Finite N and the failure of bulk locality: black holes in AdS/CFT

Daniel Kabat, Gilad Lifschytz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Abstract: We consider bulk quantum fields in AdS/CFT in the background of an eternal black hole. We show that for black holes with finite entropy, correlation functions of semiclassical bulk operators close to the horizon deviate from their semiclassical value and are ill-defined inside the horizon. This is due to the large-time behavior of correlators in a unitary CFT, and means the region near and inside the horizon receives corrections. We give a prescription for modifying the definition of a bulk field in a black hole background, such that one can still define operators that mimic the inside of the horizon, but at the price of violating microcausality. For supergravity fields we find that commutators at spacelike separation generically ~ e−S/2. Similar results hold for stable black holes that form in collapse. The general lesson may be that a small amount of non-locality, even over arbitrarily large spacelike distances, is an essential aspect of non-perturbative quantum gravity.

Original languageEnglish
Article number77
Pages (from-to)1-32
Number of pages32
JournalJournal of High Energy Physics
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2014

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2014, The Author(s).


  • AdS-CFT Correspondence
  • Black Holes in String Theory
  • Models of Quantum Gravity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nuclear and High Energy Physics


Dive into the research topics of 'Finite N and the failure of bulk locality: black holes in AdS/CFT'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this