Types of quantum field thories
(Here the notion of covariant derivative includes the usual Levi-Civita connection, but also in general torsion components and contributions from other background gauge fields such as a Kalb-Ramond field and the RR-fields in type II supergravity or heterotic supergravity.)
Of particular interest to phenomenologists around the turn of the millenium (but maybe less so today with new experimental evidence) has been in KK-compactification solutions of spacetime manifolds of the form for the locally observed Minkowski spacetime (that plays a role as the background for all available particle accelerator experiments) and a small closed 6-dimensional Riemannian manifold .
In the absence of further fields besides gravity, the condition that such a configuration has precisely one Killing spinor and hence precisely one global supersymmetry turns out to tbe precisely that is a Calabi-Yau manifold. One such remaining global supersymmetry in the lowe energy effective field theory in 4-dimensions is or was believed to be of relevance in phenomenology, see for instance the supersymmetric MSSM extension of the standard model of particle physics. This is where all the interest into these Calaboi-Yau manifolds in string theory comes from. (Notice though that nothing in the theory itself demands such a compactification. It is only the phenomenological assumption of the factorized spacetime compactification together with supersymmetry that does so).
Alternatively, if one starts the KK-compactification not from 10-dimensional string theory but from 11-dimensional supergravity/M-theory, then the condition for the KK-compactification to preserved precisely one global supersymmetry is that it be on a G2-manifold. For more on this see at M-theory on G2-manifolds.
The original references are
and chapters 12 - 16 of
A canonical textbook reference for the role of Calabi-Yau manifolds in compactifications of 10-dimensional supergravity is
Pierre Deligne, Pavel Etingof, Dan Freed, L. Jeffrey, David Kazhdan, John Morgan, D.R. Morrison and Edward Witten, eds. , Quantum Fields and Strings, A course for mathematicians, 2 vols. Amer. Math. Soc. Providence 1999. (web version)
Discussion of generalized Calabi-Yau backgrounds is for instance in