Generalized Atkin-Lehner symmetry

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34 Scopus citations


Atkin-Lehner symmetry was proposed several years ago as a mechanism for obtaining a vanishing one-loop cosmological constant in nonsupersymmetric superstring models, but for models formulated in four-dimensional spacetime this symmetry cannot be realized. We therefore investigate various means of retaining the general Atkin-Lehner idea without having strict Atkin-Lehner symmetry. We first explicity construct non-Atkin-Lehner-symmetric partition functions which not only lead to vanishing cosmological constants but which also avoid a recent proof that Atkin-Lehner-symmetric partition functions cannot arise from physically viable string models in greater than two dimensions. We then develop a systematic generalization of Atkin-Lehner symmetry, basing our considerations on the use of non-Hermitian operators as well as on a general class of possible congruence subgroups of the full modular group. We find that whereas in many instances our resulting symmetries reduce to either strict Atkin-Lehner symmetry or symmetries closely related to it, in other cases we obtain symmetries of a fundamentally new character. Our results therefore suggest possible new avenues for retaining the general Atkin-Lehner "selection rule" approach for obtaining a vanishing one-loop cosmological constant.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2004-2021
Number of pages18
JournalPhysical Review D
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1990

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nuclear and High Energy Physics


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