In a conformal field theory the conditions on correlators can be divided into two steps
for a fixed cobordism the correlators need to depend in a certain way on the choice of conformal structure, they need to satisfy the Ward identities (e.g. Gawedzki 99, around p. 30);
the correlators need to glue correctly underly composition of cobordisms.
The spaces of functionals that satisfy the first of these conditions are called conformal blocks . The second condition is called the sewing constraint on conformal blocks.
So conformal blocks are something like “precorrelators” or “potential correlators” of a CFT.
The assignment of spaces of conformal blocks to surfaces and their isomorphisms under diffeomorphisms of these surfaces together constitutes the modular functor. Under CS/WZW holography this is essentially the data also given by the Hitchin connection, see at quantization of 3d Chern-Simons theory for more on this.
From a point of view closer to number theory and geometric Langlands correspondence elements of conformal blocks are naturally thought of (Beauville-Laszlo 93) as generalized theta functions (see there for more).
The conformal blocks at least of the WZW model are by a holographic correspondence given by the space of quantum states of 3d Chern-Simons theory. See at AdS3-CFT2 and CS-WZW correspondence.
For the $G$-WZW model the assignment of spaces of conformal blocks, hence by the above equivalently modular functor for $G$-Chern-Simons theory restricted to genus-1 surfaces (elliptic curves) is essentially what is encoded in the universal $G$-equivariant elliptic cohomology (equivariant tmf). In fact equivariant elliptic cohomology remembers also the pre-quantum incarnation of the modular functor as a systems of prequantum line bundles over Chern-Simons phase spaces (which are moduli stacks of flat connections) and remembers the quantization-process from there to the actual space of quantum states by forming holomorphic sections. See at equivariant elliptic cohomology – Idea – Interpretation in Quantum field theory for more on this.
holographic principle in quantum field theory
bulk field theory | boundary field theory |
---|---|
dimension $n+1$ | dimension $n$ |
field | source |
wave function | correlation function |
space of quantum states | conformal blocks |
A review is around p. 30 of
Detailed discussion in terms of conformal nets is in
See also
Relation to theta functions:
Arnaud Beauville, Yves Laszlo, Conformal blocks and generalized theta functions, Comm. Math. Phys. 164 (1994), 385 - 419, euclid, alg-geom/9309003, MR1289330
Arnaud Beauville, Conformal blocks, fusion rings and the Verlinde formula, Proc. of the Hirzebruch 65 Conf. on Algebraic Geometry, Israel Math. Conf. Proc. 9, 75-96 (1996) pdf
Krzysztof Gawędzki, Lectures on CFT (from Park City, published in QFT and strings for mathematicians, Dijkgraaf at al editors, site, source, dvi, ps
A.A. Beilinson, Yu.I. Manin, V.V. Schechtman, Sheaves of Virasoro and Neveu-Schwarz algebras, Lecture Notes in Math. 1289, Springer 1987, 52–66
A.Mironov, A.Morozov, Sh.Shakirov, Conformal blocks as Dotsenko-Fateev integral discriminants, arxiv/1001.0563
Conformal blocks for self-dual higher gauge theory are discussed in