Non-perturbative unitarity constraints on the ratio of shear viscosity to entropy density in ultraviolet-complete theories with a gravity dual Academic Article uri icon


  • We reconsider, from a novel perspective, how unitarity constrains the corrections to the ratio of shear viscosity η to entropy density s. We start with higher-derivative extensions of Einstein gravity in asymptotically anti-de Sitter spacetimes. It is assumed that these theories are derived from string theory and thus have a unitary UV completion that is dual to a unitary, UV-complete boundary gauge theory. We then propose that the gravitational perturbations about a solution of the UV-complete theory are described by an effective theory whose linearized equations of motion have at most two time derivatives. Our proposal leads to a concrete prescription for the calculation of η/s for theories of gravity with arbitrary higher-derivative corrections. The resulting ratio can take on values above or below 1/4 π and is consistent with all the previous calculations, even though our reasoning is substantially different. For the pur...

publication date

  • January 1, 2011