A closed-form expression is obtained for a holomorphic sector of the two-loop low-energy effective action for the N = 4 super Yang-Mills theory on its Coulomb branch where the gauge group SU (is spontaneously broken to SU (N - 1) × U (1) and the dynamics is described by a single Abelian N = 2 vector multiplet. In the framework of the background-field method, this holomorphic sector is singled out by computing the effective action for a background N = 2 vector multiplet satisfying a relaxed super self-duality condition. At the two-loop level, the N = 4 SYM effective action is shown to possess no F4term (with F the U (1) field strength), in accordance with the Dine-Seiberg non-renormalization conjecture hep-th/9705057 and its generalized form given in hep-th/0310025. An unexpected outcome of our calculation is that no (manifestly supersymmetric invariant generating) F6quantum correction occurs at two loops. This is in conflict with previous results. © 2004 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
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