Take the 2-minute tour ×
Physics Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for active researchers, academics and students of physics. It's 100% free.

May classical strings be interacting?

I would guess no, I can not see any way to break a classical closed string in two of them (the "pants" diagram); but maybe I'm missing something.

share|improve this question
I'm no string theorist, but I have never heard of "classical strings". Google isn't helping. Or are you talking about a normal loop of twine or something? –  Manishearth Mar 17 '12 at 13:30
@Manishearth: To me a classical string is just a string. One could interpret this as asking for a classical theory build upon the Polyakov action or any 1-dim spatial oscillating object in the real world, which has a priori nothing quantum to it. The nature of the interaction is not specified in the question though. –  NikolajK Mar 17 '12 at 14:28

2 Answers 2

Yes, of course, classical strings are just the $\hbar\to 0$ limit of "ordinary strings" and they do interact although the rate goes to zero in the limit, too. The local picture of the interactions used for "quantum strings" should be interpreted literally and it does allow strings to interact even if they're "classical":

enter image description here

On the picture, you see the "type II" crossing over interaction which is the only one in the absence of open strings. Two strings intersect and they get split at the intersection points; the 4 endpoints get connected differently. This interaction is weighted by the amplitude $g_{\rm closed}$.

In the middle of the picture, you see the "type I" interactions which require open strings: two endpoints may either merge, or a string may split at any internal point. This interaction's amplitude is proportional to $g_{\rm open}\sim \sqrt{g_{\rm closed}}$.

These processes, as indicated on the picture, could rearrange the strings even if they were stretched to the astronomical size – if they were cosmic strings. Such interactions of large enough "cosmic" strings are actually essential for various models of string cosmology to work, e.g. Brandenberger-Vafa "string gas cosmology" and its newer versions.

share|improve this answer
I like this :-) –  Dilaton Mar 17 '12 at 19:01

1) Usually, but not always, the word classical in physics refers to the limit $\hbar\to 0$.

2) Perturbative string interactions of open and closed strings are governed by the open and the closed string coupling constants, respectively, which are independent of Planck constant $\hbar$.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.