Catalysed Vacuum Decay

PIRSA ID: 22120048
Event Type: Seminar
Scientific Area(s):
Particle Physics
End date:

Phase transitions in everyday systems are often catalysed by the presence of impurities, but in cosmology we typically assume the initial state is a homogeneous vacuum. In this talk I will discuss how topological defects can seed first order phase transitions in the early universe, causing them to proceed much more rapidly than in the usual case. The field profiles describing the decay do not have the typically assumed O(3)/O(4) symmetry, requiring an extension of the usual decay rate calculation. To numerically determine the saddle point solutions which describe the decay we use a new algorithm based on the mountain pass theorem. I will present results showing the significance of this effect for catalysis by magnetic monopoles in a simplified model, then discuss the same effect for domain walls catalysing the electroweak phase transition. The presence of domain walls can significantly modify the predictions for gravitational wave signal which may be observed with LISA.

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