Entanglement entropy in three dimensional gravity

Entanglement entropy in three dimensional gravity

Henry Maxfield h.d.maxfield@durham.ac.uk

The Ryu-Takayanagi (RT) and covariant Hubeny-Rangamani-Takayanagi (HRT) proposals relate entanglement entropy in CFTs with holographic duals to the areas of minimal or extremal surfaces in the bulk geometry. We show how, in three dimensional pure gravity, the relevant regulated geodesic lengths can be obtained by writing a spacetime as a quotient of , with the problem reduced to a simple purely algebraic calculation. We explain how this works in both Lorentzian and Euclidean formalisms, before illustrating its use to obtain novel results in a number of examples, including rotating BTZ, the geon, and several wormhole geometries. This includes spatial and temporal dependence of single-interval entanglement entropy, despite these symmetries being broken only behind an event horizon. We also discuss considerations allowing HRT to be derived from analytic continuation of Euclidean computations in certain contexts, and a related class of complexified extremal surfaces.

AdS-CFT correspondence, Entanglement entropy
institutetext: Centre for Particle Theory & Department of Mathematical Sciences,
Durham University, South Road, Durham DH1 3LE, UK.



1 Introduction

A central feature of quantum systems, distinguishing them from classical ones, is entanglement. In holographic theories, there is an intimate relationship between this quantum mechanical property and geometry. One concrete realisation of this relationship is embodied in the Ryu-Takayanagi (RT) prescription Ryu:2006ef (); Ryu:2006bv () and its covariant Hubeny-Rangamani-Takayanagi (HRT) generalisation Hubeny:2007xt (), which equates the entanglement entropy of a spatial region in the field theory to the area of an extremal surface in the bulk geometry. The entanglement entropy is a natural and useful quantity in field theory, but is notoriously difficult to compute in most circumstances. The gravitational calculation is in many cases much more tractable, so offers a practical way to study the properties and dynamics of entanglement.

Three dimensional gravity has no local degrees of freedom, which makes it a particularly useful setting in which to obtain analytic results. One way of understanding this is that the Ricci tensor specifies the Riemann tensor completely, a consequence of which is that solutions of pure gravity with negative cosmological constant are necessarily isometric to pure locally. Despite this, there is still a rich set of solutions that differ from globally, obtained by taking a quotient of a subset of by some group of isometries. The simplest such solution is the BTZ black hole Banados:1992wn (); Banados:1992gq (), later generalised to ‘wormholes’ with any number of asymptotic boundaries, joined through regions with possibly nontrivial topology Brill:1995jv (); Aminneborg:1997pz (); Brill:1998pr (), and possibly rotating Aminneborg:1998si (). Further generalisations include non-orientable manifolds, see Yin:2007at () for example. In many cases, there is a known candidate to construct the CFT state dual to these geometries Skenderis:2009ju (); Krasnov:2000zq (), generalising the interpretation of an eternal black hole as a thermofield double state Maldacena:2001kr ().

A priori, the calculation of entanglement entropies, even with holography and with the simplifications of three dimensions, appears challenging in these geometries. It requires finding geodesics, imposing an appropriate infrared cutoff and then integrating their lengths, possibly in a space with complicated topology and no symmetry, and requiring several coordinate patches. The main result of this paper is to show that this apparent difficulty can be circumvented, and in fact the geodesic lengths can be found purely from algebra. With a description of a spacetime as a quotient in hand, the lengths are computed simply from the trace of a product of matrices, representing points on the boundary and elements of the quotient group.

From a computational point of view, the advantages of this approach are obvious: many lengths can be calculated very quickly and algorithmically, allowing for very detailed investigations of entanglement entropy in these geometries. We demonstrate this utility in section 3, by computations in several examples. We begin for illustration by reproducing known results in rotating BTZ, a single line computation once the black hole has been written as a quotient. We then move on to the geon to demonstrate the generalisation to nonorientable spacetimes, and describe the structure of entanglement in the associated pure CFT state. The final two examples are more complicated wormholes, the first with three asymptotic regions and the second a black hole with a single exterior but a torus behind the horizon. Entanglement in multi-boundary wormhole geometries has been considered already in Balasubramanian:2014hda (), but only between entire boundaries; the techniques here allow a relatively straightforward extension of this to subintervals.

From a more conceptual standpoint, the description of entanglement entropies obtained may be useful for understanding the status and origin of the RT and HRT prescriptions. In section 4, we discuss one such use, namely to show how HRT may follow from an analytic continuation of a Euclidean quantum gravity computation Lewkowycz:2013nqa () in some circumstances. This also throws up a related issue, that if geodesics computing entanglement entropy are to be understood as coming from such a Euclidean path integral, there are circumstances where there may be no geometric realisation of a relevant Euclidean geodesic in the Lorentzian spacetime. This leads to a very precise and specific notion of complexified (from the Lorentzian standpoint) entangling surface. We discuss how this may occur, and use the Euclidean version of the technology developed earlier to show in a simple example that the complex geodesics we describe are subdominant.

We conclude with a discussion of the results, and indicate some possible directions of future study. These include studies of entanglement in a variety of interesting geometries, as well as some avenues to better understand the underlying origin and properties of RT and HRT.

2 Lengths of geodesics in quotients of

This section constructs the procedure for calculating entanglement entropy in constant negative curvature geometries. The approach we use relies on a description of as the group manifold, in which the isometries and boundary have a particularly nice algebraic structure, lending itself to construction of quotients and description of geodesics. We begin by reviewing this presentation of , before describing the natural representation of the boundary in this picture. We then look at geodesics, and define a useful notion of regularised length of boundary-to-boundary geodesics. We then put this to work in the context of quotient spacetimes, which leads us to the simple algebraic computation of entanglement entropies.

There is also an analogous construction in the Euclidean setting of quotients of , which we briefly describe in section 2.5. We then review considerations relating Lorentzian and Euclidean computations.

2.1 The structure of

The spacetime can be described conveniently as the group manifold of . Concretely, write as


and then is the embedded submanifold given by the one sheeted hyperboloid . Herein, we will choose units to set . Parametrising the hyperboloid by coordinates , we recover the more familiar metric


with both and periodic111Usually, it is necessary to take the universal cover by unwrapping the time circle. We won’t need to do this, since the quotient construction (save for the case of rotating BTZ) will remove the closed timelike curves. in .

The connected part of the isometry group is , which acts as , for and in , with the equivalence . In addition to this there are two distinct discrete symmetries, a spatial reflection and a time reversal, the latter acting by transposition .

Of particular importance is the diagonal subgroup . This action fixes symmetric matrices, of which there are two disconnected components, being the static slices (distinguished by the sign of the trace). This diagonal constitutes the set of isometries commuting with time reversal. We may identify the slice with the upper half plane model of the hyperbolic plane, by


where is in the upper half plane and denote its real and imaginary parts. Then these isometries act on the half plane by fractional linear transformations with real coefficients.

The Penrose diagram in LABEL:fig:Penrose is useful to describe both the spacetime itself, as well as the elements of making up the isometries. These are divided into hyperbolic, parabolic and elliptic, depending on the trace, as described in the caption of the figure. \@floatfigure\end@float

There is also a very natural description of the asymptotic boundary in this picture, represented by the entries of the matrix becoming large. By pulling out a factor which blows up, chosen to leave a piece with a finite limit, the points approached on the boundary can be represented by the space of singular real matrices modulo overall rescaling with an arbitrary positive constant. Any such matrix can alternatively be written as for some nonzero two-dimensional vectors . One choice of gauge fixes the overall scaling by choosing the vectors and to be unit, which leaves only a ambiguity of changing the signs of both vectors. This makes the boundary space a torus , and the slice is given by the circle .

In terms of the coordinates, this corresponds to taking at fixed . With null coordinates , , the resulting matrix is


and the periodicities of , along with the of flipping signs , reproduces the periodicities of . From this form it is clear how the acts on the boundary, with each factor acting separately as projective transformations on left- or right-moving null coordinates. Fixed points on the boundary of an isometry are points where and are eigenvectors of and respectively, with eigenvalues of the same sign.

The choice of positive scaling coincides precisely with a conformal factor in the boundary metric, with the unit vector choice above corresponding to the usual flat metric on the cylinder. We will review this in more detail after discussing the geodesic lengths, to which we now turn.

2.2 Lengths of geodesics

One advantage of this group manifold description is that the length of a geodesic between two points has a simple form. There are three cases, understood easily from the Penrose diagram LABEL:fig:Penrose. We are mostly interested in spacelike separated points , which means , so if is at the identity, is in region I. There is a unique spacelike geodesic between two such points, with length


This can be proven by using isometries to first bring to the identity, and then using the residual (with ) to bring to diagonal form so the length calculation is simple. The trace requirement ensures that this is possible, since it implies that has two distinct real positive eigenvalues and . Since is invariant under the action of the isometries, we recover the stated formula in general.

For completeness, we note that the proper time along geodesics connecting timelike separated points and with , (second point in region III or IV) is


and the choice of the branch of allows for cycling round the periodic time direction any number of times. Finally, null separated points have , and if there is no geodesic between and (with the second point in region II). The exception is the case when all timelike geodesics through also pass through , after proper time .

This can be usefully applied to define a regularised length of geodesics between points on the boundary. For any boundary point, we may choose a curve in such that at least one entry tends to infinity as , and has a finite but nonzero limit . This curve approaching the boundary can of course be chosen in many ways, and the resulting will differ by a positive constant of proportionality; the choice will amount to picking a regularisation scheme.

Given two such curves approaching spacelike separated points on the boundary, the distance between the points and is


where is the matrix rotating by angle , used to implement the inverse.

Motivated by this, we define a regularised length between the boundary points by subtracting off the divergent piece:


Notice that this depends on the choice of singular matrix to define each point, but the boundary is defined as the set of such matrices modulo positive rescalings; this is the dependence on the choice of regularisation.

If we choose to express the boundary points as , and , then this can also be expressed very simply as


where represents the rotation of by . This could alternatively be expressed with two-dimensional cross products of s and s, or determinants.

The choice of regularisation we describe here maps very simply to the usual IR cutoff prescription, where the lengths are measured up to some fixed radius in a Fefferman-Graham expansion. This expansion depends on the choice of boundary metric, which is fixed simply by the conformal factor relating it to the flat metric on the cylinder. Indeed, one may choose to be the radial Fefferman-Graham coordinate with the preferred choice of boundary metric, in which case the prescription is manifestly equivalent to the usual procedure of regulating at constant and dropping the cutoff dependent piece.

The flat metric comes from choosing and to be unit vectors as described above. To illustrate, on the static slice choosing gives , which, up to a factor of and the constant non-universal piece, reproduces the universal 2D CFT entanglement entropy on a circle in vacuum as expected.

When we move to discussing quotients, it will be necessary to make another choice of boundary metric, in particular one that is invariant under the action of the quotient group. If this is related to the flat metric as


then the representative matrix on the boundary is just a factor of larger than one built from unit vectors.

As a simple example of an alternative regularization on the slice, natural in Poincaré patch or planar coordinates, choose . This differs from the vacuum normalization by a conformal factor of , which is just right to give the metric of Minkowski space when extended to the diamond . The regularised length gives the entanglement entropy result , being the universal CFT result on a line in vacuum.

2.3 Quotients

Any constant negative curvature geometry can be obtained from a quotient of some subset of by a discrete group of isometries222Some, such as planar BTZ, must be obtained as a limit of such quotient geometries.. The technology we develop for computing regularised lengths of geodesics relies of having such a description for the spacetime of interest. We only briefly outline the aspects of the construction we need; for the full details see Aminneborg:1998si () for the general case, and Aminneborg:1997pz (); Brill:1995jv (); Brill:1998pr () for more on the special non-rotating case. An extension to allow orientation reversing isometries is relatively straightforward; we will not describe the details here, though an example will be given in section section 3.2.

Suppose we have a discrete group of hyperbolic isometries. The hyperbolic condition here means that the trace of both elements is greater than two, and ensures that the spacetime is free of conical singularities, closed timelike curves, or other singular features333Some other special classes of isometries including parabolic elements are important, for example for the extremal BTZ black hole (see Aminneborg:1998si (); Banados:1992gq ()), but only minor details change in what follows.. We can form a spacetime as the quotient of a particular covering space by the isometries. The covering space is formed from by removing all points to the future and past of any fixed point of an isometry lying on the boundary. In particular, the covering space on the boundary will be a (generically infinite) collection of diamonds with corners at the fixed points of some . The resulting bulk covering space is simply connected, so the fundamental group of the resulting geometry can be identified with .

It is easiest to understand the construction in the special ‘non-rotating’ case of being a subgroup of the diagonal , acting on the slice, modelled as the upper half plane, by fractional linear transformations. The quotient of the upper half plane obtained, which is a time-reflection invariant slice of the quotient geometry, will be a surface with some number of boundaries and handles. This can be thought of as any number of black hole exteriors joined behind the horizon with an arbitrary topology. See sections 3.4 and 3.3 for examples.

A geodesic in the quotient is represented by a set of geodesics in the covering space, related by elements of . Between any two spacelike separated boundary points and in , there will be many geodesics, in one-to-one correspondence with elements of . To see this, pick some representatives of and of in covering space. Each geodesic in the quotient will have a unique lift ending on . The other end of this lifted geodesic may be at any of the points , with , and these are all distinct since fixed points have been removed from the covering space. Topologically, this correspondence between geodesics and elements of results from the fact that each homotopy class of curves has a unique geodesic representative.

There is a subtlety here, that the lifted geodesic could leave the covering space , and hence not be an admissible geodesic in the quotient, but we show that this is impossible. This relies on a property of any spacelike geodesic in . Begin by constructing the pair of diamonds of boundary points spacelike separated from the endpoints of the geodesic. Now take the ‘causal wedges’ (see Hubeny:2012wa ()) in the bulk formed by the union of causal curves beginning and ending in one of these diamonds. The causal wedges are bounded by null surfaces to the past and future, and these intersect precisely at the geodesic. The consequence of this is that the past of the geodesic on the boundary is exactly the past of its endpoints, being the past of the pair of diamonds. Another way of stating this is that the geodesics satisfy causality in the sense of Headrick:2014cta (), but only marginally. Now if there is a fixed point of on the boundary in the past of the geodesic, then it is also in the past of at least one of the endpoints. But in that case, the endpoint is not in the covering space, and does not represent a point on the boundary of the quotient geometry. Identical remarks apply with ‘past’ replaced by ‘future’, so no point of the geodesic leaves .

Now, we wish to compare the lengths of the various geodesics between two boundary points in the quotient. The lift of these geodesics to covering space will connect different endpoints, related by elements of . To make sure we are regulating consistently, we must ensure that the points at which we impose the infrared cutoff in different regions are images of one another under the appropriate element of . The result is that the singular matrices representing points on the boundary may not be chosen independently, but must be invariant under the action of : we may only choose a regularisation for a single lift of each point, and this will determine all its images’ regularisations. This choice of singular matrices can be considered as a choice of boundary metric, which must be invariant under the action of on the boundary.

So for each pair of points in , having chosen singular matrices to represent a lift of each, the consistent regularised lengths of geodesics between the points are given by


where and , .

In any quotient, the asymptotic regions approaching each boundary component are isometric to the external region of the BTZ black hole up to the horizon. Hence, a natural way to choose the regularisation is to reproduce the BTZ result for lengths of geodesics remaining outside the horizons, picking flat cylinder metrics on each boundary component. Locally, near each boundary, there will be two Killing vectors generating translations in space and time (though not extendible consistently into the whole interior). With this regularisation choice, matrices representing different points in the same asymptotic boundary will be related by the flow of these local symmetries. This leaves only one overall constant to be determined, fixed by matching to some standard normalisation for lengths between points at small separation, say for small intervals of length .

For computing entanglement entropy holographically, apart from geodesics ending on the boundary it is also required to be able to compute lengths of closed spacelike geodesics. A closed geodesic in the quotient again lifts to a set of geodesics in the covering space , each lift connecting a pair of fixed points on the boundary of some . This is the element which takes any point on the curve in covering space to a corresponding point obtained by following the geodesic for a single cycle. A different lift of the closed geodesic will connect fixed points of some conjugate to in . Hence, the closed geodesics are in one to one correspondence with conjugacy classes of . From a topological point of view, this says that each free homotopy class of loops444The standard definition of homotopies in the definition of the fundamental group requires beginning and ending loops on some fixed basepoint, necessary to give its group structure. Free homotopy here means homotopies of loops without the requirement to fix the basepoint. The equivalence classes under this larger set of homotopies are conjugacy classes of the fundamental group, conjugation corresponding to taking different paths linking a loop back to the basepoint. has exactly one geodesic representative.

This also gives us a simple way to compute the length of the closed geodesic. We can use the isometries of to send the fixed points of to and , and hence the geodesic to the straight line across the slice (being the diagonal matrices). It is then straightforward to compute


where for and in , with traces greater than 2 as required for the transformation to be hyperbolic.

2.4 Homology

In this description it is very easy to compute the homology classes of curves in order to algorithmically decide which combinations of open and closed geodesics are topologically admissible. We will take the criterion to be that the geodesics in the bulk, together with the intervals on the boundary whose entanglement we compute, when given appropriate orientations, should have trivial homology555This is in fact not quite the right thing if the spacetime is nonorientable. The required modification will be discussed in section 3.2.. In other terms, there must be a codimension-one oriented submanifold whose boundary is the interval along with the geodesics. This is essentially the prescription used to prove that known quantum mechanical properties of entanglement entropy, such as strong subadditivity, follow from the holographic prescription Headrick:2007km (); Wall:2012uf (). In the case of time-reflection symmetric geometries at the moment of time symmetry, where a Euclidean quantum gravity approach is available, this form of the homology constraint can be proven Haehl:2014zoa () under certain assumptions about the holographic replica trick Lewkowycz:2013nqa ().

As already commented upon, the fundamental group of the quotient space is isomorphic to the quotient group itself. The first homology group is the abelianisation of the fundamental group, so homology is obtained from homotopy simply by counting the number of each generator contained in any element .

For closed geodesics, this is entirely straightforward: closed curves are associated with conjugacy classes of , any representative of a conjugacy class will have the same nett number of each generator, and so any representative will do to compute the homology.

For open geodesics, it is equally straightforward if the representatives of boundary points are chosen appropriately. Any interval on the boundary of the quotient lifts to a collection of intervals on the boundary of covering space, and if the representatives of the endpoints are chosen from ends of the same component of the lifted interval, then the element associated with a geodesic will correspond to the homology class of the geodesic along with the interval. This means that the interval will be homotopic to the geodesic associated with the identity in . This will happen automatically if the representatives are obtained by translating with local Killing vectors in each component.

If there are geodesics between different asymptotic boundaries, and the endpoints of the intervals are chosen as above, this can be straightforwardly extended by combining the abelianisations of all elements of from the geodesics, taking care with signs666An individual geodesic going between different asymptotic regions does not have a meaningful homology class on its own, since without other bulk geodesics it can never form a closed loop. Only combinations that can be summed to make cycles have any invariant meaning..

2.5 The story in

There is an analogous picture in the Euclidean hyperbolic 3-space, by taking Hermitian (instead of real) matrices of unit determinant. In fact, this gives two disconnected copies of , which can be distinguished as positive and negative trace components.


Explicitly, this can be seen as the top sheet of the two-sheeted hyperboloid embedded in written as


given by . The normal ball model coordinates are


where .

Now the connected part of the isometry group is given by , acting by . There is one orientation reversing isometry, acting by transposition. This fixes an equatorial copy of the hyperbolic plane at , where the matrices are real symmetric, matching the static slice of precisely, and it is fixed by the obvious . This matching between the diagonal symmetry group in the Lorentzian case and real part of the symmetry group in the Euclidean case, along with identification of the static slice, will play an important rôle in certain contexts, as reviewed in section 2.6.

Once again, the boundary is approached when any entry of the matrix becomes large, so is represented by singular Hermitian matrices of positive trace, modulo real rescaling. These can be written as for some , with an equivalence under scaling by a nonzero complex number. In other words, the boundary is just the Riemann sphere . One particular canonical choice of can be made, for , in terms of which the isometry group then simply acts on the boundary by fractional linear transformations in the usual way.

Lengths of geodesics are again given by the formula


and the computation for regularised length between boundary points remains essentially unchanged, giving


where , and as before.

Hyperbolic manifolds can be obtained by taking a quotient with a discrete subgroup of , known as a Kleinian group, consisting of loxodromic or parabolic elements (excepting the identity) so that the quotient group acts without fixed points in the bulk. This is simpler than the Lorentzian case, since no points of the bulk need to be removed from the covering space. The boundary of the space will be a quotient by of a set of points on which acts ‘nicely’, known as the domain of discontinuity (which may be empty, giving a ‘closed universe’) and will result in a Riemann surface or orbifold.

Two special cases are worth mentioning here. Handlebody geometries, which loosely speaking are obtained from ‘filling in’ a closed Riemann surface of genus , are obtained from Schottky groups with generators, as discussed extensively in Krasnov:2000zq (). There are more ways to obtain a bulk with a given Riemann surface as its boundary, though there is a conjecture that the handlebodies are the dominant geometries holographically Yin:2007at (). Secondly, the groups which fix the equatorial slice are discrete subgroups of , known as Fuchsian groups, and these offer the most obvious mapping between Lorentzian and Euclidean spacetimes. These two classes overlap, so a group may be both Fuchsian and Schottky.

The lengths of geodesics in quotients are found in much the same manner as the Lorentzian case. The relevant formulae for geodesics joining boundary points represented by singular matrices is


for . The lengths of closed geodesics are given by


where is a representative of the conjugacy class of associated to the curve. Note that in the real case, these formulae all match the Lorentzian formulae in the diagonal case.

2.6 Matching between Euclidean and Lorentzian descriptions

The Euclidean geometries offer a natural way to describe the CFT state dual to a given quotient geometry, at least if the quotient group is in the diagonal Skenderis:2009ju (); Krasnov:2000zq (), generalising the duality between the eternal black hole and the thermofield double state Maldacena:2001kr ().

In this case there is a moment of time-reflection symmetry, which automatically has zero extrinsic curvature, so can also be described as a surface in a Euclidean geometry, which can be obtained by the quotient of by the same group , now in the real subgroup. The state on the slice can now be defined by a Hartle-Hawking procedure as being prepared by a path integral over the bottom half of the Euclidean spacetime.

The interpretation of the CFT state is the boundary analogue of this construction: a path integral over a Riemann surface with boundaries defines a state on those boundaries, as the wave functional evaluated on the field configuration given by the boundary conditions. The partition function is obtained from gluing a pair of these surfaces together at their boundaries, to give the Schottky double.

However, from any given Riemann surface, there will in general be many different bulk geometries with that boundary, and the partition function may be computed from any one of them depending on which is the dominant saddle point with smallest Euclidean action. As the moduli vary, the dominant saddle point will change, and the Euclidean bulk description will change. These transitions are a generalisation of the Hawking-Page phase transition. Assuming that the bulk does not spontaneously break the time reflection symmetry, the appropriate Lorentzian geometry can then be obtained by evolving from the time-reflection invariant slice of the dominant Euclidean saddle point. This may be disconnected, which results in a Lorentzian spacetime consisting of several disjoint components, though they are all connected in the Euclidean section. See also Balasubramanian:2014hda () for a more detailed discussion.

3 Examples

3.1 Btz

The simplest example of a quotient of is the BTZ black hole Banados:1992wn (); Banados:1992gq (), generated by a single hyperbolic element of . By conjugation, this can be chosen to be the result of exponentiating the Lie algebra elements (or equivalently Killing vectors)


with , so . The cases and correspond to extremal and static cases respectively.

This isometry fixes the two points and on the boundary, and so the boundary covering space is the pair of diamonds spacelike separated from both these points. As a result, the spacetime has two asymptotic boundaries, with the field theory interpretation of the two noninteracting but entangled halves of a thermofield double state.

This spacetime has two independent Killing vectors, generated by the matrices commuting with and , acting on the left and right respectively. These can be chosen as itself, generating spatial translations on the boundaries, and the orthogonal combination generating time translations, acting in opposite directions in the two asymptotic regions.

The description of the spacetime can be related to the more usual coordinates in one exterior region by


Acting with simply maps to , so implements the periodicity of the angular direction. The metric is then


In terms of the inner and outer horizon radii, the physical parameters of the black hole are its mass and angular momentum .

There is one closed geodesic for each element of , according to the correspondence with conjugacy classes of . These are geodesics wrapping the bifurcation circle times, and have length , as can be checked from equation (15).

The length calculations require choosing a singular matrix, or a pair of vectors, to represent one point on each boundary, normalised in some convenient way. A simple set of choices is at , with


with the subscripts labelling the region. The factor is chosen for a convenient standard normalisation. The regularised lengths are now extremely simple to compute, from equation (14), and by translating the points to the required locations with the Killing vectors and . Since these are Killing vectors, this translation need only be done to one endpoint, the other being placed at . Furthermore, the inclusion of group elements of labelling different geodesics corresponds to adding multiples of to to wrap round the spatial circle, so the lengths are all obtained from computing


The result between points on the same exterior region is


and for geodesics between opposite regions it is


where it should be borne in mind that the time evolution here is by the ‘’ Killing field which acts in opposite directions on the two boundaries. The first of these results reproduces the answer obtained with the original HRT proposal Hubeny:2007xt (), slightly generalised to allow for endpoints of the interval to lie at different times. The second can in fact be found from the first by analytically continuing in , and the result is given for example in Iizuka:2014wfa ().

With these expressions we could go on to study entanglement entropies of intervals, mutual information, including entanglement between the two halves of the thermofield double, and so forth. This has already been considered in detail in special cases, for example Hartman:2013qma (); Morrison:2012iz (), so we will not dwell on this but instead move on to our next example.

3.2 geon

We turn now to a simple example of a quotient including orientation reversing isometries, the geon, first discussed in relation to holography in Louko:1998hc ().

Spatial reflection in is implemented by conjugation with a traceless matrix of determinant , hence with eigenvalues and squaring to the identity, for example . Combining this with a hyperbolic element gives an isometry


The geon is obtained by taking the quotient under the group generated by , isomorphic to .

The element is an orientation preserving isometry, and the quotient under the subgroup of the even elements generated by it gives the nonrotating case of the BTZ black hole. Adding in the odd elements corresponds to taking the quotient of the black hole under the involution which swaps the two asymptotic regions, and also rotates half way round the spatial circle. This involution acts without fixed points, so the result is a smooth spacetime (except at the usual BTZ singularities). This leaves a geometry with a single exterior region, isometric to the black hole until the centre of the Einstein-Rosen bridge where the spatial circle has antipodal points identified, as an . Any time slice thus has the topology of a cylinder with the boundary at one end and a cross-cap inserted at the other, which gives a Möbius strip, or alternatively the real projective plane with a boundary, whence the name. \@floatfigure\end@float

In dimensions, this construction can be generalised to an geon by taking a quotient of a Schwarzschild or other more general spherically symmetric black hole with two exterior regions, by the involution swapping the asymptotic regions combined with the antipodal map on the sphere Giulini:1989 (); Friedman:1993ty ().

The geon geometry has a single Killing vector field,


generating spatial translations. The time translation symmetry of the BTZ black hole is broken by the reflective involution, so is not smoothly extendible into the whole spacetime, so the geon is not stationary. It still generates time translations on the boundary, and exists outside the event horizon as the local Killing vector field .

From a field theory point of view, the state at can be prepared by a path integral over a Möbius strip, exactly as in the orientable case described in section 2.6. It is therefore a pure state on a single copy of the CFT. From the Euclidean point of view, swapping the asymptotic regions of BTZ can be viewed as a refection in the Euclidean time, , which fixes . Taking the quotient of the torus by this reflection along with gives the resulting boundary geometry of a cylinder of length , with cross-caps at both ends: a Klein bottle. The partition function is given by a path integral over this Klein bottle, a surface with a single real modulus identified with .

Unlike the torus, holographically this state has only one phase. Any phase must be obtainable from a Euclidean bulk with toroidal boundary (the oriented double cover) by taking a quotient by the appropriate involution, which restricts to the correct thing on the boundary torus. This boundary involution extends into the bulk in the black hole phase (giving the geon), and also in the ‘thermal AdS’ phase where the spatial circle is contractible in the bulk. But in the latter case the involution acts with fixed points at , and the resulting Euclidean bulk is not smooth. The consequence is that there is a single phase at all moduli of the boundary, and there is no analogy to the Hawking-Page transition.

One qualitative way to think of the state, made more precise in Louko:1998hc (), is that it is very similar to a thermofield double, being made up of two halves that look thermal individually, but purify one another when taken together. But now the halves are not two copies of the CFT, but the left- and right-movers in a single copy.

Now computation of the lengths of geodesics can be done using the methods described above essentially without modification. In particular, the equation (14) still applies, excepting that the matrices describing the quotient may have determinant for orientation reversing elements.

A pair of representative vectors for the boundary is , and representatives at other times can be found by inserting exponentials of Killing vectors as for BTZ. There are two classes of geodesics, one staying away from the horizon, and one passing through it, which corresponds to inserting a factor of . The results for lengths of geodesics connecting points at equal times, separated by an angle , are


which can also be obtained directly from the appropriate results for BTZ. Additionally, there is one simple closed geodesic, going half way round the bifurcation circle, closed due to the identifications, with length .

This state throws up an interesting question of how precisely to state the topological constraint on allowed geodesics, since if the statement is that the boundary region together with the geodesic should have trivial homology class in , we arrive at a contradiction. The state is pure, so computing the entropy of the whole boundary should allow for no geodesic at all: the boundary itself should have trivial homology. But this is not the case in the given definition, since the interpolating manifold filling a constant time slice bulk is not a chain over , being nonorientable. The solution777One proposed solution might be to take homology with coefficients in . This turns out to be a necessary condition, but it is not a strong enough constraint in general., described in detail in Haehl:2014zoa () motivated by a holographic replica trick derivation Lewkowycz:2013nqa (), is to insist on the existence of a spacelike ‘two-sided’ codimension-1 manifold, where two-sided means it has a globally defined continuous unit normal vector. In an orientable spacetime, this is equivalent to the homology constraint as stated above, but does not follow from such a homology theory in nonorientable spacetimes. It is this version that we will employ in what follows.

The result for the entanglement entropy of a single interval is identical to the answer in the thermal case when the interval is less than half of the boundary. The answers differ when the interval is larger than half since the state is pure, so entanglement entropy of a region equals the entanglement entropy of the complement. The length of the geodesic staying away from the horizon is always shorter than the geodesic passing through it, when combined with the closed geodesic required by homology. This can be seen directly from the expressions obtained: the difference is smallest when and , equalling . This is bounded below by , so always positive.

In fact this can be seen directly from the geometry without any calculations. On the slice, the geodesic passing through the centre can be joined to the closed geodesic at the bifurcation circle, but the combination is a single curve with sharp corners, and so can be reduced in length by smoothing these out. Hence there is a shorter curve, and hence a shorter geodesic, on the slice. For nonzero times, it is not even clear that the geodesic passing through the centre is allowable, since there is no closed geodesic to add that will allow for a spacelike interpolating surface, required in a version of the topological constraint including causality. Even allowing it, the geometric argument can be straightforwardly adapted in any case, since the central is largest at the bifurcation point.

More interesting is the question of the mutual information of two intervals and . Consider the special case where the intervals have equal lengths , with the centres of the intervals separated by . For the thermal state, this would have three different possible phases. The purity of the state changes one of these, much as in the case of a single interval, by removing the necessity of including the event horizon. Perhaps more interestingly, there is now an additional fourth phase, where the two geodesics pass through the centre. No closed geodesic is required to satisfy the homology constraint, so the argument that these are not shortest does not apply, and in fact for large enough it turns out that this phase can dominate. The geodesics relevant to the four phases888Interpreting phases as different OPE channels in twist operator correlation functions, one might object to a geodesic connecting the left end of one interval to the right end of another, since nonvanishing charges of the twist operators do not allow the vacuum block to appear in the OPE expansion. But this is circumvented here, since the operators should be brought together through an antiholomorphic transition map, reversing the direction of the twist for one operator. are shown in fig. 1.

(a) Phase 1. Dominates for small .
(b) Phase 2. Dominates for small if .
(c) Phase 3. Dominates for small if .
(d) Phase 4. May dominate in some intermediate regime.
Figure 1: The choices of geodesics to compute in the geon. Options (a) and (b) would be admissible in BTZ, and (c) would additionally require inclusion of the event horizon. The geodesics in (d) pass through the crosscap, the arrows indicating that the antipodal points are identified.

At , the results for the mutual information in the different phases are

with the mutual information equal to the largest of the four. The most interesting fourth phase is most likely to dominate when the separation is at its largest possible value of , and the lengths of the intervals are . In this case we have and , so the upshot is that can dominate when . The regions in parameter space where the four phases are dominant are shown for various values of in fig. 2.



Figure 2: Phases of mutual information of two intervals in the geon, of length , plotted vertically, with centres separated by , plotted horizontally, for various values of . The blue, yellow, green and red regions indicate where phases 1,2,3 and 4 respectively dominate, as labelled in subfigure (c).

To understand the new phase, it helps to consider taking a large limit. For BTZ, this high temperature limit destroys correlations between all regions that are not parametrically close to the edge of parameter space, so that phase 1 dominates and the mutual information always vanishes. This is not the case in the geon, for which there are correlations for sufficiently large or well separated regions with , when the fourth phase dominates:


In particular, for small regions the mutual information is nonzero only when is very close to . This suggests that a region is most strongly entangled with regions furthest from it. It would be interesting to understand how this arises from the state of the field theory.

A final exercise is to consider what happens to the mutual information under time evolution. This does not alter the first three phases, but the fourth phase changes to


Despite the fact that the external region is static, the entanglement entropy is sensitive to the non-staticity behind the horizon. The results are indicative of a very special state at , which thermalizes after some order 1 time. Focussing on the intervals for which the fourth phase is most dominant, namely and , we see that the mutual information is positive when . The mutual information declines and saturates to zero at some time, which is in fact always bounded by , for all .

In the large limit, has a cross over at , when the geodesic moves from hugging the horizon to staying close to the singularity. Suggestively, this is exactly the time at which all right-movers from have had a chance to meet some left-movers from directly opposite , the region is most strongly entangled with according to the previous analysis. It begins to decrease linearly, as until saturating to either zero mutual information at time , or to phase 3 at time for sufficiently large regions . It would be interesting to attempt to understand whether this can be interpreted from a quasi-particle picture of the dynamics of entanglement, at least in this limit, and what this implies for the way the entanglement is distributed in the CFT state.

3.3 Three boundary wormhole

Before beginning with the cases of quotient groups generated by two elements, we describe a useful way to understand the group structure, by identifying elements with the tangent space at the identity via the exponential map. For simplicity, we restrict here to the case of nonrotating wormholes, for which the quotient group lies in the diagonal . The generalisation to the rotating case is relatively straightforward.

Write the generators as exponentials of Lie algebra elements, parameterised by


This three dimensional Lie algebra has a natural Lorentzian inner product from the Killing form, calculable from the determinant, and isometries act by conjugation, giving the three dimensional Lorentz transformations. In the picture of as , this Lorentzian structure is inherited from the tangent space of the origin.

The hyperbolic isometries are given by exponentials of spacelike elements. Thinking of the isometries like this as vectors in , with the coordinates , one generator of may be boosted and rotated to lie along the -axis. This leaves a single residual symmetry of boosting in the direction. Depending on the second generator, there are then two distinct cases depending on whether its component or component can be boosted to zero999The third possibility, that the residual vector is null, means that contains parabolic, if not elliptic, elements. We will not consider it here..

In the case when the component can be set to zero, the spacetime that results is a wormhole with three asymptotic boundaries, all connected through a non-traversable bridge. We begin in this section with this class. In the opposing case when the component may be set to zero, the result is a wormhole with a single exterior region and a torus behind the event horizon, which we move to in the next section (section 3.4).

There are three moduli to specify the spacetime, which can be picked in the Lorentzian Lie algebra language as the two lengths and the boost angle between them. A convenient choice of the generators is and , where the Lie algebra elements are given by


so that


The s generate translations in the first and second asymptotic regions, and the geodesics connecting the fixed points of and lie along the event horizons of these regions. The corresponding element of for the third region in this parametrization is . For the spacetime to be free of conical singularities, this generator must also be hyperbolic, which is equivalent to the condition that the boundaries of the fundamental region on the slice do not meet. This is achieved for sufficiently large , such that , and when this is satisfied the length of the third event horizon can be found from (15):


A symmetric choice of fundamental region on the slice is shown in fig. 3, along with the geodesics that lie on the event horizons for each exterior region.

Figure 3: The slice of , showing a fundamental region and event horizons for the three boundary wormhole. The blue curves, identified by , and the orange, identified by , mark the edge of the fundamental domain. The dashed, dotted, and dot-dashed lines mark the event horizons of the three exterior BTZ regions.

In the CFT, this quotient is (in some region of moduli space where this phase dominates) dual to a pure entangled state on three noninteracting circles, prepared by a path integral over a Riemann surface with three boundaries and no handles. Joining this to its reflection on the boundaries, to form the Schottky double as described in section 2.6, one obtains a closed Riemann surface of genus two.

Just as in the case of BTZ, this genus two surface is a boundary to many different on-shell Euclidean bulk spaces. There are five choices of handlebody that respect the time-reversal symmetry, and hence allow for translation back into Lorentzian language, and can be distinguished by connectedness of the Lorentzian section, exactly as for the thermal state. The physics will be described by the dominant phase with the smallest Euclidean action, which will depend on the 3 real moduli of the Riemann surface. One phase gives three disconnected copies of , so there should be no correlations between the copies of the CFT in the classical limit, and 3 phases have one boundary disconnected and the others joined by a BTZ black hole. The final fifth phase is our wormhole geometry. It is an open question to determine the moduli for which each phase dominates, so excepting for certain symmetric situations and limits we do not know whether the wormhole is relevant. See Balasubramanian:2014hda () for a more detailed discussion. From here on, we will assume that we are always in the fully connected wormhole phase.

Here, we will look only at entanglement entropy for a single interval in one of the asymptotic regions. There are at least two phases that must inevitably dominate for some regions of the parameter space, analogous to the two phases for small and large intervals in the thermal state. In these cases, the geodesics remain outside the horizon in the region isometric to BTZ, and differ only in deciding which way to pass round the horizon. The closed geodesics required in the case of the ‘large region’ regime may live either on the horizon of the region in question, or on both the other two horizons if the sum of these lengths is smaller101010There exist many more complicated closed geodesics that suffice to satisfy the homology constraint, but a thorough search as described later has shown them to always be longer than the horizons. This is unsurprising, though we do not know of any proof that this must always hold.. The more interesting possibility is whether there may be intermediate phases that ever dominate, with geodesics meeting the boundary and yet passing through the interior region. It turns out that (at least ignoring the question of which bulk geometry phase dominates) this possibility is realised.

We begin again by choosing representative points in each boundary region. Due to the symmetric way in which we have picked our generators, this is very easy to do in the first and second asymptotic regions, though rather harder in the third. We will not reproduce the results for the third region here, though there will be very similar difficulties encountered in the next section, which will serve to illustrate how to proceed if required.

From fig. 3, it is clear that a simple choice of reference points in the first an second regions will be and respectively, lying at the far right and left of the disc. Normalising these, and translating with the appropriate Killing vectors, just as for the BTZ example, we obtain


restricting to time (the generalisation to include time dependence is exactly as for BTZ). We will use only the result for the first region here, to compute the entanglement entropy of an interval of length , centred at angle , so between . By symmetry, we need only consider , and . The extremes of are when the interval is closest to the second and third asymptotic regions respectively.

The length results are quick to obtain from eq. 14 as before, though the exact forms are unrevealing so we will not reproduce them here. One advantage of having a systematic way of finding a relatively simple analytic answer is that it allows for computing a very large number of lengths for many different homotopy classes of geodesic. In the present case, we examined lengths of all geodesics with homotopy classes formed from words in the generators with up to eight letters, for a random choice of over one million sets of parameters, checking which classes dominated in any case, using Mathematica mathematica10 (). This was performed by first creating a list of all the elements of the group formed from some finite number of generators, and then calculating the appropriate matrix traces analytically. Each of these analytic expressions was turned into a C-compiled function of the parameters for efficiency, and then evaluated on a randomly chosen set of these parameters repeatedly, checking the dominant geodesic each time. This gave a list of all realised possibilities in a few seconds, showing that there are only four phases of interest. An entirely similar calculation for closed geodesics (again checking conjugacy classes from words of up to eight letters in the generators) found that only the three event horizons are relevant.

The four phases, shown in fig. 4, correspond to the homotopy classes of the identity, , and , with the last three supplemented by the event horizons of exteriors 1, 2 and 3 (or a sum of the other two if shorter) respectively.

(a) Phase 1:
(b) Phase 2:
(c) Phase 3:
(d) Phase 4:
Figure 4: The geodesics giving the four possible phases of entanglement entropy of a single interval, in green, along with the event horizons added to satisfy the homology constraint, marked by dashed lines.

Each of the last three phases corresponds to saturation of some Araki-Lieb inequality Araki:1970ba ()


where is the interval in question, and is either the complement of in boundary 1, as happens in the thermal state Hubeny:2013gta (), or the entirety of boundary 2 or 3. This has a very natural interpretation Xi2011 () in terms of the state on , that the Hilbert space of can be split into two parts and in such a way that the state on factorizes as a mixed state on times a pure state on . This means in this case that is only entangled with some subset of degrees of freedom in , and the remaining degrees of freedom in are entangled only with the remainder of the system.

We find that the most interesting last two phases, where the geodesic passes behind the event horizon, may dominate as long as is larger than some order one value, and also somewhat larger than and . We will focus here on the symmetric case when , for which a phase diagram is plotted in fig. 5.

Figure 5: Phase diagram for single-interval entanglement as a function of the moduli of the spacetime, in the case when two of the horizon lengths are equal. Below and to the right of the solid line, one of phases 3 or 4 dominates in some region of moduli space, and has nontrivial dependence on space and time. This is always below the dashed line , where there is a phase transition associated to the closed geodesics.

The result here is that for larger than some critical value, phases 2 and 3 dominate for some interval. For very small, the critical value of is some order one number, which then increases with , approaching for large horizons but never exceeding it. This means that when the entropy of region 1 is computed from its own horizon radius, rather than the sum of the other two, all single-interval entanglement entropies are in exact agreement with the thermal state. When the other two horizons are small, on the other hand, the two systems are insufficiently entropic to purify a thermal state in the first region. The entanglement entropy of a sufficiently large region notices that the state is not thermal, and may saturate its entanglement with one or other of the boundaries.

For some specific values of the moduli, phase diagrams of varying interval size and length are shown in fig. 6.



Figure 6: Phase diagrams of entanglement entropy for a single interval in region one, with the position of the centre of the interval plotted horizontally and its size vertically. The blue, yellow, green and red regions (also labelled in subfigure (c)) indicate where phases 1, 2, 3 and 4 respectively dominate, as defined in fig. 4.

An interesting aspect of these is what they imply for the spatial distribution of entanglement. The Araki-Lieb inequality for the interval and one of the other boundaries is most likely to be saturated when they are closest to one another. Regarding the horizon lengths as proxies for the size of each system, when two boundaries are small and one is large, the small boundaries are not only entangled exclusively with the large one, but actually with a spatially localised region within it. This naïve idea of geometric closeness corresponding to entanglement may be a natural guess, but it is striking to see it so precisely realised.

The investigations here should not be viewed as exhaustive, but rather a demonstration of the results that can be quickly obtained from this method. There is much more that can be done in these geometries to understand the entanglement, particularly with measures that are not inherently bipartite, generalising the work in Balasubramanian:2014hda () to subintervals. One obvious quantity to look at is mutual information between intervals on different boundaries. Further generalisations would be to look at time dependence, allow the wormholes to spin, and to add more boundary regions. There are hints that there is some simple universal behaviour when the parameters become large (which is also a region of moduli space where this phase would be expected to dominate), and the techniques here are well suited to be used to understand this analytically. We leave all such investigations for future work.

3.4 Torus wormhole

The final example we discuss is a black hole with a single exterior, containing a torus hidden behind the event horizon. Once again, we will consider here only a nonrotating version; a spinning generalisation was discussed at length in Aminneborg:1998si (), and what is done here can be straightforwardly extended to that case. This is a pure state on a single CFT, prepared by a path integral over a torus with a single boundary, a Riemann surface with three real moduli. The field theory interpretation of this state is quite mysterious, but in any case we expect it to be some atypical finely tuned excited state at , breaking translational symmetry in both space and time directions.

The partition function is that of a genus two surface, with a reflection symmetry fixing a single circle lying between the handles and splitting the surface into two parts. Apart from the bulk phase we discuss here, there is an infinite family of time-reflection symmetric Euclidean bulks, corresponding to filling in some combination of cycles on one handle of the surface, and the same (reflected) combination of cycles on the other. These are in correspondence with pairs of coprime integers defining the choice of cycle, much like the family of Euclidean black holes generalising BTZ and Euclidean thermal . For these bulks, the Lorentzian spacetime is always just pure . Once again we will not worry about which saddle dominates the path integral, but work in the interesting phase with the caveat that the results apply only in certain regions of moduli space.

As discussed at the beginning of the last section, the geometry comes from a quotient by a free subgroup of generated by two elements and . Considering these elements as exponentials of Lie algebra elements in a three dimensional Lorentzian space, they come from a pair of spacelike vectors which may now be boosted to simultaneously have vanishing timelike component. The moduli therefore are the two lengths of the vectors and , and the angle between them. Picking a convenient basis, is generated by


The resulting geometry is most easily understood once again by looking at the a fundamental region on the Poincaré disc, as in fig. 7. This looks very similar to the three boundary case above, except that the identifications are not between neighbouring semicircles but between opposite sides.

Figure 7: The slice of , showing a fundamental region and event horizon for the torus wormhole. The blue curves are identified by , and the orange by . The event horizon here is the set of dashed geodesics joining the fixed points of , , and .

To see the topology, this is exactly like the identification of opposite edges of a square to form a torus, except with the corners cut off; this makes a torus with a single asymptotic boundary.

One computational difficulty that we encounter here is that the elements of enacting the translation along the boundary by are not so simple as before. Such ‘horizon words’ are here the conjugates of ; any point on the boundary of the Poincaré disc will lie between the fixed points of one such element, which is the exponential of the generator of boundary translations there. This conjugacy class also defines the homotopy class of the event horizon, which is why we call the representatives horizon words. This is exactly like the third asymptotic region in the above three boundary wormhole. Note that the horizon word here is trivial when abelianised, so has trivial homology, since it is the boundary of everything behind the horizon. This is a manifestation of the purity of the state.

Calculating any such word and using equation (15) to find its length, we get the horizon radius of the black hole


from which it is apparent that we must take the angle between the generators large enough so that . As with the three boundary wormhole, this can be understood from the requirement that the circles marking the edges of the fundamental region in fig. 7 do not overlap, and ensures that all elements of the group are hyperbolic.

To find a nice regularisation to represent boundary points, as before it is simplest to first identify the local Killing vector implementing translations. Since the horizon word is not in a simple form, this requires first inverting a matrix exponential, for example , but for hyperbolic matrices, this is a straightforward procedure. We then must choose a reference point, which must be in the right part of the boundary of the Poincaré disc, lying on the proper side of the fixed points of so that it is the correct local generator of translations. Since the fixed points move as the parameters vary, there is no universal choice to be made here, but it depends on the parameters. One practical possibility comes from examining the fixed points of , being the eigenvectors, and taking the average of the two angles of the resulting vectors; this gives an especially simple answer in the symmetric case . With this initial point chosen, the others may be found by translating with the Killing vector, after which an overall scale can be fixed if desired, by matching to the BTZ result. Note that this will not give boundary representatives in the boundary fundamental region in fig. 7, but a connected fundamental region in the boundary covering space.

Apart from these small extra practical difficulties, the calculations proceed much as before, and we will not reproduce details here. We again examine the entanglement entropy for a single interval on the boundary. It turns out to be much harder in this case to systematically rule out the majority of geodesics built from long words in the generators as always being longer, as was possible for the three boundary wormhole, making a complete characterisation difficult. This is perhaps because the torus behind the horizon may get very ‘twisted’ relative to the generators and for some parameters, so that the shortest geodesics are more complicated words in . Using a different choice of generators for may then look more natural, and allow the geometry to be described by some different set of parameters in which the short geodesics are simple words. This is loosely analogous to describing a flat torus with upper half plane modular parameter , when short geodesics may look complicated if is not picked in a fundamental region, but instead related by some modular transformation.

In any case, to simplify things we now focus on a special case of the most symmetric geometry, by picking