Tachyonic anti-M2 branes
Arnold Sommerfeld Center for Theoretical Physics
, Theresienstr. 37, 80333 Munchen,
Institut de Physique Theorique
, CEA Saclay, CNRS URA 2306, F-91191 Gif-sur-Yvette,
We study the dynamics of anti-M2 branes in a warped Stenzel solution with M2 charges dissolved in fluxes by taking into account their full backreaction on the geometry. The resulting supergravity solution has a singular magnetic four-form flux in the nearbrane region. We examine the possible resolution of this singularity via the polarization of anti-M2 branes into M5 branes, and compute the corresponding polarization potential for branes smeared on the finite-size four-sphere at the tip of the Stenzel space. We find that the potential has no minimum. We then use the potential for smeared branes to compute the one corresponding to a stack of localized anti-M2 branes, and use this potential to compute the force between two anti-M2 branes at tip of the Stenzel space. We find that this force, which is zero in the probe approximation, is in fact repulsive! This surprising result points to a tachyonic instability of anti-M2 branes in backgrounds with M2 brane charge dissolved in flux.
2 Supergravity solutions on a Stenzel space
2.1 Stenzel Ansatz
2.2 Solutions with SD and ASD fluxes
2.2.1 Self-dual flux and M2-branes
2.2.2 Anti self-dual flux and anti-M2 branes
3 Absence of a regular solution with anti-M2 branes and asymptotic selfdual flux
4 Basics of brane polarization
4.1 The polarization of D3-branes in AdS5 S5 (Polchinski-Strassler)
4.2 The polarization of M2-branes in AdS4 S7
5 The polarization of anti-M2 branes in the CGLP geometry
5.1 General approach
5.2 The flux expansion
5.3 The polarization potential
5.3.1 The IIA reduction of the 11-dimensional background
5.3.2 The probe action
6 Localized versus smeared sources
6.1 The transverse channel
6.2 The Klebanov-Pufu channel
7 Range of validity
B Explicit form of the a0 equations
C The infrared backreaction of the polarizing fields
Anti-branes in warped throat geometries are an important ingredient in many models of
supersymmetry breaking in string theory. In string phenomenology they represent a generic
way of uplifting a given anti-de Sitter (AdS) compactification to a de Sitter (dS) one with
small cosmological constant . In holography they are used to construct non-compact flux
backgrounds dual to dynamical supersymmetry breaking mechanisms in field theories [2
4]. Recently, anti-branes in flux compactifications have also been used to construct
nonextremal black hole microstates [5, 6]. Over the past few years there has been an extensive
body of work aimed at constructing explicit solutions for the geometry sourced by these
anti-branes, and to study their dynamics with full backreaction taken into account.
It is by now well established that if one tries to construct a solution that describes
smeared anti-branes placed in a background with positive brane charge dissolved in fluxes
by treating the anti-branes as a small perturbation of a supersymmetric solution, one always
encounters a singularity coming from a divergent energy density of certain magnetic fluxes.
This has been found for anti-D3 branes in Klebanov-Strassler (KS) , for anti-M2
branes  in the Cvetic-Gibbons-Lu-Pope (CGLP) solution , as well as for anti-D2
branes in the A8 and CGLP backgrounds . Moreover, it has been shown for anti-D3
branes in KS  and for anti-D6 branes in a massive type IIA background  that
these singularities are not an artifact of treating the anti-branes as small perturbations,
but survive in the fully back-reacted geometry. Moreover, despite the fact that the singular
solution corresponding to smeared anti-D3 branes in KS passes some non-trivial tests [25
27], it does not appear possible to resolve this singularity by polarizing the anti-D3 branes
into D5 branes , or by cloaking it with a black hole horizon . Similarly, the
aforementioned massive type IIA singularity cannot be cured by polarizing the anti-D6
branes into D8 branes .
In this paper we study the solution and the dynamics of fully back-reacted anti-M2
branes in the CGLP background . This background is dual to a supersymmetric N = 2
(2+1)-dimensional theory obtained by a mass-deformation of the world-volume theory of
M2 branes at the tip of a cone over V5,2 = SO(5)/SO(3). This field-theory deformation
corresponds in supergravity to deforming the cone over V5,2 to a Stenzel space, which has
a finite-sized S4 at the tip.
Hence, the CGLP background is the M2-brane analogue of the Klebanov-Strassler
solution . The addition of probe anti-M2 branes to the CGLP geometry has been considered
by Klebanov and Pufu  as a way to construct the dual of a long-lived metastable
nonsupersymmetric state in the field theory. The supergravity solution corresponding to the
anti-M2 branes (smeared over the four sphere at the tip of the cone) has been constructed
later in [11, 12], by treating the anti-M2 perturbation as a small, first-order deformation of
the supersymmetric CGLP background. While this solution has the expected UV
properties to correspond to a metastable state, the energy density of the four-form flux diverges
in the infrared, near-brane region.
The purpose of this paper is three-fold: first, we want to establish that the
singularity of the perturbative solution for anti-M2 branes in the CGLP background does not go
away when one constructs the fully back-reacted solution. This is another piece of
evidence supporting the idea that the singularities of anti-brane solutions are not artefacts of
It is crucial hence to address the question of whether this singularity is physical or not,
by searching for an explicit mechanism that can resolve it and this is the second purpose
of our paper. To be more precise, we examine the possible resolution of this anti-M2
singularity by polarization into M5 branes . Klebanov and Pufu have shown in 
that probe M2 branes that are localized at the north pole of the S4 at the bottom of the
CGLP solution can polarize into M5 branes wrapping an S3 inside this S4. The solutions
that we construct have the anti-M2 branes smeared on the S4 in the CGLP infrared,
and hence cannot be used to directly determine whether the singularity is cured by this
However, as it is well-known from the extension of the Polchinski-Strassler analysis 
to M2 branes , these branes can have two polarization channels, corresponding to M5
branes in orthogonal planes. For M2 branes localized on the CGLP infrared S4, these
channels correspond to the Klebanov-Pufu M5 brane and to a transverse M5 brane that
wraps the contractible S3 of the CGLP solution at a finite distance away from the tip.
Since this polarization channel is not wiped out by smearing the anti-M2 branes on the S4,
we can use our fully-back-reacted solution to calculate its polarization potential. Much like
for fully back-reacted anti-D3 branes , we will find that the smeared anti-M2 branes do
not polarize into this channel.
The third purpose of this paper is to use the polarization potential for the smeared
anti-M2 branes in order to calculate that of localized anti-M2 branes, both in the
transverse channel as well as into the Klebanov-Pufu (KP) channel.1 On general grounds, the
polarization potential for M2 branes into M5 branes has three terms :2 one
proportional to r6, which is always positive, one proportional to r4, which is negative and which
comes from the flux that forces the polarization to happen, and one proportional to r2,
which is the same as the potential felt by mobile M2 branes in the background. This latter
contribution is zero if one considers the anti-M2 branes as probes moving on the S4 in the
infrared of CGLP , and this reflects the fact that there is no preferred position for these
anti-M2 branes on the S4 due to the space isometry. However, once one places a stack of
(back-reacted) anti-M2 branes at a given point on the S4 this symmetry is broken and one
expects other anti-M2 branes to feel a non-trivial force.
To compute the polarization potential for the KP channel one first needs to realize
that the transverse polarization potential is the sum of two contributions, which have very
different holographic origins: one term comes from giving a supersymmetric mass to the
fermions on the (anti) M2 brane world-volume and to their bosonic partners, and is a
perfect square. The second contribution comes from traceless boson bilinears (and can
1As we will see in section 6, one can relate the smeared and the localized polarization potentials by
considering a region in the parameter space where the Schwarzschild radii of the flux and the anti-M2
branes are larger than the radius of the blown-up 4-sphere.
2Throughout the Introduction, the coordinate r will denote the coordinate distance from the brane
therefore be called an L = 2 contribution) . This contribution can in principle be given
by any traceless symmetric 8 8 matrix, mij , sandwiched between the eight scalars, i,
of the M2 branes (imij j ), but when the anti-M2 branes are all localized at one point
on the S4, symmetry dictates that only two such terms can exist, and only one of the two
is relevant for the polarization potential. This allows us in turn to disentangle the susy
and the L = 2 contributions to the transverse polarization potential, and to use them
to reconstruct the polarization potential for the KP channel. A striking surprise awaits:
this potential has an r2 term that is the negative of a perfect square. Thus, if one places
two stacks of anti-M2 branes at the bottom of the CGLP background, the force between
these two stacks is always repulsive, independently of the parameters that determine the
solution asymptotically. Hence, the theory on the world-volume of these anti-M2 branes is
This result, which contradicts the expectations one might have formed by naively
extrapolating the giant inflaton arguments of ,3 has several unexpected consequences.
First, it implies that the singularity of the localized anti-M2 brane solution  is
worse than one might have thought. Indeed, if one imagines putting together many
antiM2 branes and holding them by force, one can expect that these anti-M2 branes will develop
an AdS4 S7 throat, perhaps perturbed with some fluxes. Our result shows that other
anti-M2 branes placed in this throat are repelled towards its UV, and hence this throat is
unstable to fragmentation.
Second, if one imagines placing a stack of anti-M2 branes inside the CGLP solution, the
world-volume theory on these anti-M2 branes develops a tachyon. Note that this tachyon
cannot be seen in the first-order perturbative description of the anti-M2 branes that uses
their Born-Infeld-like brane action. This tachyon rather comes from terms in this action
that are quadratic in the transverse magnetic fields, which the Born-Infeld action does
Third, this negative mass also has the potential to destabilize the metastable minimum
found in  in the probe analysis. Indeed, the infrared expansion of the M5 potential in
the probe limit only has r6 and r4 terms, and the existence of a metastable vacuum comes
from the interplay between these terms and the curvature of the S4. Adding another
negative term in the game can completely wipe out this metastable vacuum. However,
as we will discuss in section 8, the tachyon will not destroy the vacua that correspond to
polarizing the anti-M2 branes into multiple M5 branes, although it will probably introduce
new instabilities for these vacua.
The paper is organized as follows. In section 2 we present the supersymmetric solutions
corresponding to self-dual (anti-self dual) fluxes and M2 (M2) branes. In section 3 we
show that the solution that interpolates between the CGLP ultraviolet and smeared
antiM2 branes in the infrared is singular. In section 4 we discuss the basic features of brane
polarization in asymptotically AdS geometries. In section 5 we compute the polarization
potential for smeared anti-M2 branes in the CGLP background. In section 6 we extend
the calculation to find the potential for localized sources. In section 7 we discuss in detail
3For more details see section 8.
Figure 1. Anti-M2 branes smeared over (left) and localized at a point (right) on the 4-sphere at
the apex of the 8-dimensional Stenzel space.
the approximations used, and we conclude in section 8. Further technical details and
discussions are left to the appendices.
Supergravity solutions on a Stenzel space
In this section we start with a short review of the supersymmetric flux solution first
constructed by Cvetic-Gibbons-Lu-Pope (CGLP) in , based on a warped Stenzel space .
We also discuss the most general supersymmetric solutions with self-dual (SD) and
antiself-dual (ASD) fluxes on Stenzel background and show that only the former admits a
Let us start with a presentation of the 11d supergravity Ansatz of . It describes the most
general M2-like solution that preserves both the SO(1, 2) Poincare symmetry of the M2
brane world-volume and the isometry of the internal Stenzel space. This solution describes
both M2 brane charge dissolved in the fluxes, as well as M2-brane sources smeared on
the S4 at the tip of the Stenzel space. The difference between smeared and localized M2
sources is illustrated in figure 1. In this section and the following ones we will only analyze
smeared sources; those interested in the physics of localized sources will have to wait until
One can parametrize the eleven-dimensional metric in the familiar M2-form:
where the 8-dimensional metric has the most general structure consistent with the
isometries of the original Stenzel metric:
We refer the reader to  for the definitions of the seven angular one-forms. The functions
, , , as well as the 11d warp function ez in (2.1), depend only on the radial coordinate
. For the deformed Stenzel space the 3-cycle spanned by ei shrinks at the apex, while the
4-cycle corresponding to the remaining four 1-forms attains a fixed size (we will return to
this issue later in the paper). The Ansatz for the 4-form flux is:
G4 = dK dx0 dx1 dx2 + F4 ,
F4 = d f e1 e2 e3 + h ijki j ek
= f 0 d e1 e2 e3 + h0 ijkd i j ek
+ 2 (4h f ) ijk i ej ek 6h 1 2 3 .
Here f , h and K are all functions of and 0 denotes the -derivative. As usual, we will refer
to the component of the 4-form flux G4 in (2.3) that is extended along the time direction
as the electric component, and to F4 as the magnetic component. Departing from the
conventions adopted in  and in follow-up papers, we will omit an overall factor of m in
the definition of F4 by absorbing it in f and h.
An explicit relation between K() and the functions appearing in the form F4, f ()
and h(), can be derived using the G4 equation of motion:
K0 = 6e3(++2z) h(f 2h) P .
Here P is an integration constant related (but necessarily not proportional) to possible
brane sources as we will review shortly.
In this paper we are interested in the most general solution of the form (2.1), (2.2)
and (2.3). Integrating over the angles and the space-time coordinates, the 11d supergravity
action becomes (up to an overall factor) a functional, L = 12 Gab()a0b0 V (), of six
The kinetic term of this Lagrangian is :
Gab a0 b0 = 6e3(+) 02 + 300 + 02 + (0 + 0)0 4
4The 8d space orientation is given by
and for the 11d orientation we set:
?8 d = e3(+) 1 2 3 e1 e2 e3 ,
?11 F4 = e3z ?8 F4 dx0 dx1 dx2 .
With these conventions the flux will be self-dual for a supersymmetric solution with mobile M2s and anti
self-dual for anti-M2s (see later on).
W () = 3e2(+)(e2 + e2 + e2 ) 6e3z h(f 2h) P .
The fact that two different superpotentials (with different signs in (2.11)) reproduce the
same potential tells us that there are two possible supersymmetric solutions of the EOMs:
one with mobile M2s and self-dual (SD) 4-form flux, and the other with mobile anti-M2s
and anti-self-dual (ASD) flux. Notice that the constant P should therefore be different for
the two possibilities. We will denote the option in (2.11) by WSD, and the + by
WASD. The two solutions are (potentially) supersymmetric, but preserve different sets of
Let us provide more details about the solutions derived from the two superpotentials
WSD and WASD. By using a standard and useful notation (see for example [28, 41]) we
introduce a set of six functions a (a = , , . . . , h) dual to the modes a, such that the
firstorder equations coming from supersymmetry can be written in the following general form:
while the potential terms come from a superpotential W via:
with two possible solutions for W :
In what follows we will use the obvious notations a+ and a for as defined with W = WSD
and W = WASD respectively. We present the explicit form of these functions for the
superpotentials (2.11) and the metric (2.9) in appendix A.
The functions as defined in (2.12) do not vanish for a general non-supersymmetric
solution. In fact they satisfy an additional set of first-order ODEs [19, 28]:
a0 = 2 a bc + a b c + Gbc 2aWb c ,
1 Gbc Gbc W
which is trivially solved by a = 0 for a supersymmetric solution. Throughout this paper
we will only need three equations, one for the warp function and two for the flux:
f0 = 2e3(++z)h z 12 eh ,
The explicit form of the remaining equations for our Ansatz is relegated to appendix B.
We will return to the (non-supersymmetric) second-order equations of motion later in this
5Strictly speaking, there is a possibility that the first-order equations correspond only to fake
supersymmetry, like in [39, 40], but this is irrelevant to our discussion.
Solutions with SD and ASD fluxes
In this subsection we would like to study the most general solutions emerging from the
set of eight first-order equations in (2.12). We will also comment on the charges of these
Clearly, for a = , or we have a+ = a, since these fields do not appear in the
flux part of the superpotential (2.11). Solving the three first-order ODEs, a = 0, for these
metric functions leads to the Stenzel metric (see (2.31) of ). In doing so, one has to fix
three integration constants. One constant is related to the possible shift + const (the
only remnant of the -reparametrization invariance of the Lagrangian), other constant has
to take a specific value6 in order to avoid a singularity for small and, finally, the third
constant corresponds to an arbitrary overall rescaling of the 8d metric. In our notations
the final result is:
where the bar in , and stands for the background (or GCLP) value and is the
deformation parameter measuring the size of the blown up S4 at = 0.7 For large all of
the functions in (2.15) behave as e 23 r2, where r is the radial coordinate with which the
metric on the singular, = 0, Stenzel space (or alternatively far away from the deformed
apex) takes an explicit conic form dr2 + r2ds2V (5,2).
Self-dual flux and M2-branes
Contrary to the metric s, the three remaining functions depend on the choice of sign
in (2.11). As we have already mentioned earlier, for WSD and WASD the 4-form flux F4
in (2.3) has to be self- and anti-self-dual respectively. In other words, the equations f+ = 0
and h+ = 0 are equivalent to F4 = ?8F4 in our notations. The most general solution is:
For the UV asymptotics to be that of the regular M2 background (meaning e 29 r6
decay of the warp function), one has to set C2 = 0. Adhering to the conventions of  we
define the remaining constant as:
where the flux parameter M is the same as m in  and the follow-up papers.
6We disagree on this point with  where this constant is fixed without loss of generality.
7In the notations of  one has = 2 65 /3 32 and for  the identification is = 2/3 47 .
The magnetic flux F4 and M are related by (see for example (42) of ):
F4 Mf ,
where Mf is a dimensionless quantity used in , which Dirac quantization fixes to be an
integer. The only reason we use the non-integer M in this paper is because it does not
appear explicitly in (2.3), but rather directly in the flux functions h and f .8
The Maxwell charge of the 4-form (2.3) is:9
Since at = 0 the space is perfectly smooth, the only possible contribution to the Maxwell
charge comes from the M2 sources smeared over the S4 at the (blown up) tip. Denoting
the number of the M2 sources by NM2 and reading f (0) and h(0) from (2.16) and (2.17)
P = M542 + (232lP4)6 NM2 .
With this assignment for P , the asymptotic values of the Maxwell charge are:
QMM2axwell(0) = NM2 and QMM2axwell() = f4 + NM2 . (2.21)
For NM2 = 0 these results were first observed in . It was also noted there that since
the UV Maxwell charge has to be integer, Mf (defined in (2.18)) is necessarily even.10
Anti self-dual flux and anti-M2 branes
Anti-self dual flux, F4 = ?8 F4, is obtained from requiring f = 0 and h = 0. This time
the general solution is:
m = m = M .
8Note also that the parameter m used in  is different from the one used here and in :
9In deriving this result one might use:
This result follows from the asymptotic form of Stenzel metric (see, for instance, (14) of ) and the fact
that Vol(V5,2) = 274/128, as was originally derived in . Notice also that the 324 numerical factor
in (2.19) is different from the one in , but matches all other references.
10In general, the Maxwell charge, though conserved, is not quantized. It interpolates smoothly between
the two integer asymptotic values. The fully detailed analysis of the Maxwell, brane and (quantized) Page
charges in Stenzel geometry appears in  and .
Regularity in the IR requires Ce1 = 0, as otherwise both the flux blows up and the resulting
warp function e3z behaves as 6 for small leading to a naked singularity at = 0.
The Ce2 mode destroys instead the UV asymptotics. For large , the z = 0 equation
(see (A.2)) implies that e3z e 25 , in contrast to the asymptotically-AdS solution which
has e3z e 29 . With both types of fluxes, the UV- or the IR-divergent one, we can
add mobile anti M2s at the tip, though this obviously will not cure the corresponding
What we find is conceptually different from the type IIB conifold-based story .
There, the solution with imaginary anti-self dual flux11 is not really different from its
self-dual counter-part. Instead, the two solutions are trivially related by the sign flip of
the B-field, B2 B2. The two solutions are everywhere regular and supersymmetric,
though, they preserve different supercharges.
The Stenzel space does not have an analogous Z2 symmetry and as a consequence the
SD and the ASD flux equations produce completely different results. In particular, both
ASD solutions turn out to be singular, either in the IR or the UV. This aspect of Stenzel
ASD fluxes has been overlooked in the literature.
Absence of a regular solution with anti-M2 branes and asymptotic
In this section we would like to demonstrate that there is no solution of the second-order
equations of motion with regular fluxes that interpolates between the following two
asymptotic solutions derived from the superpotential (2.11):
Anti-M2s smeared over the 4-sphere at the tip with some amount of IR regular
antiself dual (ASD) flux, described by eq. (2.22) with Ce1 = 0 (plus some amount of IR
regular self-dual flux) and
The CGLP background with M units of self-dual (SD) flux (described by eq. (2.16)
with C2 = 0) in the UV.
A similar calculation has been carried out in  for anti-D3s in the Klebanov-Strassler
geometry, where it was shown that starting with anti-D3 smeared at the KS tip one ends
up with IASD flux all the way to the UV, unless the flux is allowed to be singular in the IR.
The output of this section is strictly speaking of no immediate importance for our main
conclusions in the paper. The reader can skip this section without losing the thread of the
We will pursue the following strategy. We will first write down the flux regularity
conditions, and then will use them to identify the lowest powers in the Taylor expansions
of the functions. Plugging this into the z,f,h0 equations we will finally argue that f
and h vanish identically, implying that the flux remains ASD all the way to the UV.
To proceed we have to elaborate first on the near-apex (small ) behavior of the 8d
metric. For a general N = 0 solution one cannot rule out any leading order terms in the
expansion of the functions , and in (2.2). We, however, do not want to ruin the
topological structure of Stenzel space (2.2). In order words, independently of the fluxes
and the source backreaction, the 8d metric should describe a regular space at the tip, since
otherwise the source (and therefore the brane) interpretation will be, strictly speaking,
meaningless. In practical terms it means that the 3-sphere should shrink smoothly at
= 0. A simple calculation shows that it happens if and only if both e and e approach
constant values at = 0, while e = + . . . at small . Throughout the paper we
will insist on this behavior. There are no further restrictions on the three functions. In
particular, the sizes of the 4-sphere and of the U(1) fibre in are free parameters.12
Next, the warp factor e3z should behave like 2 near the tip, where the coefficient
of proportionality is fixed by the number of smeared anti-M2s. If this does not happen
we cannot interpret the small- region of the geometry as having anything to do with the
backreaction of smeared anti-M2 branes. Note that in this section we insist on this behavior
for the warp factor and on having no divergent magnetic flux. In section 5 we will relax
We now can derive the conditions for flux regularity. A straightforward calculation
leads to the following results for the IR behavior of the magnetic flux density:13
FeeF ee (f 4h)2e4z242
FeF e h02e4z422
Thus the IR regularity implies that the Taylor expansions of the functions f () and h()
have to be of the form:
From this it follows that K0e3z = O(1) and we can also derive the restrictions on the
IR Taylor expansions of the functions z, f and h. Let us denote by nz, nf and nh the
lowest powers in the expansions. Then:
The last piece of information that we need is the behavior of the metric functions for
small . As we just pointed out, there is no topological restriction on the (constant) value
of e() at = 0. The equations of motion, however, imply that e = + O(2). Let
us show how this works: using the restrictions on the metric and warp functions we just
described, one can demonstrate that all three functions , and start with 2. We
will introduce the notation e = t + . . ., where t is the constant we are interested
in. The 0 equation (the only one in (A.1) with no flux functions involved) implies that
t = 1 or t = 5/7. On the other hand, the 0 0 holds if and only if t = 1. To arrive at
this result it is important to notice that by virtue of (3.2) and (3.3) the flux functions in
12We believe that the regularity of the 8d metric at = 0 can be consistently derived from the supergravity
equations of motion, although the full analysis appears to be difficult.
13For simplicity we omit here the subscript indices of the 1-forms i=1,2,3 and ei=1,2,3.
this equation can contribute only at the 3 order. One may further show that t = 1 is also
consistent with the remaining 0 + 0 equation.
We are now in a position to demonstrate that starting from (3.3) one finds only the
trivial f = h = 0 solution. In other words, the flux of the solution with nonsingular
infrared will remain ASD all the way to the UV and can never become SD as in the CGLP
background. To show this we need to use equations (2.14). The last equation holds only if
one of the two conditions is satisfied:
nz 1 = 2nf + 1 > 2nh 3
nz 1 = 2nh 3 > 2nf + 1
Carefully inspecting the equations for f0 and h0 and using (3.4), we observe that z is
subleading in both equations. For small we get:
where + . . . stands for higher order terms. Solving this we arrive at f 2, h 2.
The latter is however in contradiction with (3.3). We conclude that both f and h have
to be zero.
We conclude, therefore, that there is no solution with a non-singular infrared flux that
interpolates between a solution with smeared anti-M2s and ASD flux in the IR and the
SD background of CGLP in the UV.
Basics of brane polarization
The main problem that we will address in the next sections is the study of the dynamics
of anti-M2 branes at the tip of the CGLP geometry, with the purpose of checking whether
the singular anti-M2 solution is resolved by brane polarization, as suggested by the probe
analysis of .
Before doing this, we review in this section some basic aspects of brane polarization
in curved spacetimes, with the purpose of collecting a number of known facts that will be
crucial when we will address the polarization of anti-M2 branes in the CGLP background
in section 5. None of the material presented in this section is new, and a reader familiar
with this subject can jump directly to the next section, although it might be helpful in
understanding the logic we will follow in the rest of the paper.
We start with a short review of the Polchinski-Strassler (PS) mechanism, namely the
polarization of D3 branes into D5 or NS5 branes in the supergravity dual of the
massdeformed N = 4 4d SYM. We will then consider the extension of this analysis to the
mass-deformed 3d N = 8 theory on the volume of M2 branes, which is relevant for our
discussion in the next section.
The polarization of D3-branes in AdS5 S5 (Polchinski-Strassler)
We start by considering the low-energy world-volume theory of a stack of N D3 branes.
The SO(6) isometry of the five-sphere in the dual AdS5 S5 geometry corresponds to the
R-symmetry of gauge theory and rotates its six real scalars. In N = 1 language these
scalars combine into complex scalar components of three chiral multiplets, 1,2,3. Each of
the three chiral superfields has a fermion component, a Weyl spinor i=1,2,3. Together with
a fourth spinor, 4, the gaugino of the vector multiplet, they transform as a 4 under SU(4),
the fermionic version of SO(6). Giving arbitrary masses m1,2,3 to the chiral superfields
results in an N = 1 theory, while N = 2 requires m1 = m2 and m3 = 0. At the same
time, adding a mass term m0 for 4 necessarily breaks all of the supersymmetries, since
this fermion field has no scalar superpartner.
It was first noticed by Girardello, Petrini, Porrati and Zaffaroni (GPPZ) in  that
the mass deformation of the boundary theory, which corresponds to a three-form flux
perturbation of the AdS5 S5 gravity dual, leads to a spacetime with an IR naked singularity,
caused by the backreaction of this three-form on the metric.
It was argued later by Polchinski and Strassler in  that the singularity is cured
by polarizing via the Myers effect  the D3 branes into spherical 5-branes shells that
stabilize themselves at a fixed position in AdS5 shielding effectively the IR singular
region. This observation was confirmed in a probe limit calculation ignoring the D5s
(or NS5s) backreaction on the geometry, which amounts to keeping the portion of the
D3 brane charge carried by the D5s smaller compared to the total D3 charge, n N .
The polarization potential consists of three terms with different powers of r, the radial
distance orthogonal to the D3s,14 of the form
where the labeling for the coefficients is chosen for later convenience, and the dots stand
for subleading O(n2) terms, which can be neglected for r n.
For sufficiently large D3 charge, n, these terms are detailed-balanced, and one can safely
ignore other terms in the 1/n expansion. The large-n condition amounts to n2 gs2N and
thus does not contradict the n N requirement. The three terms have the following
The n1 r4 term, represents the mass difference between a stack of n D3 branes
dissolved in a 5-brane wrapped on an S2 inside the S5 and the same stack of D3
branes without the 5-brane. Since 3-brane and 5-brane masses add in quadratures,
this term is always positive.
The r3 term comes from the C6 term in the WZ action of the D5 brane (or the B6
in the action of the NS5 brane). One can easily show that it is determined by the
EOM of the RR 5-form in the AdS5 S5 background, which is equivalent to:
d Z1(?6G3 iG3) = 0 ,
where G3 is the complex 3-form flux (see footnote 11) and Z is the warp function.
Since the 3-from in (4.2) is both closed and co-closed, it can be fixed from its UV
14We use r to denote a generic coordinate distance to the D3s or M2-branes. It will later be identified
with a radial or angular coordinate on the S3 (in the case of D3) or S4 (in the case of M2) according to the
different polarisation channels.
asymptotics, where it is, in turn, uniquely determined by the three masses m1, m2
and m3. The 3-form then gives rise to the cubic term in the polarization potential,
and is independent of the value of the warp factor.
The n r2 term is the leading order term in the large n expansion. It comes from the
imperfect cancellation between the electric repulsion and the gravitational attraction
that the n D3 branes feel inside the perturbed AdS5. In the supersymmetric PS
solution this term can be computed by finding the superpotential that gives the r4
and r3 terms and observing that the full potential can be calculated from this
superpotential. This term can also be evaluated by computing explicitly the backreaction
of the three-forms on the metric, dilaton and five-form . When supersymmetry
is broken, this term can receive two additional contributions, one from the gaugino
mass and one from a traceless mass term for the scalar bilinears [36, 49, 50], which
corresponds to an L = 2 five-sphere harmonic in the bulk.
The polarization of M2-branes in AdS4 S7
We now review the perturbed AdS4 S7 solution dual to the mass-deformed N = 8
M2brane theory originally studied in . From the point of view of N = 2 supersymmetry in
three dimensions, this theory has four hypermultiplets. Turning on four arbitrary masses
for these hypermultiplets (m1, m2, m3 and m4) preserves four supercharges. When the
masses are equal the supersymmetries get enhanced to 16 .
The 4-form flux perturbation dual to the hypermultiplet masses leads to a naked
singularity in the IR  which gets resolved by the polarization of the M2 branes into
M5 branes .15 Unlike the AdS5 example, this has been confirmed in [52, 53] by finding
a fully back-reacted solution. To calculate the polarization potential for the probe M5
brane with a non-zero M2 charge one may use either the M5 probe action of  in the
(perturbed) M2 geometry (as done in ) or reduce both the solution and the probe to 10
dimensions along one of the M2 world-volume directions, and calculate the potential of the
resulting D4 brane using the DBI action of the latter (as done in ). Both approaches
yield the same polarization potential
where the . . . stands for the subleading O(n2) terms. The origin of the terms in this
potential is analogous to the origin of the terms in the PS potential.
The n1r6 term is the difference between the mass of a stack of n M2 branes dissolved
into an M5 brane wrapping a three-sphere and the mass of the same stack without
the M5 brane. Again, since the masses of M2 and M5 branes add in quadratures,
this term is always positive.
15The interpretation of the Myers effect from the perspective of the M2 brane theory was not available
until the precise understanding of the field content carried out by . The appearance of the fuzzy 3-spheres
in the mass deformed theory was then consequently confirmed in .
The r4 term can be traced to the expansion of the equation of motion for four-form
field strength in a background sourced by M2 branes:
d ZM12(?8F4 F4) = 0 ,
where ZM2 is the M2 warp factor and F4 is the magnetic part of the 4-from flux. This
equation is very similar to the equation the gives the r3 term in the PS potential (4.2).
If instead of a background sourced by M2 branes we had perturbed around a solution
sourced by anti-M2 branes, this equation would become
d ZM12(?8F4 + F4) = 0 .
Since the combination Z1(?8F4 + F4) is closed and co-closed, it only depends on the
UV data, and is independent of the value of ZM2.
The n r2 term comes again from the imperfect cancellation of the gravitational
attraction and the electric repulsion that the n M2 branes feel in the perturbed
geometry. In a supersymmetric solution this term can also be fixed by demanding
that the full potential comes from a superpotential . When supersymmetry is
broken this term can receive an additional contribution from a traceless mass term
for the scalar bilinears, which corresponds to an L = 2 harmonic in the bulk.
Since all the terms in the polarization potential are independent of the location of
the M2 branes that source the solution, this allows us to find the polarization potential
of all the N2 M2 branes that source the geometry to polarize into M5 branes by breaking
them into N5 bunches of n M2 branes each, and treating each shell as a probe in the
background sourced by the other shells. The full potential is therefore given by replacing
n in equation (4.3) by N2/N5 and multiplying with an overall factor of N5. The potential
for all the M2 branes to polarize into a single M5 brane is then given by formally taking
N5 = 1, which, despite being out of the range of validity of the calculation, agrees with
the formula driven from the fully-back-reacted solution [52, 53]. More details of this can
be found in section V.B of  and in section IV of .
This concludes our brief review of brane polarization in mass-deformed theories. We
will now address the main problem of the paper, namely the study of the polarization of
anti-M2 branes in the CGLP supersymmetric background.
The polarization of anti-M2 branes in the CGLP geometry
Let us now study the possible polarization of NM2 anti-M2 branes immersed in the CGLP
background  with M units of self-dual flux, that we reviewed in section 2.2.16 Our goal
is to study M5 brane polarization in a fully back-reacted anti-M2 geometry.
16In what follows we will always assume that NM2 Mf2, since otherwise the solution will not have
positive M2 charge at infinity. Note that for anti-D3s in Klebanov-Strassler such an assumption is not
necessary, because the positive charge dissolved in the fluxes will always dominate asymptotically.
For clarity, it is useful to review the various configurations that we will consider: as
depicted in figure 1, the original un-polarized anti-M2 branes can be either smeared over
the non-vanishing S4 at the tip of the CGLP solution (preserving therefore the symmetry
of this solution), or can be fully-localized at a point on this S4. With obvious Santa Claus
bias, we will refer to this point as the North Pole. The only possible polarization channel
of the smeared M2 branes is into M5 branes wrapping the shrinking S3 at finite distance
away from the tip. We refer to this channel as the transverse channel. When the branes
are localized they can also polarize into M5 branes that wrap an S3 inside the S4 at the tip,
and we refer to this as the Klebanov-Pufu (KP) channel.17 These notations are summarized
in table 1.
Our strategy is to compute the polarization potential of the anti-M2 branes using the
same logic as [35, 36]: we smear the anti-M2 branes and consider a region where the solution
is of anti-M2 brane type. We then examine the perturbations of this region by transverse
fluxes and metric modes that come from gluing it to the asymptotic region. We then
calculate the potential for the smeared anti-M2 branes to polarize into M5 branes in the
transverse channel. This section is devoted to the calculation of the polarization potential
for this channel, while section 6 is devoted to the polarization potentials of localized anti-M2
Let us assume that one has already constructed a fully-back-reacted solution describing
NM2 localized unpolarized anti-M2 branes in an asymptotically-CGLP geometry. Since
near the North Pole the metric of the Stenzel space looks like R8, the backreaction of
the anti-M2 branes should result in a small AdS4 S7 throat with the radius fixed by
NM2. However, this throat will not be a clean throat, since the gluing to the asymptotic
CGLP solution will alter its UV region, and will introduce non-normalizable modes. In
particular, the self-dual (SD) flux of the CGLP solution will leak into the anti-M2 throat
and try to polarize the anti-M2 branes into M5 branes, much as one expects from the probe
computation in . It is very important to stress that this picture is also valid when the
sources are smeared and the anti-M2 dominated region is no longer of the AdS4 S7 form.
17Note that unlike (p,q) 5-branes which couple to a combination of C6 and B6, here there is a single type
of coupling to A6 and therefore these two channels are possible.
Our strategy is to describe the physics of polarizing back-reacted anti-M2 branes using
the Polchinski-Strassler method applied to M2 branes  that we reviewed in section 4.2.
As we will show in the next subsections, we will recover this way precisely the same form
and the same physical interpretation of the polarization potential as in (4.3).
We begin by considering a region where the solution with unpolarized branes has
antiM2 character, in that its electric field and warp factor are such that a probe anti-M2 brane
will feel (almost) no force. Since ASD flux is mutually supersymmetric with the anti-M2s,
this field can in principle be arbitrarily large.18 Our strategy is to treat the SD flux coming
from the gluing to the CGLP region as a perturbation on the anti-M2 solution, exactly as
described in section 4.2.
When the anti-M2 branes are smeared on the Stenzel tip the full solution will have
SO(5) isometry, and will be anti-M2 dominated between two constant-radial-coordinate
hypersurfaces at 1 and 2. In general the fluxes that cause brane polarization become
stronger in the infrared and (unless one takes brane polarization into account) give a naked
singularity of GPPZ/Pope-Warner type [47, 51]. The infrared hypersurface at = 1 is
where the energy of these SD fluxes becomes stronger than that of the anti-M2 branes and
the solution loses its anti-M2 character. Moreover, as we discussed in section (2.2.2), the
ASD flux will also have a singular solution in the infrared, see (2.22). We thus define 1
such that for > 1 the energy density of the SD is small, and the one of the ASD flux is
The ultraviolet hypersurface at = 2 is where the anti-M2 dominated region is glued
to the CGLP asymptotics. As we will discuss in the next section, when the anti-M2 branes
are localized, the IR and UV boundaries of the brane dominated region will no longer be
constant- hypersurfaces, but will get an angular dependence. For the sake of clarity, we
postpone the evaluation of these scales and the discussion of the range of validity of our
calculations to section 7. Our first purpose is to calculate the polarization of a shell of
M5 branes with anti-M2 charge dissolved in it at a radius ? satisfying 1 ? 2, as
depicted schematically in figure 2. To do this we will solve the equations of motion in this
region order by order in an expansion in the SD flux parameter, MSD.
The flux expansion
We now apply the general strategy detailed above to compute the flux and the warp factor
in the anti-M2-dominated region perturbed with SD flux. Remarkably, to compute the
polarization potential in the transverse channel we will only need the leading-order
expression of the modes f, h and z. Since we consider smeared anti-M2s, the unperturbed
solution, at zeroth-order in the flux expansion parameter MSD is not AdS4 S7 but a
warped geometry with ASD flux.
To find this geometry one needs to solve a = 0 for a = z, f, h, and it may appear
that the only regular solution to these three equations is the warped Stenzel metric (2.15)
with ASD flux described in equation (2.22). However, this conclusion is a bit too hasty:
18Although, as we will explain in section 7, it turns out that its coefficients will be much smaller than
Mf M lP3.
Figure 2. In the interval 1 < < 2 (marked in light grey) the energy of the SD flux is
small compared to that of the electric flux of the anti-M2 branes and therefore can be treated
perturbatively. The (UV) scale where this anti-M2 region is glued to the (self-dual) CGLP
solution is 2, and the (IR) scale where the backreaction of the SD flux becomes important is
1. When the M2 sources are localized these slicings will be deformed and will have a non-trivial
the vanishing of z, f and h does not imply that the remaining -functions, , and
, are zero as well. The second-order equations in (B.1) have six integration constants.
We have already explained in section 2 how to fix the three constants of the SUSY solution
for which , , = 0. Intuitively one can use the other three constants to construct
a new solution that smoothly approaches the Stenzel metric functions (2.2) both in the
UV and in the IR. In fact, this is equivalent to finding a new Ricci flat metric within the
Ansatz (2.2). Abusing notation, we will continue to refer to this new metric as Stenzel
and to the large S4 at its tip as the Stenzel tip. This new metric does not have to be
Kahler19 and for our purposes we will not need to know its exact form,20 but just the
leading-order expansion of the function e = + . . ..
We now have to find the zeroth-order solution for the warp function. It follows from
the z = 0 equation in (A.2) that:
e3z0 = 6
d e3(0+0) hASD(fASD 2hASD) P ,
where we use 0 subscripts to distinguish between the Stenzel solution (2.15) and our
zerothorder functions, and the parameter P is proportional to the number of anti-M2 branes,
NM2. One can readily check that for zero h and f , e3z0 2 + . . ., as expected. As we
have explained in the previous section, in general, the ASD flux does not have to vanish in
the brane-dominated region. Therefore, for sufficiently small the contribution of the IR
19A similar calculation for the conifold has been done in [57, 58].
20The proof of this fact is identical to the (slightly more complicated) proof we presented in section 3
(see the paragraph below (3.3)), and we will not repeat it here.
singular ASD flux will alter this behavior of the warp function. This corresponds to the
1 region on figure 2.
We now perturb this solution with SD flux. For this we will need to turn on the modes
a, which are strictly zero for a solution with only ASD flux. At first order in MSD we
only have to solve the equations for f0 and h0 in (2.14), since the metric functions and
z remain the same. Note that this is equivalent to solving (4.5) in the brane dominated
region. These equations reduce to:
where we have explicitly used the Stenzel value of e = tanh(), although, as we
mentioned earlier, only e = +. . . is relevant for the conclusions. Note that we have already
encountered these equations in section 3.
The solution of (5.2) is:
where we have explicitly factored out MSD in order to make b1 and b2 independent of the
expansion parameter. Notice that from the definition of f and h in (A.2) it is clear
that the MSD parameter corresponds to the SD part of the magnetic flux divided by the
number of the anti-M2s.
In the next section we will need only the small- expansion of this solution, which is:
e3z0 z 0 = 14 12e3(00)f2 + e00 h2 .
This leads to the final result:
Here we omitted a homogeneous part of the solution proportional to e3z0 , since it
corresponds to a non-physical singularity.
We will use this expression to estimate the polarization potential in the upcoming
The polarization potential
In this section we use the result obtained above to compute the polarization potential for
all the smeared anti-M2 branes to polarize into M5 branes wrapping the shrinking S3 of
the Stenzel geometry at a finite radius (see table 1). As in [35, 36], we will first compute
the action of a probe M5 brane with anti-M2 charge n in the back-reacted throat geometry
sourced by the rest of the anti-M2 branes and described in detail in section 4. We will
then argue that the potential for this probe M5 brane is independent of the location of
the anti-M2 branes that source the solution, and hence this potential give the
fully-backreacted polarization potential in the transverse channel, both for smeared and for localized
anti-M2 branes. Finally, in section 6 we will use this result to infer the M5 potential in the
Klebanov-Pufu channel in the geometry of localized sources.
There are two ways of computing the potential of a probe M5 with anti-M2 charge in
a certain eleven-dimensional supergravity background. The first is to use directly the M5
action of Pasti, Sorokin and Tonin, , as was done, for instance, in . The second
is to reduce both the background and the probe to type IIA string theory, compute the
potential of the resulting probe (a D4 brane with F1 charge dissolved in it) in the resulting
background, and then reinterpret this as the potential for the M2-M5 polarization. This was
done for example in . The two approaches give the same answer, but given the relative
complexity of the Pasti-Sorokin-Tonin action, we find it more instructive to compute the
potential using the second approach.
The IIA reduction of the 11-dimensional background
Our strategy is to reduce both the background of section 2 and the M5-M2 probe to type
II string theory along one of the M2 world-volume coordinates, say x2. The M5-M2 probe
becomes a D4 brane wrapping the shrinking Stenzel S3 with n anti-F1 strings dissolved in
it. Reducing the background of section 2 gives the 10d metric, dilaton and B-field:
B2 = Kdx0 dx1 ,
where the eight-dimensional Stenzel metric was given in (2.2) and the function K()
appears in (2.7). In order to compute the polarization potential we only need the IIA R-R
four-form field strength with legs on the shrinking S3: F4 = f 0d 1 2 3 + . . .. The
other components (denoted by . . .) can be computed straightforwardly from (2.3). The
forms that enter in the polarization potential are given by:
d(C5 + B2 C3) = dx0 dx1 (KF4 + e3z ?8 F4)
= dx0 dx1
Kf 0 6e3(+z)h d 1 2 3 + . . . .
The probe action
R1,1LD4 = 4 R1,1S3 ep det(gab + 2ls2Fab)+(C5 +2ls2F2 C3) ,
where 2ls2F2 = 2ls2F2 + B2 and F2 is the electric field:
Plugging in the metric, the dilaton and the forms computed in the previous subsection,
and integrating over the 3-sphere we find the Lagrangian density:
LD4(E) = 4VS3 e3+ 32 zpe6z (E + K)2 + Ef
The Hamiltonian is then given by the Legendre transform:
HD4(n) = nE LD4(E) = (n + lP3VS3 f ) e3z 1 +
(n + lP3VS3 f )2
Note that in deriving this expression we have used the fact that 4/F1 = lP3. The
fact that resulting Hamiltonian depends only on the eleven-dimensional Planck scale, lP,
and is independent of the compactification radius l11, confirms the validity of this approach
to compute the M2-M5 polarization potential. Note also that in our conventions the flux
functions f and h have dimension (length)3 as evident from (2.20) and (2.7). This is
Here VS3 stands for the 3-sphere volume, VS3 = R f1 f2 f3. In deriving this formula we
performed an integration by parts and used the definition of f in (A.2).
The fundamental string charge of the D4 brane (which corresponds in eleven dimensions
to the M2 charge of the M5 brane) is the momentum conjugate of the world-volume electric
where the minus sign is introduced for later convenience, and F1 appears in the definition
because the fundamental string coupling to the B-field is given by F1 R B.
To compute the potential of this D4 brane we need to find the Hamiltonian
corresponding to this action, and to do this we begin by expressing E in terms of n using (5.12):
E + K = e3z 1 +
(n + lP3VS3 f )2
different from the conventions of most of the literature, where f and h are dimensionless
(see the remark below (2.3)).
Up to order MSD and n1, the polarization potential, V = H(n), is:
V = (e3z K) n + 2lP3VS3
e3(00)fd + 2 (lP3VS3 )2e60 n1 + O(n2, M3SD) ,
where the 0 index denotes the zeroth-order (no SD flux) solution. In deriving this result
we omitted the (K e3z)f 0 in the second line of (5.14). We explain the reason at the very
end of this subsection.
Keeping only the lowest terms in the Taylor expansion of all the functions, the
potential has the expected M2-M5 form (4.3):
Using the explicit results of the previous subsection for f and z, we can now express
these constants in terms of the parameters b1 and b2 introduced in (5.4):
The first thing to observe about this potential is that its terms are detailed-balanced:
at the radius where any two of its terms are equal, the remaining term is also of the same
order. Indeed, the coefficients b1 and b2 are by construction MSD independent, and it is
easy to see that the geometric mean of the first and the third term is always of the order
of the second one. It is also easy to see that at the detailed-balance scale,
all the terms of order O(n2) and/or O(M3SD) and higher that we ignored can be safely
It is also straightforward to verify that the potential (5.16) has no (local)
mum away from = 0. The condition for having the minimum is a4 < 0 and a4
3a2a6 > 0. While the former might be achieved by b1 < 0, the second is equivalent to
54 b21 + 3b1b2 + 2b22 < 0 which does not hold for any real b1 and b2. We thus conclude that
one of the possible polarization channels, the transverse channel, is absent for smeared
Before closing the section, let us explain why in going from (5.14) to (5.15) we have
ignored the (K e3z)f 0 term in the potential. We know for example from equation (5.6)
that z receives corrections at second order in the MSD expansion. From the definition of
z in (A.2), one can see that (K e3z) is also of order M2SD. Nevertheless, this does not
imply that this term is of the same order as the 2 term in (5.16). Indeed, a closer look at
the Taylor expansion of f 0 reveals that the lowest term comes from its ASD part (2.22),
f 0 3(Ce1 + Ce2) + . . . and hence the (K e3z)f 0 contribution to (5.16) starts with a term
of order 4. Since the 4 term in (5.16) is by construction of order MSD, the (K e3z)f 0
contribution is indeed negligible if Ce1 + Ce2 is of order one or lower. In section 7 we show
that we work indeed in this regime.
Localized versus smeared sources
Having computed the smeared M2 brane polarization potential in the transverse channel,
we will now try to use this calculation to learn about the polarization of anti-M2 branes
localized at the North Pole on the 4-sphere (see figure 1). As we discussed in section 5 and
as one can see from table 1, these branes have two polarization channels: the transverse one,
corresponding to M5 branes wrapping the shrinking S3, and the Klebanov-Pufu channel,
corresponding to M5 branes wrapping an S3 inside the 4-sphere.
The transverse channel
To proceed, it is worth recalling one of the main results of : the polarization
potential (4.1) is independent of the actual value of the D3-brane warp factor, and hence it is
the same regardless of the positions of the D3 branes that source the geometry. The proof
of this statement involves a few steps. First, one notices that the closed (and co-closed)
3-from Z1(?6G3 iG3) in (4.2) is fixed uniquely by its asymptotic UV value and is
therefore independent of the warp factor Z, which encodes the information about the source
distribution. This guarantees that the r3 term in the potential is Z-independent. Next, one
argues that the same observation holds for the r4 term, which measures the 5-brane mass
increment and is proportional to the square of the volume (in un-warped coordinates) of
the sphere on which the 5-brane is wrapped.21 Finally, the r2 term is also Z-independent
this can be seen either by invoking supersymmetry, or by realizing that this term comes
from non-normalizable AdS modes corresponding to boson masses.
One can make exactly the same argument about the polarization potential of anti-M2
branes into M5 branes. As explained in section 4.2 the r4 term comes from the self-dual
four-form Z1(?8F4 + F4), which is closed and co-closed (4.4) and therefore independent
of the value of the warp factor Z. The r6 term is proportional to the square of the volume
of the sphere that the M5 branes wrap, and is again Z-independent. Finally, the r2 term
encodes the boson masses, and it also Z-independent. These results have far-reaching
21The extra factors of Z cancel each other leaving a warp-function independent contribution, see (62)
of  and (29a) of .
consequences for understanding brane polarization, as they indicate that one can use the
probe calculation to find the polarization potential of all the M2 branes that make up the
solution, by splitting them in several bunches n M2 branes and finding the polarization
action of each bunch in the background sourced by the other bunches.
One can now apply these results to argue that the polarization potential of localized
CGLP anti-M2-branes in the transverse channel is the same as that of smeared anti-M2
branes: to do this one should first remember that the asymptotic value of Z1(?8F4 + F4),
and hence the r4 term in the potential, is uniquely determined by the fermion masses in
the theory on the two-branes . In our solution, these four masses are determined by
the gluing of the anti-M2-dominated region to the CGLP geometry at the hypersurface
at = 2. Similarly, the r2 terms in the potential corresponds to boson masses in the
two-brane theory and are also determined by the gluing at this hypersurface.
As we mentioned before, when the anti-branes are localized, this hypersurface will not
be at constant any more, but rather will acquire some non-trivial angular dependence. In
general, one expects this to affect the (co)closed self-dual 4-form (4.5) and the metric, and
hence to modify the 4 and 2 terms in the potential. However, as we will discuss in detail
in section 7, this modification becomes negligible when the gluing scale 2 is much larger
than the size of the blown-up Stenzel 4-sphere, and this can be easily achieved by properly
tuning the free parameters of the solution: NM2, Mf and the 4-sphere radius. In this limit
the transverse-channel polarization potential for localized anti-M2 branes is exactly that
of smeared sources, given in (5.16)(5.18), which has no minimum at a finite .22 From
now on we will assume that we work in this limit.
The Klebanov-Pufu channel
Having obtained the polarization potential of localized back-reacted branes in the
transverse channel, we can now use the physics of brane polarization to obtain the back-reacted
polarization potential in the Klebanov-Pufu channel .
To do this we first need to use some convenient coordinates near the localized sources.
The Stenzel space is defined by:
In terms of xi Re(zi) and yi Im(zi) it translates into:
At the North Pole of the 4-sphere we have x1 = and y1 = 0, while the remaining eight
parameters (x2, . . . , x5, y2, . . . , y5) provide a good set of R8 coordinates in the vicinity of the
pole. These branes break the isometry group of Stenzel space from SO(5) down to an SO(4)
which simultaneously rotates (x2, . . . , x5) and (y2, . . . , y5). There are three invariants of
22On the other hand, we are assuming that polarisation, if it happens at all, occurs in the region > 1.
Otherwise this mechanism would not cure the singularity, and the anti-M2 solution is clearly unphysical.
5 5 5
2 X xi2 , X xiyi and 2 = X yi2 , (6.3)
i=2 i=2 i=2
the last one being the Stenzel radial coordinate we are used to.
Our strategy is to first consider certain polarization channels where the scale of brane
polarization is smaller than the size of the four-sphere23 and therefore the anti-M2 branes
at the North Pole can be treated as anti-M2 branes in R8. Since we are in a region where
the anti-M2 branes dominate the geometry, the region where polarization will happen will
be a small AdS4 S7 around the CGLP tip North Pole, and we can therefore use all
the techniques for studying M2-brane polarization discussed in section 4.2 to compute the
polarization potential for all channels.
In particular, we know that when the four fermion masses of the M2 brane theory are
equal, the M2 branes polarize into M5 branes wrapping three-spheres. Hence, the SO(4)
symmetry of the solution implies that this small AdS4 S7 is perturbed with equal fermion
masses. By itself this perturbation would be supersymmetric, and give rise to a potential
that is a perfect square, both for the transverse channel and for the KP channel. However,
as we discussed in section 5.3, the polarization potential receives also a non-supersymmetric
contribution from a traceless boson mass bilinear, which corresponds to an L = 2 term on
the S7. Hence, the generic polarization potential in the transverse channel can be written as
V T() = VSTUSY() + VLT=2() , V KP() = VSKUPSY() + VLK=P2() . VSKUPSY(x) = VSTUSY(x) .
while the potential in the Klabanov-Pufu channel can be written as
As discussed above and as shown explicitly in [35, 52, 53], the supersymmetric polarization
potential is the same in the two channels:
The story is a bit more subtle for the non-supersymmetric L = 2 contribution to the
potential. The SO(4) isometry of the configuration constrains it to be a combination of
only two harmonics. Indeed, (6.3) lists all possible SO(4) invariant quadratic combinations
of xis and yis, while the traceless requirement further implies that the coefficients of 2
and 2 sum up to zero:
Since for the transverse channel we have x2,3,4,5 = 0, while for the KP channel y2,3,4,5 = 0,
we can see that the off-diagonal contribution drops off, and therefore the two channels will
receive equal and opposite contributions:
23As we will explain in section 7, this can be easily achieved by increasing the M5 dipole charge of the
We are now able to extract the polarization potential for the KP channel from (5.16),
V T () = a22 + a44 + a66 = 2 a62 +
which combined with (6.4), (6.5), (6.6) gives
V KP() = 2 a62 +
The coefficient of the 2 term, which cannot be captured in the probe approximation
used in , is therefore
2aa426 a2 = 43 e60(0) b1 + 43 b2 2.
This is a most striking result: for any value of b1 and b2, and therefore irrespective of
the way the anti-M2 region is glued to CGLP, the quadratic term in the potential that
describes the polarization of anti-M2 branes into M5 branes wrapping the S3 inside the
Stenzel S4 tip is never positive. As we discussed in section 4, this term also gives the force
felt by a probe anti-M2 brane in the background sourced by a stack of anti-M2 branes
localized on the Stenzel tip. Equation (6.11) implies that this force is always repulsive24
and hence anti-M2 branes at the bottom of the CGLP solution are tachyonic! This is the
main result of our paper.
Range of validity
In this section we discuss the approximations we have used in getting to our result, and its
range of validity. In the absence of an explicit fully back-reacted solution that has CGLP
asymptotics and anti-M2 branes in the infrared, we have used the fact that there should
exist a region where the physics is dominated by the anti-M2 branes. There are several ways
to try to define such a region, perhaps the most precise one is to require that the energy of
the self-dual (SD) magnetic four-form fluxes be smaller than that of the electric four-form
sourced by the anti-M2 branes. This allows one in turn to treat the fluxes as a perturbation
around a BPS anti-M2 solution, and to argue that they satisfy equation (4.5), which is the
key formula that allows one to compute the polarization potential of the fully-back-reacted
branes. Another way to think about this region is as the region where a probe anti-M2
brane will feel (almost) no force because of the gravitational-electromagnetic cancellation
in its action. Note that in this region the total magnetic F4 flux is not necessarily small:
this flux can have both a self-dual and an anti-self-dual (ASD) component, and the latter
corresponds to BPS anti-M2 charge dissolved in the fluxes and a priori can be arbitrarily
24To be pedantic, there is of course a measure-zero possibility that b1 = 34 b2 and hence this force is
zero. However, it is hard to see why such a miraculous cancelation will happen in a non-supersymmetric
When the branes are smeared, this region, shown in grey in figure 2, is bounded in
the infrared by a hypersurface at 1, where the backreaction of the SD fluxes becomes
dominant, and in the ultraviolet by a hypersurface at 2, where the anti-M2-dominated
region is glued to the CGLP solution.
To understand the origin of the hypersurface at 1, we should remember that both
in Polchinski-Strassler  and in mass-deformed M2 branes , the naive
pre-branepolarization solution has an infrared singularity [47, 51] which comes from the backreaction
of the polarizing fluxes and which is excised by brane polarization. As we will argue in
appendix C, when the harmonic function of the unpolarized branes goes like Q/r, the
backreaction of polarizing fields of strength F modify it with a term of order F 2/r22.
This backreaction does not dominate the infrared for smeared anti-D3 branes in KS ,
which have = 1, and it clearly dominates the infrared of localized anti-M2 branes in
CGLP, whose harmonic function will diverge as 1/r6. The story is more subtle for smeared
anti-M2 branes, where = 2 and therefore both the zeroth order warp factor and its
F 2 correction have the same infrared growth. We have explicitly checked that, unlike
for anti-D3 branes in KS, higher-order corrections in F do give rise to more divergent
terms. Nevertheless, in the brane-dominated region, these corrections to the warp factor
are subleading compared to the fields of the anti-M2 brane.
In addition to the SD flux, the ASD flux of the supersymmetric anti-M2 CGLP solution
can also cause infrared trouble. To see this, recall that the Stenzel BPS anti-M2 solution
with ASD flux is very different from the BPS Stenzel M2 solution with SD flux constructed
in , as the ASD flux either gives a singular infrared or a singular ultraviolet. Since we
do not have the full solution it is hard to say precisely how much ASD flux we will have,
and how strong it will be. However, we can estimate the strength of this flux and show
that it does not affect the polarization potential.
To do this, we first consider the Ce1 (infrared divergent) mode in equation (2.22). By
analogy with (2.21), the Maxwell charge in the deep IR (near the sources) and at infinity
will be equal to:25
We expect the full solution to differ in the UV from the CGLP one only by
normalizable modes, which, as one can see from equation (2.16) and the discussion that follows
it, suggests that the flux functions, f () and h(), will exponentially vanish in the UV.
Comparing (2.19) and (7.1) we see that one can only reproduce the right charge in the UV
if P Mf2/4 NM2. On the other hand, in order for the Maxwell charge near the anti-M2
branes to be NM2, the flux functions in the IR must give an order Mf2 contribution to
25As argued in , the brane-flux annihilation of anti-M2 branes at the tip reduces the flux by two units
and leaves behind (Mf 1 NM2) M2 brane sources. It is straightforward to see from (2.21) and (7.1) that
the asymptotic Maxwell charge remains the same during this process. There is a subtlety regarding the
exact change in the flux in the brane/flux transition, but, as pointed out in the end of , this concerns
only O(1) quantities suppressed in the large Mf limit.
the Maxwell charge (2.19):
To find the leading IR behavior of the flux functions one has to solve (5.4) using
the definitions of f and h in (A.2). The homogeneous part of the resulting solution is
precisely the ASD flux of (2.22), which dominates the small expansion of the fluxes. If one
now substitutes f () 2(Ce1 + 4Ce2) + . . . and h() Ce12 into the left hand side of (7.2)
one finds that it can never be positive. This implies that a nonzero Ce1 gives a positive
Maxwell charge near the anti-M2 branes, and indicates that Ce1 is very small. Thus, the
IR-singular mode of the ASD flux does not affect the 1 region of the solution.
The Ce2 (UV divergent) mode of the ASD flux is a bit more tricky. At the = 2
gluing hypersurface the incoming CGLP solution has only SD fluxes, and one may hope
that there will be no ASD flux on the anti-M2 dominated side and hence the effects of
Ce2 on the polarization potential will be negligible. However, it may also happen that the
nonlinearity of the equations of motion on the gluing surface will generate such a term and,
while we cannot estimate its value in the absence of a fully-backreacted solution, it seems
reasonable to assume that this flux will be of the same order as the incoming SD flux.
When 2 is large (which is the regime we have used in the previous section) the ASD mode
proportional to Ce2 diverges exponentially and hence the only way to match the fluxes on
the gluing hypersurface is if Ce2 is exponentially suppressed as M e2 . To summarize, both
Ce1 and Ce2 are small and cannot impact our calculation in any way. This is precisely what
we used in the last paragraph of section 5.
Another validity condition for our calculation is that the radius where the three terms
in the polarization potential are detailed-balanced, ?, be smaller than 2, such that
polarization takes place inside the anti-M2 dominated region. An even more stringent condition,
necessary if one is to be able to relate the transverse and the KP polarization potentials,
is that ? be smaller than the size of the large four-sphere, such that the polarization
potential (5.16) describes the physics in a region near the localized anti-branes where the
un-warped geometry can be approximated by R8 and therefore the AdS4 S7 polarization
analysis of  can be applied.
It is easy to see that we can always make ? small by considering the polarization
potential of the anti-M2 branes into multiple M5. Indeed, as we discussed in section 4.2,
the potential for all the anti-M2 branes to polarize into one M5 brane is given by simply
replacing n by the total number of anti-M2 branes, NM2, in equation (4.3). If one considers
instead the polarization into NM5 coincident M5 branes, each carrying NM2/NM5 units of
anti-M2 charge, the full polarization potential is obtained by replacing n with NM2/NM5
in equation (4.3), and multiplying the potential by an overall factor of NM5. This will
effectively lower ? by a factor of NM5, and will therefore always allow us to bring ?
within the desired range. Note that increasing the M5 charge of the polarization shell does
not affect the 2 term in the potential, and hence the conclusion that the anti-M2 branes
are tachyonic is robust.
The other important assumption we have made in obtaining the transverse-channel
polarization potential of localized branes from that of smeared branes is that the 4 and 2
terms of that potential are independent of the position of the branes. As we explained in
section 4.2, these terms can be related directly to non-normalizable modes in the ultraviolet of
the brane-dominated region and, when one studies brane polarization in AdS4 S7 , one
fixes a-priori the values of these non-normalizable modes in terms of the mass-parameters
of the dual theory. This ensures that the 4 and 2 terms in the polarization potential are
independent of the position of the branes.26
However, for anti-M2 branes in CGLP, the UV boundary conditions for the anti-M2
throat reside at the = 2 hypersurface where this throat is glued to the
asymptoticallyCGLP solution of . If the anti-M2 branes are localized on the S4, this hypersurface will
be deformed and will not be at constant any more. Hence, the boundary conditions for
the closed and co-closed 4-form Z1(?8F4 + F4) and for the L = 2 modes that enter the 2
terms will change, and therefore the polarization potential will be modified.
To ensure that this effect is small we have to work in a region of parameters where 2
is much larger than the distance over which the anti-M2 branes move, which is of order
the size of the tip (l = 3/4) and therefore the effect of moving the anti-M2 branes will be
suppressed by a positive power of l /2.
To see that one can always do this, one should first remember that our problem has
only three free parameters:27 the CGLP magnetic flux, Mf, the number of anti-M2 branes,
NM2, and the size of the un-warped Stenzel tip, l = 3/4. In the absence of
supersymmetrybreaking, each of these parameters comes with its own scale: if one sets Mf to zero and
considers (BPS) anti-M2 branes in a Stenzel space, the full solution will be warped R2,1
times Stenzel, with the warp factor given by the harmonic function sourced by the anti-M2
branes. This solution will be controlled by two scales: the Schwarzschild radius of the
anti-M2 branes and l , the size of the Stenzel tip. Similarly, the BPS CGLP solution with
BPS M2-branes is controlled by three parameters, l and the Schwarzschild radii of the
M2 branes and of the flux, which can be dialed at will.
Even if we do not have the exact fully-back-reacted anti-M2 solution, it is clear that the
position of the hypersurface where the anti-M2 region is glued to CGLP, 2, is determined
by a balance between the anti-M2 branes and the CGLP flux, M , and that increasing
the number of anti-M2 branes pushes this surfaces to larger values of 2. This can be
done while still keeping NM2 M 2 such that the charge at infinity remains positive. The
situation is shown on figure 3. On the other hand, the size of the tip, l , will not enter in
this balance, and therefore can be set to be much smaller than 2. This ensures that the
physics at the gluing surface is not affected by moving the anti-M2 branes at the tip, and
hence that the smeared and localized polarization potentials in the transverse channel are
26The 6 term comes from the M5 branes of the polarizing shell wrapping a 3-sphere, and is independent
by construction of the position of the anti-M2 branes.
27For the CGLP solution with no sources (NM2,M2 = 0) the parameter is not physical and can be
gauged away. However, when branes are present, this parameter acquires a physical meaning, much like in
Figure 3. For anti-M2 branes localized on the 4-sphere the gluing between the brane-dominated
and the asymptotically-CGLP regions will not be at constant 2. However, we can always push
this hypersurface away from the tip (arrows pointing right) by increasing NM2, and push it towards
the tip (arrows pointing left) by increasing M . If the size of the tip is much smaller than 2, then
localizing the branes will not affect this surface.
It is important to note that one can go to the regime of parameters where 2 > l
without affecting the other assumptions we made about the polarization radius ? and the
IR cut-off 1.
We have studied the dynamics of anti-M2 branes placed at the bottom of a supersymmetric
background with M2 brane charge dissolved in flux (the CGLP solution of ) taking into
account the full backreaction of the anti-branes on the ambient geometry. We proved that
the anti-M2 solution has a singularity in the energy density of the four-form flux, confirming
the linearised analysis of . We then looked for a resolution of such singularity by brane
polarization, as suggested by the probe picture of Klebanov and Pufu , in which the
anti-M2 branes expand into one or more M5 branes wrapping an S3 inside the S4 in the
infrared. Since our starting point was a solution for anti-M2 branes smeared on the S4,
we could not compute directly the polarization potential for the Klebanov-Pufu channel,
so we first computed the potential for polarization into M5 branes wrapping the shrinking
S3 of the CGLP geometry, at a finite distance from the tip. We found that the potential
has no minimum away from the tip, signaling that the breaking of supersymmetry alters
qualitatively the phase structure of the supersymmetric M2-M5 polarization . This
happens because of the contribution of L = 2 modes, corresponding to traceless boson
bilinears in the world-volume of the anti-M2s, which break supersymmetry.
We then argued that, at least in some region of the parameter space, the polarization
potential for smeared anti-M2 branes is not sensitive to the position of the sources, and
is thus the same as the potential for localized anti-M2 branes expanding into M5 branes
on the shrinking S3. This in turn allowed us to extract the L = 2 mode that enters into
the r2 term of the polarization potential of localized anti-M2 branes and thus to explicitly
compute the potential for polarization of localized back-reacted anti-M2 branes in the
Klebanov-Pufu channel. To our great surprise, we found that this potential has an 2 term
that is never positive. Since this term is the same as the force acting on a mobile anti-M2
Figure 4. The naive polarization potential one derives ignoring the anti-M2 backreaction  (first
graph), the potential one obtains by (incorrectly) assuming that backreaction will give rise to an
attractive force between the anti-branes (second graph) and the two possible corrected potentials
obtained by including the anti-M2 tachyon. If ? is larger than curv, than the tachyonic 2
mode can wipe out the local minimum (third graph). We can reduce ? by considering polarization
into multiple M5 branes, guaranteeing this way a metastable minimum at the = ? scale (fourth
graph). As we explain in the text, the tachyonic mode can greatly change the physics of this
metastable vacuum, by opening up new instability directions.
brane placed in the background sourced by the other anti-M2 branes, this implies that
anti-M2 branes at the bottom of the CGLP background repel each other, and hence that
the world-volume theory of CGLP anti-M2 branes has a tachyon. This in turn would imply
that the putative AdS4 S7 throat sourced by anti-M2 branes localized at the bottom of
CGLP background would be unstable to fragmentation.
It is very important to understand the end-point of this tachyonic instability. As we
show in figure 4, the brane-flux annihilation potential comes with two scales: ?, where
the three terms in the North-Pole potential (6.10) are detailed balanced, and curv, where
the curvature of the sphere begins to have an important effect and pulls the M5 branes
over the equator triggering this way brane-flux annihilation. Clearly when ? is larger
than curv there is no metastable minimum, and the branes undergo immediate
braneflux annihilation. This happens for example in  when the number of anti-M2 branes
polarizing into a shell with M5 dipole charge one is larger than 5.4% of M .
Our analysis tells us that anti-M2 branes repel at distances smaller than the size
of the four-sphere, and hence that the brane-flux annihilation potential differs from the
one calculated using the probe approximation  by a negative contribution. Indeed, if
one ignores backreaction, the North Pole expansion of the probe potential begins with a
negative term of order 4 , while we find that this expansion should begin instead with
a negative term of order 2. Still, since we only trust our calculations at the scale ?, we
cannot say what is the functional form of this negative contribution at the scale curv, and
hence we cannot determine conclusively whether the metastable vacuum with all anti-M2
branes polarized into one M5 brane gets destabilized or not.
Nonetheless, M2 branes can also polarize into multiple M5 branes and, as we explained
in section 4.2, this reduces ? by the square root of the number of M5 branes. Hence, by
increasing the M5 dipole charge of the polarization shell we can arrange for ? to become
much smaller than curv. Since at this scale the polarization potential has three terms and
since the 2 term is negative and the 6 term is positive, this guarantees that this potential
will have a metastable minimum. Hence, the tachyon we find, while potentially-dangerous
for the metastable vacua with small M5 dipole charge, will not wipe out the metastable
vacua that have a large M5 dipole charge.
However, the presence of the tachyon does not bode well for the stability of such vacua.
Indeed, the tachyon of the M2 branes translates into a tachyon for the two-form field on the
M5 worldvolume, which indicates that the whole configuration is unstable. Furthermore,
if one calculates the potential for one anti-M2 brane to shoot out of the polarization shell,
the near-shell solution is dominated by the anti-M2 branes, and therefore this potential
will be repulsive.
The metastable shell with a large M5 dipole charge can also decay by peeling out M5
shells that brane-flux annihilate. To see how this can happen, consider the fluctuation
where one of the M5 branes gets more anti-M2 charge than its friends. Since shells with
larger anti-M2 charges have larger equilibrium radii (5.19), this overcharged M5 brane will
be driven to a larger value of . Furthermore, as the anti-M2 branes in its world-volume
repel the anti-M2 branes in the remaining M5 branes, the force driving it to larger values
of increases, and this M5 brane will therefore have the tendency to slide over the equator
triggering brane-flux annihilation.28
Thus, our analysis indicates that there exist metastable back-reacted anti-M2 shells
with a large M5 dipole charge. Nevertheless, the presence of an anti-M2 tachyon makes the
physics of these vacua very different than the one expected from the probe approximation.
These shells can decay by shooting out anti-M2 branes, by rapid brane-flux annihilation
caused by the peeling out of charged M5 shells, as well as by the fragmentation of the
AdS4 S7 throat sourced by the anti-M2 branes.
Perhaps the most important question our calculation raises is whether the tachyon
we find is just an accidental feature of anti-M2 branes in CGLP, or is a more generic
characteristic of all anti-branes in backgrounds of opposite charge. The fact that
antibrane singularities do not appear to be cloakable by regular event horizons  points
towards the latter option.
It would be very exciting if one could extend our calculation and establish whether
anti-D3 branes in Klebanov-Strassler  are also tachyonic. Their back-reacted polarization
potential in the transverse channel was calculated in , both for smeared and for
localized branes, and it was found that this potential has no metastable minimum. However,
extracting the back-reacted KPV polarization potential from the transverse one is not as
straightforward as for anti-M2 branes, essentially because, as we explained in section 4.1,
the Polchinski-Strassler polarization potential can have two supersymmetry-breaking terms
compatible with the symmetry of the problem: an L = 2 mode and a gaugino mass. Since
the second term is absent for anti-M2 branes, knowing the terms of the M2 transverse
polarization potential had enough information to allow us to calculate the other polarization
potential. However, to do this for anti-D3 branes in KS one needs first to disentangle the
two supersymmetry-breaking contributions, which is more subtle. We plan to report on
this in upcoming work.
28Note that this would not happen if antibranes attracted; as argued in  this attraction would push
multiple nearby shells to merge and form a single shell.
Notice that the anti-brane repulsion we found seems to contradict the result of ,
where it was argued that branes in backgrounds of opposite charge should attract (see
also ). The intuition behind this claim was that anti-branes should create a cloud of
flux of opposite charge around them, which in turn screens their negative charge making
the electromagnetic repulsion weaker than the gravitational attraction. Our explicit
calculations fail to see such a screening effect, but rather show that the cloud sourced by
the anti-branes would have more charge than mass, and hence repel other anti-branes. Of
course, since our calculations are valid in the regime when the inter-brane separation is
smaller than the size of the cloud sourced by the anti-branes, they test some very
nonlinear dynamics, which the arguments of [37, 60], valid in the regime where the inter-brane
distance is larger than the size of cloud, do not take into account.
It would be very interesting to try to reproduce our tachyonic instability via a more
direct first-principles calculation, and to see whether it is also exists in different regimes
of parameters than the one we consider here. If this tachyonic mode is generic, it would
point towards a very basic feature of the interaction between branes and fluxes of opposite
We would like to thank Matteo Bertolini and Thomas Van Riet for useful discussions.
I.B. and S.K. are supported in part by the ANR grant 08-JCJC-0001-0 and by the ERC
Starting Grant 240210 String-QCD-BH. I.B. is also supported by a grant from the
Foundational Questions Institute (FQXi) Fund, a donor advised fund of the Silicon Valley
Community Foundation on the basis of proposal FQXi-RFP3-1321 to the Foundational
Questions Institute. This grant was administered by Theiss Research. The work of M.G.
and S.K. is supported in part by the ERC Starting Grant 259133 ObservableString.
The work of S.M. is supported by the ERC Advanced Grant 32004 Strings and Gravity.
Here we summarize the expressions for as that follow from their definition in (2.12) and
the explicit form of the superpotential and the kinetic term in (2.11) and (2.9) respectively.
+ = = 3e2+4 3(20 + 30 + 0)e3(+) + 3e2(++) + 6e4+2,
+ = = 6e2+4 3(30 + 20 + 0)e3(+) + 3e2(++) + 3e4+2,
+ = = 3(0 + 0)e3(+) + 3e2(++),
while the dual modes for the warp function and the fluxes are given by:
f = 21 e3(z) f 0 6e3()h ,
h = 6e+3z h0 21 e(f 4h) .
The first-order equations of motion for the modes a follow directly from (2.13), from the
explicit form of the metric Gab, and from the superpotentials in (2.9) and (2.11) respectively.
To find the polarization potential we only needed the equations for the flux modes and for
the warp function (2.13). Here we give for completeness the remaining equations. Together
with (2.13) and the definition of the a modes (A.1), (A.2), they form a system of twelve
first-order differential equations which is equivalent to the equations of motion derived
from the one dimensional action defined by (2.9) and (2.11). The remaining three a0
0 + 0 = 12 e3(+) 2 + 2 + 52 + 43 z2
+ 2 e3(+)z z 3e3(++z)K0 ,
0 0 = 2e e+ + e 2e+ + 36he3(+)
+0 + +0 = 12 e3(+) +2 + +2 + 5+2 + 43 z+2
+ 2 e3(+)z+ z+ + 3e3(++z)K0 ,
+0 +0 = 2e e+ + + e 2e+ + 36he3(+)+
+(f 4h)eh+ + 6e3(++z)f+2 16 e+3zh+2 ,
f+0 = 2e3(++z)h z+ + 21 eh+ ,
+0 = 2e3(++z)(f 4h) z+ + 6e3()+
h f 2eh+ ,
The infrared backreaction of the polarizing fields
In this appendix we give a simple and intuitive argument that allows us to find the infrared
divergence caused by the backreaction of the forms that trigger brane polarization on the
metric warp factor. We also show why the far infrared region is so different than in the
smeared anti-D3 setup, giving a brane-dominated region that does not extend all the way
to = 0.
As we discussed in great detail above, one has to exclude the 1 part of geometry
from the brane dominated region, since for small the flux becomes singular. For
antiD3s smeared over the blown-up 3-sphere of the warped conifold, we also have to allow flux
singularity in the IR, since otherwise the flux remains IASD all the way to the UV .
The situation there, nevertheless, differs from the setup discussed in this paper. First, the
IASD flux on the conifold is the same as the ISD one up to a sign of the B-field (see the
end of section 2.2.2), and so it can be regular both in the UV and in the IR of the anti-D3
throat. Second, the GPPZ-like singularity of the ISD flux in the throat is not strong enough
to distort the leading order behavior of the warp function. To be more precise, it produces
only a 1 correction to the warp function, which is subleading to the un-perturbed 2
Let us provide a simple intuitive argument for that statement. The quadratic term in
the polarization potential is given by the force felt by a probe brane in the perturbed throat
geometry. In our setup it is given by e3z K, see (5.15). For the KS setup, e3z is replaced
by the D3 warp function Z, and K becomes the 5-form flux. At the zeroth order in the
flux expansion Z01 K0 vanishes. For the sake of generality, let us set Z01, K0 for
small . We will also assume for simplicity that for the (second order) perturbed solution
Z M2SDr+ and K Z.
Plugging this into Z1 K and expanding to the M2SD order, we see that the first
non-zero contribution is of order +. Therefore, to obtain an r2 term in the potential,
For anti-D3s smeared over the 3-cycle of the deformed conifold = 1, and so = 1. We
see that the perturbed warp function is small compared to zeroth order one. It means that
the flux singularity in this case is not sufficiently strong to modify the 2 behavior of the
warp function near the source. We learn that the flux perturbation never dominates in the
For our anti-M2 configuration = 2 implying = 0. Thus the perturbation now has
exactly the same near source behavior as the unperturbed warp function, and this is the
reason why we have to exclude the 1 region, where MSD is not sufficiently small to
trust the expansion.
Let us also mention that the simple formula (C.1) also reproduces correctly the result
for localized D3 branes. In this case = 4 and = 2. Thus, contrary to the smeared
case, for localized D3 branes the flux perturbation completely destroys the brane throat
in the IR, explaining the naked singularity of the GPPZ flow . The solution has been
explicitly computed to the second order in the flux perturbation by Freedman and Minahan
in . Their result is29 a M 2r6 contribution to the warp factor, in nice agreement with
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29Here the radial coordinate is denoted by r, see footnote 14.