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The spectral form factor in the 't Hooft limit – Intermediacy versus universality

Ward L. Vleeshouwers, Vladimir Gritsev

SciPost Phys. Core 5, 051 (2022) · published 1 December 2022


The Spectral Form Factor (SFF) is a convenient tool for the characterization of eigenvalue statistics of systems with discrete spectra, and thus serves as a proxy for quantum chaoticity. This work presents an analytical calculation of the SFF of the Chern-Simons Matrix Model (CSMM), which was first introduced to describe the intermediate level statistics of disordered electrons at the mobility edge. The CSMM is characterized by a parameter $ 0 \leq q\leq 1$, where the Circular Unitary Ensemble (CUE) is recovered for $q\to 0$. The CSMM was later found as a matrix model description of $U(N)$ Chern-Simons theory on $S^3$, which is dual to a topological string theory characterized by string coupling $g_s=-\log q$. The spectral form factor is proportional to a colored HOMFLY invariant of a $(2n,2)$-torus link with its two components carrying the fundamental and antifundamental representations, respectively. We check that taking $N \to \infty$ whilst keeping $q<1$ reduces the connected SFF to an exact linear ramp of unit slope, confirming the main result from arXiv:2012.11703 for the specific case of the CSMM. We then consider the `t Hooft limit, where $N \to \infty$ and $q \to 1^-$ such that $y = q^N $ remains finite. As we take $q\to 1^-$, this constitutes the opposite extreme of the CUE limit. In the `t Hooft limit, the connected SFF turns into a remarkable sequence of polynomials which, as far as the authors are aware, have not appeared in the literature thus far. A gap opens in the spectrum and, after unfolding by a constant rescaling, the connected SFF approximates a linear ramp of unit slope for all $y$ except $y \approx 1$, where the connected SFF goes to zero. We thus find that, although the CSMM was introduced to describe intermediate statistics and the `t Hooft limit is the opposite limit of the CUE, we still recover Wigner-Dyson universality for all $y$ except $y\approx 1$.

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