A conjecture on the minimal size of bound states

Ben Freivogel, Thomas Gasenzer, Arthur Hebecker, Sascha Leonhardt

SciPost Phys. 8, 058 (2020) · published 16 April 2020


We conjecture that, in a renormalizable effective quantum field theory where the heaviest stable particle has mass $m$, there are no bound states with radius below $1/m$ (Bound State Conjecture). We are motivated by the (scalar) Weak Gravity Conjecture, which can be read as a statement forbidding certain bound states. As we discuss, versions for uncharged particles and their generalizations have shortcomings. This leads us to the suggestion that one should only constrain rather than exclude bound objects. In the gravitational case, the resulting conjecture takes the sharp form of forbidding the adiabatic construction of black holes smaller than $1/m$. But this minimal bound-state radius remains non-trivial as $M_\text{P}\to \infty$, leading us to suspect a feature of QFT rather than a quantum gravity constraint. We find support in a number of examples which we analyze at a parametric level.

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Bound states Gravity Quantum field theory (QFT)

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