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Maximal supergravity, holography and the Romans mass

At large N, an important sector of the ABJM field theory defined on a stack of N M2-branes can be described holographically by the D=4 N=8 SO(8)-gauged supergravity of de Wit and Nicolai. Since its inception, the latter has been tacitly assumed to be unique. Recently, however, a one-parameter family of SO(8) gaugings of N=8 supergravity has been discovered, the de Wit-Nicolai theory being just a member in this class. I will explain how this overlooked family of SO(8)-gauged supergravities is deeply related to electric/magnetic duality breaking in four dimensions. I will then discuss some predictions that can be made about the family of dual large-N field theories that these supergravities define, focusing on the structure of superconformal phases and the RG flows between them. I will finally argue that when the gauging is chosen to be related, but different, to the SO(8) one, the D=4 N=8 family arises as consistent truncation of massive IIA on the six-sphere, with the Romans mass identified as the electric/magnetic duality-breaking parameter.

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Friday, September 12, 2014 - 13:30 to 15:00
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