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Higher-form symmetries, anomalous magnetohydrodynamics, and holography

Arpit Das, Ruth Gregory, Nabil Iqbal

SciPost Phys. 14, 163 (2023) · published 20 June 2023


In $U(1)$ Abelian gauge theory coupled to fermions, the non-conservation of the axial current due to the chiral anomaly is given by a dynamical operator $F_{\mu\nu} \tilde{F}^{\mu\nu}$ constructed from the field-strength tensor. We attempt to describe this physics in a universal manner by casting this operator in terms of the 2-form current for the 1-form symmetry associated with magnetic flux conservation. We construct a holographic dual with this symmetry breaking pattern and study some aspects of finite temperature anomalous magnetohydrodynamics. We explicitly calculate the charge susceptibility and the axial charge relaxation rate as a function of temperature and magnetic field and compare to recent lattice results. At small magnetic fields we find agreement with elementary hydrodynamics weakly coupled to an electrodynamic sector, but we find deviations at larger fields.

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