Instanton effects in supersymmetric SU(N) gauge theories
We investigate nonperturbative effects due to instantons in N = 2 supersymmetric SU(N) Yang-Mills models, with the aim of testing the exact results predicted for these models. In two separate semiclassical calculations we obtain the one-instanton contribution to the Higgs condensate u(_3) = (TrA(^3)) and to the prepotential F. Comparing our results with the exact predictions, we find complete agreement except when the number of flavours of fundamental matter hypermultiplets, N(_f), takes certain values. The source of the u(_3) discrepancy is an ambiguity in the parameterization of the hyperelliptic curves from which the exact predictions are derived when N(_f) ≥ N. This ambiguity can easily be fixed using the results of instanton calculations. The discrepancy associated with T appears in the finite N(_f) = 2N models. For these models we are unable to modify the curves to agree with the instanton calculations when N > 3. Our one-instanton calculation of the prepotential is facilitated by a multi-instanton calculus which we construct, starting from the general solution of Atiyah, Drinfeld, Hitchin and Manin. Our calculus comprises: (i) the super-multi-instanton background, (ii) the su persymmetric multi-instanton action and (iii) the supersymmetric semiclassical collective coordinate measure. Our calculus has application to supersymmetric Yang-Mills theory with gauge group U(N) or SU(_N). We employ our instanton calculus to derive results at arbitrary k-instanton levels. In N =2 supersymmetric SU(N) Yang-Mills theory, we derive a closed form expression for the A;-instanton contribution to the prepotential. This amounts to a solution, in quadratures, of the low-energy physics of the theory, obtained from first principles. In supersymmetric SU(2) Yang-Mills theory, we use our calculus to investigate multi-instanton contributions to higher-derivative terms in the Wilsonian effective action. Using a scaling argument, based on general properties of the SU(2) k-instanton action and measure, we show that in the finite, massless N = 2 and N = 4 models, all k-instanton contributions to the next-to- leading higher-derivative terms vanish. This confirms a nonperturbative nonrenormalization theorem due to Dine and Seiberg.