RG boundaries and Cardy’s variational ansatz for multiple perturbations

Anatoly Konechny*

*Corresponding author for this work

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We consider perturbations of 2D CFTs by multiple relevant operators. The massive phases of such perturbations can be labeled by conformal boundary conditions. Cardy’s variational ansatz approximates the vacuum state of the perturbed theory by a smeared conformal boundary state. In this paper we study the limitations and propose generalisations of this ansatz using both analytic and numerical insights based on TCSA. In particular we analyse the stability of Cardy’s ansatz states with respect to boundary relevant perturbations using bulk-boundary OPE coefficients. We show that certain transitions between the massive phases arise from a pair of boundary RG flows. The RG flows start from the conformal boundary on the transition surface and end on those that lie on the two sides of it. As an example we work out the details of the phase diagram for the Ising field theory and for the tricritical Ising model perturbed by the leading thermal and magnetic fields. For the latter we find a pair of novel transition lines that correspond to pairs of RG flows. Although the mass gap remains finite at the transition lines, several one-point functions change their behaviour. We discuss how these lines fit into the standard phase diagram of the tricritical Ising model. We show that each line extends to a two-dimensional surface ξσ,c in a three coupling space when we add perturbations by the subleading magnetic field. Close to this surface we locate symmetry breaking critical lines leading to the critical Ising model. Near the critical lines we find first order phase transition lines describing two-phase coexistence regions as predicted in Landau theory. The surface ξσ,c is determined from the CFT data using Cardy’s ansatz and its properties are checked using TCSA numerics.

Original languageEnglish
Article number4
JournalJournal of High Energy Physics
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 2 Nov 2023


  • Boundary Quantum Field Theory
  • Field Theories in Lower Dimensions
  • Phase Transitions
  • Renormalization Group

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nuclear and High Energy Physics


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