theories and S-duality

  • Benjamin AsselEmail author
  • Antonio Sciarappa
Open Access
Regular Article - Theoretical Physics


We study the action of S-duality on half-BPS Wilson loop operators in 5d \( \mathcal{N}=1 \) theories. The duality is the statement that different massive deformations of a single 5d SCFT are described by different gauge theories, or equivalently that the SCFT points in parameter space of two gauge theories coincide. The pairs of dual theories that we study are realized by brane webs in type IIB string theory that are S-dual to each other. We focus on SU(2) SQCD theories with Nf ≤ 4 flavors, which are self-dual, and on SU(3) SQCD theories, which are dual to SU(2)2 quiver theories. From string theory engineering we predict that Wilson loops are mapped to dual Wilson loops under S-duality. We confirm the predictions with exact computations of Wilson loop VEVs, which we extract from the 5d half-index in the presence of auxiliary loop operators (also known as higher qq-characters) sourced by D3 branes placed in the brane webs. A special role is played by Wilson loops in tensor products of the (anti)fundamental representation, which provide a natural basis to express the S-duality action. The exact computations also reveal the presence of additional multiplicative factors in the duality map, in the form of background Wilson loops.


D-branes Field Theories in Higher Dimensions Supersymmetry and Duality Wilson, ‘t Hooft and Polyakov loops 


Open Access

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Theory DepartmentCERNGeneva 23Switzerland
  2. 2.School of PhysicsKorea Institute for Advanced StudySeoulRepublic of Korea

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