Higher derivative effects for 4d AdS gravity
Journal of High Energy Physics
Motivated by holography, we explore higher derivative corrections to four-dimensional Anti-de Sitter (AdS) gravity. We point out that in such a theory the variational problem is generically not well-posed given only a boundary condition for the metric. However, when one evaluates the higher derivative terms perturbatively on a leading order Einstein solution, the equations of motion are always second order and therefore the variational problem indeed requires only a boundary condition for the
... tric. The equations of motion required to compute the spectrum around the corrected background are still generically higher order, with the additional boundary conditions being associated with new operators in the dual conformal field theory. We discuss which higher derivative curvature invariants are expected to arise in the four-dimensional action from a top-down perspective and compute the corrections to planar AdS black holes and to the spectrum around AdS in various cases. Requiring that the dual theory is unitary strongly constrains the higher derivative terms in the action, as the operators associated with the extra boundary conditions generically have complex conformal dimensions and non-positive norms.