We construct a new model of four-dimensional relativistic strings with integrable dynamics on the worldsheet. In addition to translational modes this model contains a single massless pseudoscalar worldsheet field - the worldsheet axion. The axion couples to a topological density which counts the self-intersection number of a string. The corresponding coupling is fixed by integrability to Q=√7/16π≈0.37. We argue that this model is a member of a larger family of relativistic non-critical integrable string models. This family includes and extends conventional non-critical strings described by the linear dilaton CFT. Intriguingly, recent lattice data in SU(3) and SU(5) gluodynamics reveals the presence of a massive pseudoscalar axion on the worldsheet of confining flux tubes. The value of the corresponding coupling, as determined from the lattice data, is equal to QL≈0.38±0.04.
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