Algebraic & Geometric Topology
- Algebr. Geom. Topol.
- Volume 17, Number 2 (2017), 917-956.
Spin, statistics, orientations, unitarity
A topological quantum field theory is hermitian if it is both oriented and complex-valued, and orientation-reversal agrees with complex conjugation. A field theory satisfies spin-statistics if it is both spin and super, and –rotation of the spin structure agrees with the operation of flipping the signs of all fermions. We set up a framework in which these two notions are precisely analogous. In this framework, field theories are defined over , but rather than being defined in terms of a single tangential structure, they are defined in terms of a bundle of tangential structures over . Bundles of tangential structures may be étale-locally equivalent without being equivalent, and hermitian field theories are nothing but the field theories controlled by the unique nontrivial bundle of tangential structures that is étale-locally equivalent to Orientations. This bundle owes its existence to the fact that . We interpret Deligne’s “existence of super fiber functors” theorem as implying that in a categorification of algebraic geometry in which symmetric monoidal categories replace commutative rings. One finds that there are eight bundles of tangential structures étale-locally equivalent to Spins, one of which is distinguished; upon unpacking the meaning of a field theory with that distinguished tangential structure, one arrives at a field theory that is both hermitian and satisfies spin-statistics. Finally, we formulate in our framework a notion of reflection-positivity and prove that if an étale-locally-oriented field theory is reflection-positive then it is necessarily hermitian, and if an étale-locally-spin field theory is reflection-positive then it necessarily both satisfies spin-statistics and is hermitian. The latter result is a topological version of the famous spin-statistics theorem.
Algebr. Geom. Topol., Volume 17, Number 2 (2017), 917-956.
Received: 28 October 2015
Revised: 6 June 2016
Accepted: 24 June 2016
First available in Project Euclid: 19 October 2017
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Johnson-Freyd, Theo. Spin, statistics, orientations, unitarity. Algebr. Geom. Topol. 17 (2017), no. 2, 917--956. doi:10.2140/agt.2017.17.917. https://projecteuclid.org/euclid.agt/1508431449