The puzzle of global Double Field Theory: Open problems and the case for a Higher Kaluza-Klein perspective

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The history of the geometry of Double Field Theory is the history of string theorists' effort to tame higher geometric structures. In this spirit, the first part of this paper will contain a brief overview on the literature of geometry of DFT, focusing on the attempts of a global description. In [1] we proposed that the global doubled space is not a manifold, but the total space of a bundle gerbe. This would mean that DFT is a field theory on a bundle gerbe, in analogy with ordinary Kaluza-Klein Theory being a field theory on a principal bundle. In this paper we make the original construction by [1] significantly more immediate. This is achieved by introducing an atlas for the bundle gerbe. This atlas is naturally equipped with 2d-dimensional local charts, where d is the dimension of physical spacetime. We argue that the local charts of this atlas should be identified with the usual coordinate description of DFT. In the last part we will discuss aspects of the global geometry of tensor hierarchies in this bundle gerbe picture. This allows to identify their global non-geometric properties and explain how the picture of non-abelian String-bundles emerges. We interpret the abelian T-fold and the Poisson-Lie T-fold as global tensor hierarchies.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2000102
Number of pages37
JournalFortschritte der Physik
Issue number7
Early online date20 May 2021
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2021


  • hep-th


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