Weyl connections and their role in holography

Luca Ciambelli, Robert G. Leigh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


It is a well-known property of holographic theories that diffeomorphism invariance in the bulk space-time implies Weyl invariance of the dual holographic field theory in the sense that the field theory couples to a conformal class of background metrics. The usual Fefferman-Graham formalism, which provides us with a holographic dictionary between the two theories, breaks explicitly this symmetry by choosing a specific boundary metric and a corresponding specific metric ansatz in the bulk. In this paper, we show that a simple extension of the Fefferman-Graham formalism allows us to sidestep this explicit breaking; one finds that the geometry of the boundary includes an induced metric and an induced connection on the tangent bundle of the boundary that is a Weyl connection (rather than the more familiar Levi-Civita connection uniquely determined by the induced metric). Properly invoking this boundary geometry has far-reaching consequences: The holographic dictionary extends and naturally encodes Weyl-covariant geometrical data, and, most importantly, the Weyl anomaly gains a clearer geometrical interpretation, cohomologically relating two Weyl-transformed volumes. The boundary theory is enhanced due to the presence of the Weyl current, which participates with the stress tensor in the boundary Ward identity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number086020
JournalPhysical Review D
Issue number8
StatePublished - Apr 15 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physics and Astronomy (miscellaneous)


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