Wilson loops, confinement, and phase transitions in large N gauge theories from supergravity

Andreas Brandhuber*, Nissan Itzhaki, Jacob Sonnenschein, Shimon Yankielowicz

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

139 Scopus citations


We use the recently proposed supergravity approach to large N gauge theories to calculate ordinary and spatial Wilson loops of gauge theories in various dimensions. In this framework we observe an area law for spatial Wilson loops in four and five dimensional supersymmetric Yang-Mills at finite temperature. This can be interpreted as the area law of ordinary Wilson loops in three and four dimensional non-supersymmetric gauge theories at zero temperature which indicates confinement in these theories. Furthermore, we show that super Yang Mills theories with 16 supersymmetries at finite temperature do not admit phase transitions between the weakly coupled super Yang Mills and supergravity regimes. This result is derived by analyzing the entropy and specific heat of those systems as well as by computing ordinary Wilson loops at finite temperature. The calculation of the entropy was carried out in all different regimes and indicates that there is no first order phase transition in these systems. For the same theories at zero temperature we also compute the dependence of the quark anti-quark potential on the separating distance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)XI-19
JournalJournal of High Energy Physics
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1998


  • Black holes in string theory
  • Brane dynamics in gauge theories
  • Confinement


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