Dense quark matter at strong coupling and gauge/string duality

Research in the Particle Theory group

(Prem Kumar)

Understanding the properties of dense quark matter at strong coupling presents one of the outstanding challenges in theoretical physics, with important implications for the phase structure of QCD, the theory of strong interactions. Gauge/string duality provides an avenue for progress in this direction, for gauge theories at large-N and with known string theory duals. Tractable models within a well-defined microscopic framework can provide important general insights into the behaviour of strongly interacting systems at finite density while shedding light on such questions as the presence/absence of Fermi surfaces at strong coupling.

Presently, the work at Swansea, being pursued in collaboration with the group in ICREA, Barcelona, is aimed at exploring new string/supergravity solutions both with and without supersymmetry, obtained by backreacting a finite density of string sources (dual to quark states in gauge theory). In a large class of examples these have now been shown to lead to non-trivial renormalization group flows leading to infrared scaling theories with anisotropic (Lifshitz-like) scaling symmetries. The goal of this work is to eventually extend these studies to more realistic framweworks and look for exotic phases akin to the famous color-superconducting phase in high density QCD.