We develop a unified effective field theory approach to the high-temperature phase transitions in QCD and string theory, incorporating winding modes (time-like Polyakov loops, vortices) as well as low-mass states (pseudoscalar mesons and glueballs, matter and dilaton supermultiplets). Anomalous scale invariance and the Z3 structure of the centre of SU(3) decree a first-order phase transition with simultaneous deconfinement and Polyakov loop condensation in QCD, whereas string vortex condensation is a second-order phase transition breaking a Z2 symmetry. We argue that vortex condensation is accompanied by a dilaton phase transition to a strong coupling regime, and comment on the possible role of soliton degrees of freedom in the high-temperature string phase.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
Two of us (J.E. and S.K. ) would like to thank Rich Brower and Jean Potvin for useful discussions, and Boston University for its hospitality while part of this work was being carried out. The work of B.A.C. was supported in part by a grant from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada. The work of K.A.O. was supported in part by DOE grant DE-AC02-83 ER-40105 and by a Presidential Young Investigator Award. The work of D.V.N. and S.K. was supported in part by DOE grant DE-AS05-81 ER-40039.