May 22 – 28, 2011
Centre Bonlieu
Europe/Zurich timezone

Equilibration and Thermalization of Strongly Coupled Field Theories

May 23, 2011, 3:20 PM
Salon Ravel AB (Imperial Palace)

Salon Ravel AB

Imperial Palace

Parallel New theoretical developments Theory developments


Berndt Mueller (Duke University)


Using the AdS/CFT correspondence, we probe the scale-dependence of thermalization in strongly coupled field theories following a quench, via calculations of 2-point functions, Wilson loops and entanglement entropy in 2, 3, and 4 dimensions. In the saddlepoint approximation these probes are computed in AdS space in terms of invariant geometric objects -- geodesics, minimal surfaces and minimal volumes. Our calculations for two dimensional field theories are analytical. In our strongly coupled setting, all probes in all dimensions share certain universal features in their thermalization: (1) a slight delay in the onset of thermalization, (2) an apparent non-analyticity at the endpoint of thermalization, (3) top-down thermalization where the UV thermalizes first. For homogeneous initial conditions the entanglement entropy thermalizes slowest, and sets a time scale for equilibration that saturates a causality bound over the range of scales studied. The growth rate of entanglement entropy density is nearly volume-independent for small volumes, but slows for larger volumes.

Primary author

Berndt Mueller (Duke University)


Alice Bernamonti (Vrije Universiteit Brussel) Andreas Schaefer (Universitaet Regensburg) Ben Craps (Vrije Universiteit Brussel) Esko Keski-Vakkuri (Helsinki Institute of Physics) Jan de Boer (University of Amsterdam) Masaki Shigemori (Nagoya University) Neil Copland (Vrije Universiteit Brussel) Vijay Balasubramanian (University of Pennsylvania) Wieland Staessens (Vrije Universiteit Brussel)

Presentation materials