International Journal of Theoretical Physics

, Volume 38, Issue 4, pp 1113–1133

The Large-N Limit of Superconformal Field Theories and Supergravity

  • Juan Maldacena

DOI: 10.1023/A:1026654312961

Cite this article as:
Maldacena, J. International Journal of Theoretical Physics (1999) 38: 1113. doi:10.1023/A:1026654312961


We show that the large-N limits of certainconformal field theories in various dimensions includein their Hilbert space a sector describing supergravityon the product of anti-de Sitter spacetimes, spheres, and other compact manifolds. This is shown bytaking some branes in the full M/string theory and thentaking a low-energy limit where the field theory on thebrane decouples from the bulk. We observe that, in this limit, we can still trust thenear-horizon geometry for large N. The enhancedsupersymmetries of the near-horizon geometry correspondto the extra supersymmetry generators present in thesuperconformal group (as opposed to just the super-Poincaregroup). The 't Hooft limit of 3 + 1 N = 4 super-Yang–Mills at the conformal pointis shown to contain strings: they are IIB strings. Weconjecture that compactifications of M/string theory on various anti-de Sitterspacetimes is dual to various conformal field theories.This leads to a new proposal for a definition ofM-theory which could be extended to include fivenoncompact dimensions.


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • Juan Maldacena

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