Central charges of N = 2 superconformal field theories in four dimensions

Alfred D. Shapere, Yuji Tachikawa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

139 Scopus citations


We present a general method for computing the central charges a and c of N = 2 superconformal field theories corresponding to singular points in the moduli space of N = 2 gauge theories. Our method relates a and c to the U(1) R anomalies of the topologically twisted gauge theory. We evaluate these anomalies by studying the holomorphic dependence of the path integral measure on the moduli. We calculate a and c for superconformal points in a variety of gauge theories, including N = 4 SU(N), N = 2 pure SU(N) Yang-Mills, and USp(2N) with 1 massless antisymmetric and 4 massive fundamental hypermultiplets. In the latter case, we reproduce the conformal and flavor central charges previously calculated using the gravity duals of these gauge theories. For any SCFT in the class under consideration, we derive a previously conjectured expression for 2a-c in terms of the sum of the dimensions of operators parameterizing the Coulomb branch. Finally, we prove that the ratio a/c is bounded above by 5/4 and below by 1/2.

Original languageEnglish
Article number109
JournalJournal of High Energy Physics
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 1 2008


  • Extended supersymmetry
  • Supersymmetric gauge theory
  • Supersymmetry and duality
  • Topological field theories

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nuclear and High Energy Physics


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