We discuss k-strings in the large-N Yang-Mills theory and its supersymmetric extension. Whereas the tension of the bona fide (stable) QCD string is expected to depend only on the N-ality of the representation, tensions that depend on specific representation R are often reported in the lattice literature. In particular, adjoint strings are discussed and found in certain simulations. We clarify this issue by systematically exploiting the notion of the quasi-stable strings which becomes well-defined at large N. The quasi-stable strings with representation-dependent tensions decay, but the decay rate (per unit length per unit time) is suppressed as Λ2F(N) where F(N) falls off as a function of N. It can be determined on the case-by-case basis. The quasi-stable strings eventually decay into stable strings whose tension indeed depends only on the N-ality.We also briefly review large-N arguments showing why the Casimir formula for the string tension cannot be correct, and present additional arguments in favor of the sine formula. Finally, we comment on the relevance of our estimates to Euclidean lattice measurements.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
The work of M.S. is supported in part by DOE Grant DE-FG02-94ER408.