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Anti-de Sitter space

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"AdS" redirects here. For other uses, see ADS (disambiguation).
In mathematics and physics, n-dimensional anti-de Sitter space, sometimes written AdSn, is a maximally
symmetric Lorentzian manifold with constant negative scalar curvature. It is the Lorentzian analogue of ndimensional hyperbolic space, just as Minkowski space and de Sitter space are the analogues of Euclidean
and elliptical spaces respectively.
It is best known for its role in the AdS/CFT correspondence. The Anti-de Sitter space, as well as the de Sitter
space is named after Willem de Sitter (1872-1934), professor of astronomy at Leiden University and director
of the Leiden Observatory. Willem de Sitter and Albert Einstein worked in the 1920s in Leiden closely
together on the space-time structure of the universe.
In the language of general relativity, anti-de Sitter space is a maximally symmetric, vacuum solution of
Einstein's field equation with a negative (attractive) cosmological constant (corresponding to a negative
vacuum energy density and positive pressure).
In mathematics, anti-de Sitter space is sometimes defined more generally as a space of arbitrary signature (p,
q). Generally in physics only the case of one timelike dimension is relevant. Because of differing sign
conventions, this may correspond to a signature of either (n1, 1) or (1, n1).

Contents

1 Non-technical explanation
o 1.1 Technical terms translated
o 1.2 Spacetime in general relativity
o 1.3 de Sitter space distinguished from spacetime in general relativity
o 1.4 anti-de Sitter space distinguished from de Sitter space
o 1.5 de Sitter space and anti-de Sitter space as five-dimensional geometries
o 1.6 Caveats

2 Definition and properties


o 2.1 Closed timelike curves and the universal cover
o 2.2 Symmetries

3 Coordinate patches

4 As a homogeneous, symmetric space

5 A simple definition for anti-de Sitter space and its properties

o 5.1 Global coordinates


o 5.2 Poincar coordinates
o 5.3 Geometric properties

6 References

Non-technical explanation
This non-technical explanation first defines the terms used in the introductory material of this entry. Then, it
briefly sets forth the underlying idea of a general relativity-like spacetime. Then it discusses how de Sitter
space describes a distinct variant of the ordinary spacetime of general relativity (called Minkowski space)
related to the cosmological constant, and how anti-de Sitter space differs from de Sitter space. It also
explains that Minkowski space, de Sitter space and anti-de Sitter space, as applied to general relativity, can
all be thought of as five-dimensional versions of spacetime. Finally, it offers some caveats that describe in
general terms how this non-technical explanation fails to capture the full detail of the concept that is found
in the mathematics.

Technical terms translated


A maximally symmetric Lorentzian manifold corresponds to a general relativity-like spacetime in which
time and space in all directions are mathematically equivalent.
A constant scalar curvature means a general relativity gravity-like bending of spacetime that has a curvature
described by a single number that is the same everywhere in spacetime in the absence of matter or energy.
Negative curvature means curved hyperbolically, like a saddle surface or the Gabriel's Horn surface, similar
to that of a trumpet bell. It might be described as being the "opposite" of the surface of a sphere which has a
positive curvature. A negative curvature corresponds to an attractive force, while a positive curvature such as
a sphere corresponds to a repulsive force.
The AdS/CFT (anti-de Sitter space/conformal field theory) correspondence is an idea originally proposed by
Juan Maldacena in late 1997. The AdS/CFT correspondence is the idea that it is possible in general to
describe a force in quantum mechanics (like electromagnetism, the weak force or the strong force) in a
certain number of dimensions (for example four) with a string theory where the strings exist in an anti-de
Sitter space, with one additional dimension.
A quantum field theory is a set of equations and rules for using them of the kind used in quantum mechanics
to describe forces (such as electromagnetism, the weak force and the strong force) in a way that is not
mathematically unstable.
A conformal field theory is basically a quantum field theory that is scale invariant. Thus, the equations work
the same way if you put inputs with consistent units into them, even if you don't know what the unit in
question happens to be. In contrast, in a scale variant quantum field theory, the force would behave in a
qualitatively different way at short distances than at long distances.
The AdS/CFT correspondence is notable because it is not obvious that quantum field theories can be
represented geometrically. Quantum field theories involve quantities that when explained to non-experts are
commonly described as representing intangible ideas like probabilities and possible paths that a quantum
could take to get from one place to another. The connection of quantum field theories to a physical
geometric description is less obvious than the connection between the classical equations (i.e. non-quantum
mechanical descriptions of gravity and electromagnetism) and geometry. There are no non-quantum

mechanical equations for the weak nuclear force and the strong nuclear force, the other two fundamental
forces.

Spacetime in general relativity


General relativity is a theory of the nature of time, space and gravity in which gravity is a curvature of space
and time that results from the presence of matter or energy. Energy and matter are equivalent (as expressed
in the equation E = mc2), and space and time can be translated into equivalent units based on the speed of
light (c in the E = mc2 equation).
A common analogy involves the way that a dip in a flat sheet of rubber, caused by a heavy object sitting on
it, influences the path taken by small objects rolling nearby, causing them to deviate inward from the path
they would have followed had the heavy object been absent. Of course, in general relativity, both the small
and large objects mutually influence the curvature of spacetime.
The attractive force of gravity created by matter is due to a negative curvature of spacetime, represented in
the rubber sheet analogy by the negatively-curved (trumpet-bell-like) dip in the sheet.
A key feature of general relativity is that it describes gravity not as a conventional force like
electromagnetism, but as a change in the geometry of spacetime that results from the presence of matter or
energy.
The analogy used above describes the curvature of a two-dimensional space caused by gravity in general
relativity in a three-dimensional superspace in which the third dimension corresponds to the effect of
gravity. A geometrical way of thinking about general relativity describes the effects of the gravity in the real
world four-dimensional space geometrically by projecting that space into a five-dimensional superspace
with the fifth dimension corresponding to the curvature in spacetime that is produced by gravity and gravitylike effects in general relativity.
As a result, in general relativity, the familiar Newtonian equation of gravity
(i.e. gravitation
pull between two objects equals the gravitational constant times the product of their masses divided by the
square of the distance between them) is merely an approximation of the gravity-like effects seen in general
relativity. However this approximation becomes inaccurate in extreme physical situations. For example, in
general relativity, objects in motion have a slightly different gravitation effect than objects at rest.
Some of the differences between the familiar Newtonian equation of gravity and the predictions of general
relativity flow from the fact that gravity in general relativity bends both time and space, not just space. In
normal circumstances, gravity bends time so slightly that the differences between Newtonian gravity and
general relativity are impossible to detect without precise instruments.

de Sitter space distinguished from spacetime in general relativity


Fundamentally, the key concept behind the idea of de Sitter space is that it involves a variation on the
spacetime of general relativity in which spacetime is itself slightly curved even in the absence of matter or
energy.
The relationship of the normal idea of the spacetime in which general relativity operates to the de Sitter
space is analogous to the relationship between Euclidean geometry (i.e. in two dimensions, the geometry of
flat surfaces) and non-Euclidean geometry (i.e. in two dimensions, the geometries of surfaces that are not
flat).
An inherent curvature of spacetime even in the absence of matter or energy is another way of thinking about
the idea of the cosmological constant in general relativity. An inherent curvature of spacetime and the
cosmological constant are also equivalent to the idea that a vacuum (i.e. empty space without any matter or
energy in it) has a fundamental energy of its own.

In the common analogy of an object causing a dip in a flat cloth, normal de Sitter space has a curvature
analogous to a flat cloth sitting atop a sphere with a very slight curvature because it is so large. Empty de
Sitter space is slightly repulsive; it has a slight natural curvature in the opposite direction of the curvature in
spacetime created by a massive object. It is a way of saying that gravity plays out against the background of
a slightly anti-gravitational empty space.
Normal de Sitter space corresponds to the positive cosmological constant that is observed in reality, with the
size of the cosmological constant being equivalent to the curvature of the de Sitter space.
de Sitter space can also be thought of as a general relativity-like spacetime in which empty space itself has
some energy, which causes this spacetime (i.e. the universe) to expand at an ever greater rate.

anti-de Sitter space distinguished from de Sitter space


An anti-de Sitter space, in contrast, is a general relativity-like spacetime, where in the absence of matter or
energy, the curvature of spacetime is naturally hyperbolic.
In the common analogy of an object causing a dip in a flat cloth, anti-de Sitter space has a curvature
analogous to a flat cloth sitting on a saddle, with a very slight curvature because it is so large. This would
correspond to a negative cosmological constant (something not observed in the real life cosmos). Anti-de
Sitter space can also be thought of as a general relativity like spacetime in which empty space itself has
negative energy, which causes this spacetime (i.e. the universe) to collapse in on itself at an ever greater rate.
In an anti-de Sitter space, as in a de Sitter space, the extent of inherent spacetime curvature corresponds to
the magnitude of the negative cosmological constant to which it is equivalent.

de Sitter space and anti-de Sitter space as five-dimensional geometries


As noted above, the analogy used above describes curvature of a two-dimensional space caused by gravity
in general relativity in a three-dimensional superspace in which the third dimension corresponds to the effect
of gravity. More generally, a geometrical approach to general relativity describes the effect of gravity as a
curvature of the four dimensions of spacetime in a fifth dimension that corresponds to gravity and gravitylike effects in general relativity. When this five-dimensional superspace describes a version of general
relativity without a cosmological constant, it is called Minkowski space.
The concepts of de Sitter space and anti-de Sitter space describe the effects of the cosmological constant in
the real world four-dimensional space geometrically by projecting that space into a five-dimensional
superspace with the fifth dimension corresponding to the curvature in time and space that is produced by
gravity and gravity-like effects in general relativity such as the cosmological constant.
While anti-de Sitter space does not correspond to gravity in general relativity with the observed
cosmological constant, an anti-de Sitter space is believed to correspond to other forces in quantum
mechanics (like electromagnetism, the weak nuclear force and the strong nuclear force) described via string
theory. This is called the AdS/CFT correspondence.
Note also that while an anti-de Sitter space would describe general relativity with a negative cosmological
constant in five dimensions (four for spacetime and one for the effect of the cosmological constant), the idea
is actually more general. One can have an anti-de Sitter space (or a de Sitter space) in an arbitrary number of
dimensions. The generality of the concepts of de Sitter space and anti-de Sitter space make them useful in
theoretical physics, particularly in string theory, that often assume a world with more than four dimensions.

Caveats
Naturally, as the remainder of this article explains in technical detail, the general concepts described in this
non-technical explanation of anti-de Sitter space have a much more rigorous and precise mathematical and

physical description. People are ill suited to visualizing things in five or more dimensions, but mathematical
equations are not similarly challenged and can represent five-dimensional concepts in a way just as
appropriate as the methods that mathematical equations use to describe easier to visualize three and fourdimensional concepts.
There is a particularly important implication of the more precise mathematical description that differs from
the analogy based heuristic description of de Sitter space and anti-de Sitter space above. The mathematical
description of anti-de Sitter space generalizes the idea of curvature. In the mathematical description,
curvature is a property of a particular point and can be divorced from some invisible surface to which curved
points in spacetime meld themselves. So, for example, concepts like singularities (the most widely known of
which in general relativity is the black hole) which cannot be expressed completely in a real world geometry,
can correspond to particular states of a mathematical equation.
The full mathematical description also captures some subtle distinctions made in general relativity between
space-like dimensions and time-like dimensions.

Definition and properties


Much as elliptical and hyperbolic spaces can be visualized by an isometric embedding in a flat space of one
higher dimension (as the sphere and pseudosphere respectively), anti-de Sitter space can be visualized as the
Lorentzian analogue of a sphere in a space of one additional dimension. To a physicist the extra dimension is
timelike, while to a mathematician it is negative; in this article we adopt the convention that timelike
dimensions are negative so that these notions coincide.

Image of (1 + 1)-dimensional anti-de Sitter space embedded in flat (1 + 2)-dimensional space. The t1 and t2
axes lie in the plane of rotational symmetry, and the x1 axis is normal to that plane. The embedded surface
contains closed timelike curves circling the x1 axis, but these can be eliminated by "unrolling" the
embedding (more precisely, by taking the universal cover).
The anti-de Sitter space of signature (p,q) can then be isometrically embedded in the space
coordinates (x1, ..., xp, t1, ..., tq+1) and the pseudometric

as the sphere

with

where is a nonzero constant with dimensions of length (the radius of curvature). Note that this is a sphere
in the sense that it is a collection of points at constant metric distance from the origin, but visually it is a
hyperboloid, as in the image shown.
The metric on anti-de Sitter space is the metric induced from the ambient metric. One can check that the
induced metric is nondegenerate and has Lorentzian signature.
When q = 0, this construction gives ordinary hyperbolic space. The remainder of the discussion applies
when q 1.

Closed timelike curves and the universal cover


When q 1, the embedding above has closed timelike curves; for example, the path parameterized by
and all other coordinates zero is such a curve. When q 2 these curves
are inherent to the geometry (unsurprisingly, as any space with more than one temporal dimension will
contain closed timelike curves), but when q = 1, they can be eliminated by passing to the universal covering
space, effectively "unrolling" the embedding. A similar situation occurs with the pseudosphere, which curls
around on itself although the hyperbolic plane does not; as a result it contains self-intersecting straight lines
(geodesics) while the hyperbolic plane does not. Some authors define anti-de Sitter space as equivalent to
the embedded sphere itself, while others define it as equivalent to the universal cover of the embedding.
Generally the latter definition is the one of interest in physics.

Symmetries
If the universal cover is not taken, (p,q) anti-de Sitter space has O(p,q+1) as its isometry group. If the
universal cover is taken the isometry group is a cover of O(p,q+1). This is most easily understood by
defining anti-de Sitter space as a symmetric space, using the quotient space construction, given below.

Coordinate patches
A coordinate patch covering part of the space gives the half-space coordinatization of anti-de Sitter space.
The metric for this patch is

with
giving the half-space. We easily see that this metric is conformally equivalent to a flat half-space
Minkowski spacetime.
The constant time slices of this coordinate patch are hyperbolic spaces in the Poincar half-plane metric. In
the limit as
, this half-space metric is conformally equivalent to the Minkowski metric
. Thus, the anti-de Sitter space contains a conformal Minkowski space at infinity
("infinity" having y-coordinate zero in this patch).
In AdS space time is periodic, and the universal cover has non-periodic time. The coordinate patch above
covers half of a single period of the spacetime.
Because the conformal infinity of AdS is timelike, specifying the initial data on a spacelike hypersurface
would not determine the future evolution uniquely (i.e. deterministically) unless there are boundary
conditions associated with the conformal infinity.

The "half-space" region of anti-deSitter space and its boundary.


Another commonly used coordinate system which covers the entire space is given by the coordinates t,
and the hyper-polar coordinates , and .

The image on the right represents the "half-space" region of anti-deSitter space and its boundary. The
interior of the cylinder corresponds to anti-de Sitter spacetime, while its cylindrical boundary corresponds to
its conformal boundary. The green shaded region in the interior corresponds to the region of AdS covered by
the half-space coordinates and it is bounded by two null, aka lightlike, geodesic hyperplanes; the green
shaded area on the surface corresponds to the region of conformal space covered by Minkowski space.
The green shaded region covers half of the AdS space and half of the conformal spacetime; the left ends of
the green discs will touch in the same fashion as the right ends.

As a homogeneous, symmetric space


In the same way that the 2-sphere

is a quotient of two orthogonal groups, anti-de Sitter with parity (reflectional symmetry) and time reversal
symmetry can be seen as a quotient of two generalized orthogonal groups

whereas AdS without P or C can be seen as the quotient

of spin groups.
This quotient formulation gives
generalized orthogonal group

the structure of a homogeneous space. The Lie algebra of the


is given by matrices

,
where

is a skew-symmetric matrix. A complementary generator in the Lie algebra of

is

These two fulfill


. Explicit matrix computation shows that
and
Thus, anti-de Sitter is a reductive homogeneous space, and a non-Riemannian symmetric space.

A simple definition for anti-de Sitter space and its properties


is a n-dimensional solution for the theory of gravitation with EinsteinHilbert action with negative
cosmological constant , (
), i.e. the theory described by the following Lagrangian density:

Therefore it is a solution of the Einstein field equations:

where

is Einstein tensor and

is the metric of the space-time. Introducing the radius as

this solution can be immersed in a

dimensional space-time with signature

by the following constraint:

Global coordinates
is parametrized in global coordinates by the parameters

as:

where

parametrize a

sphere. i.e. we have


etc. The

,
metric in these coordinates is:

where
and
. Considering the periodicity of time and in order to avoid closed timelike
curves (CTC), one should take the universal cover
. In the limit
one can approach to the
boundary of this space-time usually called
conformal boundary.
With the transformations
coordinates:

and

we can have the usual

metric in global

where

Poincar coordinates
By the following parametrization:

the

metric in the Poincar coordinates is:

in which
. The codimension 2 surface
is Poincar Killing horizon and
approaches to
the boundary of
space-time, so unlike the global coordinates, the Poincar coordinates do not cover
all

where

manifold. Using

this metric can be written in the following way:

. By the transformation

Geometric properties

also it can be written as:

metric with radius is one of the maximal symmetric n-dimensional space-times with the following
geometric properties:
Riemann curvature tensor:

Ricci curvature:

Scalar curvature:

References

Bengtsson, Ingemar: Anti-de Sitter space. Lecture notes.

Qingming Cheng (2001), "Anti-de Sitter space", in Hazewinkel, Michiel, Encyclopedia of


Mathematics, Springer, ISBN 978-1-55608-010-4

Ellis, G. F. R.; Hawking, S. W. The large scale structure of space-time. Cambridge university press
(1973). (see pages 131-134).

Frances, C: The conformal boundary of anti-de Sitter space-times. AdS/CFT correspondence:


Einstein metrics and their conformal boundaries, 205216, IRMA Lect. Math. Theor. Phys., 8, Eur.
Math. Soc., Zrich, 2005.

Matsuda, H. A note on an isometric imbedding of upper half-space into the anti-de Sitter space.
Hokkaido Mathematical Journal Vol.13 (1984) p. 123-132.

Wolf, Joseph A. Spaces of constant curvature. (1967) p. 334.

Categories:

Exact solutions in general relativity

Differential geometry

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