Mathematical Physics and String Theory

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(02.05.) Thraxions

Jakob Moritz (Desy)

02.05.2019 at 16:15

We argue that in flux compactifications of type IIB string theory a new type of axion is generically present. The existence of this type of ultra-light axion is intimately linked with conifold transitions between (topologically) distinct Calabi-Yau (CY) manifolds. Light axions arise when fluxes drive a CY close to the transition locus in moduli space. One can think of such an axion as the integral of the Ramond-Ramond two-form over a family of spheres that collapse smoothly at the end points of strongly warped throats. Its mass scales as the third power of the infrared warp factor. Ten-dimensional backreaction of the local throats returns the scalar potential to a periodic form, while allowing for finite axion monodromy. We briefly discuss a clash with the weak gravity conjecture for axions. Moreover we argue for the possibility of parametrically large axion decay constants, although the generic presence of 'short-wavelength' modulations in the scalar potential makes it difficult to build models of natural inflation on the basis of this idea.

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