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Spin structures on loop spaces that characterize string manifolds

Abstract

Classically, a spin structure on the loop space of a manifold is a lift of the structure group of the looped frame bundle from the loop group to its universal central extension. Heuristically, the loop space of a manifold is spin if and only if the manifold itself is a string manifold, against which it is well-known that only the if-part is true in general. In this article we develop a new version of spin structures on loop spaces that exists if and only if the manifold is string, as desired. This new version consists of a classical spin structure plus a certain fusion product related to loops of frames in the manifold. We use the lifting gerbe theory of Carey-Murray, recent results of Stolz-Teichner on loop spaces, and some own results about string geometry and Brylinski-McLaughlin transgression.Comment: 30 pages. v2 comes with some minor corrections and improvement

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