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Trace anomaly on the conformal manifold

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Conformal field theories (CFTs) defined at fixed points of the renormalization group flow can be lifted to curved space where they develop the well-known trace anomaly. In this talk we will consider the trace anomaly of CFTs with exactly marginal operators. The couplings that source the marginal operators are promoted to spacetime-dependent functions, and new terms, proportional to derivatives of the couplings, appear in the trace anomaly. Using both field-theoretic as well as holographic methods we will analyze these contributions in four and six spacetime dimensions, and illustrate their relevance to the a-theorem and the relation between scale and conformal invariance. The six-dimensional case displays novel features not seen in lower dimensions.

This talk is part of the Quantum Fields and Strings Seminars series.

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