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Fluctuations and bubble dynamics in first-order phase transitions Mark Abney*

Summary: Fluctuations and bubble dynamics in first-order phase transitions
Mark Abney*
Department of Physics, The Enrico Fermi Institute, The University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois 60637
and NASA/Fermilab Astrophysics Center, Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, Batavia, Illinois 60510
Received 3 July 1996
We numerically examine the effect of thermal fluctuations on a first-order phase transition in 2 1
dimensions. By focusing on the expansion of a single bubble we are able to calculate changes in the bubble
wall's velocity as well as changes in its structure relative to the standard case where the bubble expands into
a homogeneous background. Not only does the wall move faster, but the transition from the symmetric to the
asymmetric phase is no longer smooth, even for a fairly strong transition. We discuss how these results affect
the standard picture of electroweak baryogenesis. S0556-2821 97 03602-3
PACS number s : 98.80.Cq, 64.60.Qb
Recent numerical and analytical work on weak first-order
phase transitions has shown that there may be significant
changes to the standard theory of phase transitions as a result
of thermal fluctuations 16 . Instead of a smooth homoge-
neous background there may be a significant amount of
phase mixing due to the existence of subcritical bubbles.
Though not without controversy 7,8 , these findings suggest


Source: Abney, Mark - Department of Human Genetics, University of Chicago


Collections: Computer Technologies and Information Sciences; Biology and Medicine