One-loop matrix elements of effective superstring interactions: alpha'-expanding loop integrands

2021-07-15

Authors: Alex Edison, Max Guillen, Henrik Johansson, Oliver Schlotterer and Fei Teng

Preprint number: UUITP-31/21

Abstract: In the low-energy effective action of string theories, non-abelian gauge interactions and supergravity are augmented by infinite towers of higher-mass-dimension operators. We propose a new method to construct one-loop matrix elements with insertions of operators D^{2k} F^n and D^{2k} R^n in the tree-level effective action of type-I and type-II superstrings. Inspired by ambitwistor string theories, our method is based on forward limits of moduli-space integrals using string tree-level amplitudes with two extra points, expanded in powers of the inverse string tension alpha'. Similar to one-loop ambitwistor computations, intermediate steps feature non-standard linearized Feynman propagators which eventually recombine to conventional quadratic propagators. With linearized propagators the loop integrand of the matrix elements obey one-loop versions of the monodromy and KLT relations. We express a variety of four- and five-point examples in terms of quadratic propagators and formulate a criterion on the underlying genus-one correlation functions that should make this recombination possible at all orders in alpha'. The ultraviolet divergences of the one-loop matrix elements are crosschecked against the non-separating degeneration of genus-one integrals in string amplitudes. Conversely, our results can be used as a constructive method to determine degenerations of elliptic multiple zeta values and modular graph forms at arbitrary weight.