skip to main content
DOE PAGES title logo U.S. Department of Energy
Office of Scientific and Technical Information

Title: Probable or improbable universe? Correlating electroweak vacuum instability with the scale of inflation

Abstract

Measurements of the Higgs boson and top quark masses indicate that the Standard Model Higgs potential becomes unstable around Λ I ~ 10 11 GeV. This instability is cosmologically relevant since quantum fluctuations during inflation can easily destabilize the electroweak vacuum if the Hubble parameter during inflation is larger than Λ I (as preferred by the recent BICEP 2 measurement). Here, we perform a careful study of the evolution of the Higgs field during inflation, obtaining different results from those currently in the literature. We consider both tunneling via a Coleman-de Luccia or Hawking-Moss instanton, valid when the scale of inflation is below the instability scale, as well as a statistical treatment via the Fokker-Planck equation appropriate in the opposite regime. We show that a better understanding of the post-inflation evolution of the unstable AdS vacuum regions is crucial for determining the eventual fate of the universe. If these AdS regions devour all of space, a universe like ours is indeed extremely unlikely without new physics to stabilize the Higgs potential; however, if these regions crunch, our universe survives, but inflation must last a few e-folds longer to compensate for the lost AdS regions. Lastly, we examine the effects ofmore » generic Planck-suppressed corrections to the Higgs potential, which can be sufficient to stabilize the electroweak vacuum during inflation.« less

Authors:
 [1];  [2];  [2];  [2]
  1. Inst. for Advanced Study, Princeton, NJ (United States). School of Natural Sciences
  2. Univ. of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI (United States). Michigan Center for Theoretical Physics
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Univ. of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Science (SC)
OSTI Identifier:
1454554
Grant/Contract Number:  
SC0007859; SC0009988; PHY 1049896
Resource Type:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Journal of High Energy Physics (Online)
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Name: Journal of High Energy Physics (Online); Journal Volume: 2015; Journal Issue: 1; Journal ID: ISSN 1029-8479
Publisher:
Springer Berlin
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
72 PHYSICS OF ELEMENTARY PARTICLES AND FIELDS; Higgs Physics; Cosmology of Theories beyond the SM; Standard Model

Citation Formats

Hook, Anson, Kearney, John, Shakya, Bibhushan, and Zurek, Kathryn M. Probable or improbable universe? Correlating electroweak vacuum instability with the scale of inflation. United States: N. p., 2015. Web. doi:10.1007/JHEP01(2015)061.
Hook, Anson, Kearney, John, Shakya, Bibhushan, & Zurek, Kathryn M. Probable or improbable universe? Correlating electroweak vacuum instability with the scale of inflation. United States. doi:10.1007/JHEP01(2015)061.
Hook, Anson, Kearney, John, Shakya, Bibhushan, and Zurek, Kathryn M. Tue . "Probable or improbable universe? Correlating electroweak vacuum instability with the scale of inflation". United States. doi:10.1007/JHEP01(2015)061. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1454554.
@article{osti_1454554,
title = {Probable or improbable universe? Correlating electroweak vacuum instability with the scale of inflation},
author = {Hook, Anson and Kearney, John and Shakya, Bibhushan and Zurek, Kathryn M.},
abstractNote = {Measurements of the Higgs boson and top quark masses indicate that the Standard Model Higgs potential becomes unstable around ΛI ~ 1011 GeV. This instability is cosmologically relevant since quantum fluctuations during inflation can easily destabilize the electroweak vacuum if the Hubble parameter during inflation is larger than ΛI (as preferred by the recent BICEP2 measurement). Here, we perform a careful study of the evolution of the Higgs field during inflation, obtaining different results from those currently in the literature. We consider both tunneling via a Coleman-de Luccia or Hawking-Moss instanton, valid when the scale of inflation is below the instability scale, as well as a statistical treatment via the Fokker-Planck equation appropriate in the opposite regime. We show that a better understanding of the post-inflation evolution of the unstable AdS vacuum regions is crucial for determining the eventual fate of the universe. If these AdS regions devour all of space, a universe like ours is indeed extremely unlikely without new physics to stabilize the Higgs potential; however, if these regions crunch, our universe survives, but inflation must last a few e-folds longer to compensate for the lost AdS regions. Lastly, we examine the effects of generic Planck-suppressed corrections to the Higgs potential, which can be sufficient to stabilize the electroweak vacuum during inflation.},
doi = {10.1007/JHEP01(2015)061},
journal = {Journal of High Energy Physics (Online)},
number = 1,
volume = 2015,
place = {United States},
year = {2015},
month = {1}
}

Journal Article:
Free Publicly Available Full Text
Publisher's Version of Record

Citation Metrics:
Cited by: 46 works
Citation information provided by
Web of Science

Save / Share: