Tensor categories and the mathematics of rational and logarithmic conformal field theory

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We review the construction of braided tensor categories and modular tensor categories from representations of vertex operator algebras, which correspond to chiral algebras in physics. The extensive and general theory underlying this construction also establishes the operator product expansion for intertwining operators, which correspond to chiral vertex operators, and more generally, it establishes the logarithmic operator product expansion for logarithmic intertwining operators. We review the main ideas in the construction of the tensor product bifunctors and the associativity isomorphisms. For rational and logarithmic conformal field theories, we review the precise results that yield braided tensor categories, and in the rational case, modular tensor categories as well. In the case of rational conformal field theory, we also briefly discuss the construction of the modular tensor categories for theWess-Zumino-Novikov- Witten models and, especially, a recent discovery concerning the proof of the fundamental rigidity property of the modular tensor categories for this important special case. In the case of logarithmic conformal field theory, we mention suitable categories ofmodules for the tripletW-algebras as an example of the applications of our general construction of the braided tensor category structure.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number494009
JournalJournal of Physics A: Mathematical and Theoretical
Issue number49
StatePublished - Dec 13 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Statistical and Nonlinear Physics
  • Statistics and Probability
  • Modeling and Simulation
  • Mathematical Physics
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)


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