Virasoro conformal blocks at rational central charge

Zamolodchikov's recursive representation of Virasoro conformal blocks is a powerful computational tool at generic central charge, but it is singular at rational central charge. In which cases is it possible to write a recursive representation at rational central charge?


Virasoro conformal blocks are the basic special functions of w:two-dimensional conformal field theory. They are essential ingredients for computing correlation functions, which are some of the most important observables. In particular, they play a fundamental role in the w:conformal bootstrap approach.

Zamolodchikov's recursive representation is a powerful tool for numerically computing Virasoro conformal blocks. This representation involves a power series  , which obeys the recursive equation


Here   is the channel conformal dimension of the conformal block, while   are the conformal dimensions of the fields in the corresponding four-point function, and   is a combination of their positions. The residues   are explicitly known functions of the central charge and of  . The poles   are functions of the central charge.

At rational central charge, the recursive representation becomes singular due to coincidences of the type  , and also because the residues   themselves have poles. Conformal blocks themselves are well-defined, and all the singularities must cancel, as can be checked in examples.[1] However, for generic dimensions  , these cancellations lead to higher order poles at  , and it is not clear that an explicit recursive relation can be found. (In the limit from generic central charge, subleading terms can contribute.)

For some special values of the conformal dimensions, the situation can be more favourable. In particular, in w:minimal models, the conformal dimensions   are of the type  , and this leads to the vanishing of many residues  .


  • Find a recursive recursion representation of the conformal blocks that appear in minimal models, by taking limits of Zamolodchikov's recursive representation when the central charge becomes rational.
  • Compare with the AGT-inspired representation of Bershtein and Foda.[2]
  • Generalize to other CFTs with discrete spectrums.

Technical challengesEdit

Given the conformal dimension   of a minimal model field, there exist several possible continuations to generic central charge, due to identities of the type   that hold at generic central charge.

Recent results on   blocks[3] suggest that it is crucial that our continuation respects all fusion rules of the channel field. A natural way to do this is to fix the four external fields' Kac indices relative to the center of the Kac table. Then at least one of the two indices of each field is half-integer. With this continuation, it is plausible that generic   blocks have the desired limit in all cases.

However, in contrast to the   case,[3] the terms in the recursion will not be individually finite, and there will be cancellations of divergences, leading to poles of arbitrarily high orders in the channel dimension. Is this compatible with the claims of Bershtein and Foda?


  1. Ribault, Sylvain (2018-09-11). "On 2d CFTs that interpolate between minimal models". doi:10.21468/SciPostPhys.6.6.075. Retrieved 2020-02-05.
  2. Bershtein, M.; Foda, O. (2014-04-28). "AGT, Burge pairs and minimal models". doi:10.1007/JHEP06(2014)177. Retrieved 2021-05-27.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Nemkov, Nikita; Ribault, Sylvain (2021-06-29). "Analytic conformal bootstrap and Virasoro primary fields in the Ashkin-Teller model". Retrieved 2021-07-26.