The structure of Hamiltonian symmetry reductions of the Wess-Zumino-Novikov-Witten (WZNW) theories by first class Kac-Moody (KM) constraints is analysed in detail. Lie algebraic conditions are given for ensuring the presence of exact integrability, conformal invariance and W-symmetry in the reduced theories. A Lagrangean, gauged WZNW implementation of the reduction is established in the general case and thereby the path integral as well as the BRST formalism are set up for studying the quantum version of the reduction. The general results are applied to a number of examples. In particular, a W-algebra is associated to each embedding of sl(2) into the simple Lie algebras by using purely first class constraints. The primary fields of these W-algebras are manifestly given by the sl(2) embeddings, but it is also shown that there is an sl(2) embedding present in every polynomial and primary KM reduction and that the Wnl-algebras have a hidden sl(2) structure too. New generalized Toda theories are found whose chiral algebras are the W-algebras based on the half-integral sl(2) embeddings, and the W-symmetry of the effective action of those generalized Toda theories associated with the integral gradings is exhibited explicitly.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physics and Astronomy(all)