Supersymmetric Solitons
Book Preface
It is well known that supersymmetric theories may have Bogomol’nyi–Prasad– Sommerfield (BPS) sectors in which some data can be computed at strong coupling even when the full theory is not solvable. Historically, this is how the first exact
results on particle spectra were obtained [1]. Seiberg–Witten’s breakthrough results [2, 3] in the mid 1990s gave an additional motivation to the studies of the BPS sectors.
BPS solitons can emerge in those supersymmetric theories in which superalgebras are centrally extended. In many instances the corresponding central charges are seen at the classical level. In some interesting models central charges appear as quantum anomalies.
First studies of BPS solitons (sometimes referred to as critical solitons) in supersymmetric theories at weak coupling date back to the 1970s. De Vega and Schaposnik were the first to point out [4] that a model in which classical equations of motion can be reduced to firstorder Bogomol’nyi–Prasad–Sommerfeld (BPS) equations [5, 6] is, in fact, a bosonic reduction of a supersymmetric theory. Already in 1977 critical soliton solutions were obtained in the superfield form in some twodimensional models [7]. In the same year miraculous cancellations occurring in calculations of quantum corrections to soliton masses were noted in [8] (see also [9]). It was observed that for BPS solitons the boson and fermion modes are degenerate and their number is balanced. It was believed (incorrectly, we hasten to add) that the soliton masses receive no quantum corrections. The modern – correct –version of this statement is as follows: if a soliton is BPSsaturated at the classical level and belongs to a shortened supermultiplet, it stays BPSsaturated after quantum corrections, and its mass exactly coincides with the central charge it saturates.
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