The Differential Geometry of Instantons
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The instanton solutions to the Yang-Mills equations have a vast range of practical applications in field theories including gravitation and electro-magnetism. Solutions to Maxwell's equations, for example, are abelian gauge instantons on Minkowski space. Since these discoveries, a generalised theory of instantons has been emerging for manifolds with special holonomy. Beginning with connections and curvature on complex vector bundles, this thesis provides some of the essential background for studying moduli spaces of instantons. Manifolds with exceptional holonomy are special types of seven and eight dimensional manifolds whose holonomy group is contained in G2 and Spin(7), respectively. Focusing on the G2 case, instantons on G2 manifolds are defined to be solutions to an analogue of the four dimensional anti-self-dual equations. These connections are known as Donaldson-Thomas connections and a couple of examples are noted.