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Arithmetic and Hyperbolic Structures in String Theory

Doctoral thesis, 2009

This thesis consists of an introductory text followed by two separate parts which may be read independently of each other. In Part I we analyze certain hyperbolic structures arising when studying gravity in the vicinity of spacelike singularities (the BKL-limit). In this limit, spatial points decouple and the dynamics exhibits ultralocal behaviour which may be mapped to an auxiliary problem given in terms of a (possibly chaotic) hyperbolic billiard. In all supergravities arising as low-energy limits of string theory or M-theory, the billiard dynamics takes place within the fundamental Weyl chambers of certain hyperbolic Kac-Moody algebras, suggesting that these algebras generate hidden infinite-dimensional symmetries of gravity. We investigate the modification of the billiard dynamics when the original gravitational theory is formulated on a compact spatial manifold of arbitrary topology, revealing fascinating mathematical structures known as galleries. We further use the conjectured hyperbolic symmetry E10 to generate and classify certain cosmological (S-brane) solutions in eleven-dimensional supergravity. Finally, we show in detail that eleven-dimensional supergravity and massive type IIA supergravity are dynamically unified within the framework of a geodesic sigma model for a particle moving on the infinite-dimensional coset space E10/K(E10).
Part II of the thesis is devoted to a study of how (U-)dualities in string theory provide powerful constraints on perturbative and non-perturbative quantum corrections. These dualities are typically given by certain arithmetic groups G(Z) which are conjectured to be preserved in the effective action. The exact couplings are given by moduli-dependent functions which are manifestly invariant under G(Z), known as automorphic forms. We discuss in detail various methods of constructing automorphic forms, with particular emphasis on a special class of functions known as (non-holomorphic) Eisenstein series. We provide detailed examples for the physically relevant cases of SL(2,Z) and SL(3,Z), for which we construct their respective Eisenstein series and compute their (non-abelian) Fourier expansions. We also discuss the possibility that certain generalized Eisenstein series, which are covariant under the maximal compact subgroup K(G), could play a role in determining the exact effective action for toroidally compactified higher derivative corrections. Finally, we propose that in the case of rigid Calabi-Yau compactifications in type IIA string theory, the exact universal hypermultiplet moduli space exhibits a quantum duality group given by the Picard modular group SU(2,1;Z[i]). To verify this proposal we construct an SU(2,1;Z[i])-invariant Eisenstein series, and we present preliminary results for its Fourier expansion which reveals the expected contributions from D2-brane and NS5-brane instantons.

Instantons

Kac-Moody algebras

Spacelike singularities

String Theory