Journal article

Scale anomalies, states, and rates in conformal field theory

This paper presents two methods to compute scale anomaly coefficients in conformal field theories (CFTs), such as the c anomaly in four dimensions, in terms of the CFT data. We first use Euclidean position space to show that the anomaly coefficient of a four-point function can be computed in the form of an operator product expansion ( OPE), namely a weighted sum of OPE coefficients squared. We compute the weights for scale anomalies associated with scalar operators and show that they are not positive. We then derive a different sum rule of the same form in Minkowski momentum space where the weights are positive. The positivity arises because the scale anomaly is the coefficient of a logarithm in the momentum space four-point function. This logarithm also determines the dispersive part, which is a positive sum over states by the optical theorem. The momentum space sum rule may be invalidated by UV and/or IR divergences, and we discuss the conditions under which these singularities are absent. We present a detailed discussion of the formalism required to compute the weights directly in Minkowski momentum space. A number of explicit checks are performed, including a complete example in an 8-dimensional free field theory.


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