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Conformal dispersion relations for defects and boundaries

Lorenzo Bianchi, Davide Bonomi

SciPost Phys. 15, 055 (2023) · published 8 August 2023


We derive a dispersion relation for two-point correlation functions in defect conformal field theories. The correlator is expressed as an integral over a (single) discontinuity that is controlled by the bulk channel operator product expansion (OPE). This very simple relation is particularly useful in perturbative settings where the discontinuity is determined by a subset of bulk operators. In particular, we apply it to holographic correlators of two chiral primary operators in $\mathcal{N}=4$ Super Yang-Mills theory in the presence of a supersymmetric Wilson line. With a very simple computation, we are able to reproduce and extend existing results. We also propose a second relation, which reconstructs the correlator from a double discontinuity, and is controlled by the defect channel OPE. Finally, for the case of codimension-one defects (boundaries and interfaces) we derive a dispersion relation which receives contributions from both OPE channels and we apply it to the boundary correlator in the O(N) critical model. We reproduce the order $\epsilon^2$ result in the $\epsilon$-expansion using as input a finite number of boundary CFT data.

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