Non-supersymmetric holographic engineering and U-duality
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In this Ph.D. thesis, we construct and study a number of new type IIB supergravity backgrounds that realize various flavored, finite temperature, and non-supersymmetric deformations of the resolved and deformed conifold geometries. We make heavy use of a U-duality solution generating procedure that allows us to begin with a modification of a family of solutions describing the backreaction of D5 branes wrapped on the S^2 of the resolved conifold, and generate new backgrounds related to the Klebanov-Strassler background. We first construct finite temperature backgrounds which describe a configuration of N_c D5 branes wrapped on the S^2 of the resolved conifold, in the presence of N_f flavor brane sources and their backreaction i.e. N_f/N_c ~ 1. In these solutions the dilaton does not blow up at infinity but stabilizes to a finite value. The U-duality procedure is then applied to these solutions to generate new ones with D5 and D3 charge. The resulting backgrounds are a non-extremal deformation of the resolved deformed conifold with D3 and D5 sources. It is tempting to interpret these solutions as gravity duals of finite temperature field theories exhibiting phenomena such as Seiberg dualities, Higgsing and confinement. However, a first necessary step in this direction is to investigate their stability. We study the specific heat of these new flavored backgrounds and find that they are thermodynamically unstable. Our results on the stability also apply to other non-extremal backgrounds with Klebanov-Strassler asymptotics found in the literature. In the second half of this thesis, we apply the U-duality procedure to generate another class of solutions which are zero temperature, non-supersymmetric deformations of the baryonic branch of Klebanov-Strassler. We interpret these in the dual field theory by the addition of a small gaugino mass. Using a combination of numerical and analytical methods, we construct the backgrounds explicitly, and calculate various observables of the field theory.