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Quantum chaos in 2D gravity

Alexander Altland, Boris Post, Julian Sonner, Jeremy van der Heijden, Erik Verlinde

SciPost Phys. 15, 064 (2023) · published 16 August 2023


We present a quantitative and fully non-perturbative description of the ergodic phase of quantum chaos in the setting of two-dimensional gravity. To this end we describe the doubly non-perturbative completion of semiclassical 2D gravity in terms of its associated universe field theory. The guiding principle of our analysis is a flavor-matrix theory (fMT) description of the ergodic phase of holographic gravity, which exhibits $\mathrm{U}(n|n)$ causal symmetry breaking and restoration. JT gravity and its 2D-gravity cousins alone do not realize an action principle with causal symmetry, however we demonstrate that their universe field theory, the Kodaira-Spencer (KS) theory of gravity, does. After directly deriving the fMT from brane-antibrane correlators in KS theory, we show that causal symmetry breaking and restoration can be understood geometrically in terms of different (topological) D-brane vacua. We interpret our results in terms of an open-closed string duality between holomorphic Chern-Simons theory and its closed-string equivalent, the KS theory of gravity. Emphasis will be put on relating these geometric principles to the characteristic spectral correlations of the quantum ergodic phase.

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