In the paper, ``Comments on String Dynamics in Six Dimensions" (arXiv:hep-th/9603003) by Seiberg and Witten, there is a sentence on page 8 (section 3) which reads

classically, smooth $E_8$ instantons with $n = 1, 2,$ or $3$ do not exist.

$n$ refers to the winding number (corresponding to the embedding of $SU(2$) in $E_8$).

My question is: why do the winding numbers $n = 1, 2, 3$ not exist? What is meant by smooth instantons?

Also, is the $n \neq \{1,2,3\}$ constraint valid for K3 compactifications or is it more general?

  • $\begingroup$ Do you have a reason to suspect it means something other than the general notion of an instanton in a gauge theory with gauge group $G=E_8$? $\endgroup$
    – ACuriousMind
    Oct 13, 2016 at 13:23
  • $\begingroup$ No, I do not. But what are smooth instantons and why don't they exist for $n = 1, 2, 3$? $\endgroup$ Oct 13, 2016 at 13:45


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