Coadjoint orbits of the Virasoro algebra and the global Liouville equation
WoS ID: 000071843300009
Scopus ID: 0039547318
The classification of the coadjoint orbits of the Virasoro algebra is reviewed and then applied to analyze the so-called global Liouville equation. The review is self-contained, elementary and is tailor-made for the application. It is well known that the Liouville equation for a smooth, real field φ under periodic boundary condition is a reduction of the SL(2, R) WZNW model on the cylinder, where the WZNW field g ∈ SL(2, R) is restricted to be Gauss decomposable. If one drops this restriction, the Hamiltonian reduction yields, for the field Q = κg<sub>22</sub> where κ ≠ 0 is a constant, what we call the global Liouville equation. Corresponding to the winding number of the SL(2, R) WZNW model, there is a topological invariant in the reduced theory, given by the number of zeros of Q over a period. By the substitution Q = ± exp(-φ/2), the Liouville theory for a smooth φ is recovered in the trivial topological sector. The nontrivial topological sectors can be viewed as singular sectors of the Liouville theory that contain blowing-up solutions in terms of φ. Since the global Liouville equation is conformally invariant, its solutions can be described by explicitly listing those solutions for which the stress-energy tensor belongs to a set of representatives of the Virasoro coadjoint orbits chosen by convention. This direct method permits to study the "coadjoint orbit content" of the topological sectors as well as the behavior of the energy in the sectors. The analysis confirms that the trivial topological sector contains special orbits with hyperbolic monodromy and shows that the energy is bounded from below in this sector only. © World Scientific Publishing Company.