Islands and light gravitons in type IIB string theory

Saskia Demulder, Alessandra Gnecchi, Ioannis Lavdas, Dieter Lüst

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


We consider the setup of a black hole in AdS4 coupled to an external bath, embedded in type IIB string theory. We study quantum extremal islands in these backgrounds, in relation to the existence of a massive graviton. Using explicit results of the microscopic embedding of AdS4 massive gravity in string theory, we investigate whether it is possible to achieve backgrounds with extremal islands, in which the lowest lying graviton is only slightly massive. For certain regions of the microscopic parameters, the graviton mass can be computed explicitly, and we explain how it directly affects the existence and the properties of the islands. We also show that islands can in principle exist within the regime of validity of the massive gravity effective field theory. However we see via numerical computations that the existence of quantum extremal islands at zero temperature is highly constrained, also when the dilaton is allowed to vary, so that the mass of the graviton cannot be made arbitrarily light. At finite temperature, we also identify a critical parameter, above and below which islands still exist but exhibit a different behavior. Our work supports recent proposals that the unitary evolution of black holes in higher dimensions, and more precisely their Page curve, relies on the presence of a massive graviton in the effective theory.

Original languageEnglish
Article number16
JournalJournal of High Energy Physics
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Feb 2023
Externally publishedYes


  • AdS-CFT Correspondence
  • Black Holes in String Theory
  • Effective Field Theories

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nuclear and High Energy Physics


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