Wilson surface observables from equivariant cohomology
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Wilson lines in gauge theories admit several path integral descriptions. The first one (due to Alekseev-Faddeev-Shatashvili) uses path integrals over coadjoint orbits. The second one (due to Diakonov-Petrov) replaces a 1-dimensional path integral with a 2-dimensional topological σ-model. We show that this σ-model is defined by the equivariant extension of the Kirillov symplectic form on the coadjoint orbit. This allows to define the corresponding observable on arbitrary 2-dimensional surfaces, including closed surfaces. We give a new path integral presentation of Wilson lines in terms of Poisson σ-models, and we test this presentation in the framework of the 2-dimensional Yang-Mills theory. On a closed surface, our Wilson surface observable turns out to be nontrivial for G non-simply connected (and trivial for G simply connected), in particular we study in detail the cases G=U(1) and G=SO(3).
KeywordsWilson ’t Hooft and Polyakov loops Differential and Algebraic Geometry Sigma Models Gauge Symmetry
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