Supersymmetric Quantum Mechanics, Index Theorems and Equivariant Cohomology

University essay from Uppsala universitet/Teoretisk fysik

Abstract: In this thesis, we investigate supersymmetric quantum mechanics (SUSYQM) and its relation to index theorems and equivariant cohomology. We define some basic constructions on super vector spaces in order to set the language for the rest of the thesis. The path integral in quantum mechanics is reviewed together with some related calculational methods and we give a path integral expression for the Witten index. Thereafter, we discuss the structure of SUSYQM in general. One shows that the Witten index can be taken to be the difference in dimension of the bosonic and fermionic zero energy eigenspaces. In the subsequent section, we derive index theorems. The models investigated are the supersymmetric non-linear sigma models with one or two supercharges. The former produces the index theorem for the spin-complex and the latter the Chern-Gauss-Bonnet Theorem. We then generalise to the case when a group action (by a compact connected Lie group) is included and want to consider the orbit space as the underlying space, in which case equivariant cohomology is introduced. In particular, the Weil and Cartan models are investigated and SUSYQM Lagrangians are derived using the obtained differentials. The goal was to relate this to gauge quantum mechanics, which was unfortunately not successful. However, what was shown was that the Euler characteristics of a closed oriented manifold and its homotopy quotient by U(1)n coincide.

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