Conformal field theory
The present chapter is an introductory account of the basic concepts and important consequences of conformal symmetry, i.e. the invariance under local scale transformations, in field theories characterizing critical behaviour. The goal is to catalogue universality classes as a list of possible values of critical exponents and to find restrictions on the functional forms of correlation functions, which satisfy conformal Ward identities. From a mathematics standpoint, conformal symmetry applies to continuum theories, and therefore its obvious application to critical phenomena is formulated in the language of field theory. The energy-momentum tensor plays a fundamental role in defining the conformal generators that satisfy the Virasoro algebra, and any conformal field theory is characterized by the central charge a number that is important to classify critical field theories. One of the most remarkable applications of conformal field theory is found in the analysis of finite-size effects.
Oxford Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.
If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.