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Title: Decay of the de Sitter vacuum

Abstract

The decay rate of the Bunch-Davies state of a massive scalar field in the expanding flat spatial sections of de Sitter space is determined by an analysis of the particle pair creation process in real time. The Feynman definition of particle and antiparticle Fourier mode solutions of the scalar wave equation and their adiabatic phase analytically continued to the complexified time domain show conclusively that the Bunch-Davies state is not the vacuum state at late times. The closely analogous creation of charged particle pairs in a uniform electric field is reviewed and Schwinger’s result for the vacuum decay rate is recovered by this same real time analysis. The vacuum decay rate in each case is also calculated by switching the background field on adiabatically, allowing it to act for a very long time, and then adiabatically switching it off again. In both the uniform electric field and de Sitter cases, the particles created while the field is switched on are verified to be real, in the sense that they persist in the final asymptotic flat zero-field region. In the de Sitter case, there is an interesting residual dependence of the rate on how the de Sitter phase is ended, indicatingmore » a greater sensitivity to spatial boundary conditions. The electric current of the created particles in the E-field case and their energy density and pressure in the de Sitter case are also computed, and the magnitude of their backreaction effects on the background field estimated. Finally, possible consequences of the Hubble scale instability of the de Sitter vacuum for cosmology, vacuum dark energy, and the cosmological “constant” problem are discussed.« less

Authors:
 [1];  [2];  [1]
  1. Wake Forest Univ., Winston-Salem, NC (United States). Dept. of Physics
  2. Los Alamos National Lab. (LANL), Los Alamos, NM (United States)
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Los Alamos National Lab. (LANL), Los Alamos, NM (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Laboratory Directed Research and Development (LDRD) Program
OSTI Identifier:
1524366
Report Number(s):
LA-UR-17-28548
Journal ID: ISSN 2470-0010; PRVDAQ
Grant/Contract Number:  
89233218CNA000001
Resource Type:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Physical Review D
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 97; Journal Issue: 6; Journal ID: ISSN 2470-0010
Publisher:
American Physical Society (APS)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
72 PHYSICS OF ELEMENTARY PARTICLES AND FIELDS; 79 ASTRONOMY AND ASTROPHYSICS; Astronomy and Astrophysics; de Sitter space, particle creation, vacuum energy, cosmological constant, inflation

Citation Formats

Anderson, Paul R., Mottola, Emil, and Sanders, Dillon H. Decay of the de Sitter vacuum. United States: N. p., 2018. Web. doi:10.1103/PhysRevD.97.065016.
Anderson, Paul R., Mottola, Emil, & Sanders, Dillon H. Decay of the de Sitter vacuum. United States. doi:10.1103/PhysRevD.97.065016.
Anderson, Paul R., Mottola, Emil, and Sanders, Dillon H. Thu . "Decay of the de Sitter vacuum". United States. doi:10.1103/PhysRevD.97.065016. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1524366.
@article{osti_1524366,
title = {Decay of the de Sitter vacuum},
author = {Anderson, Paul R. and Mottola, Emil and Sanders, Dillon H.},
abstractNote = {The decay rate of the Bunch-Davies state of a massive scalar field in the expanding flat spatial sections of de Sitter space is determined by an analysis of the particle pair creation process in real time. The Feynman definition of particle and antiparticle Fourier mode solutions of the scalar wave equation and their adiabatic phase analytically continued to the complexified time domain show conclusively that the Bunch-Davies state is not the vacuum state at late times. The closely analogous creation of charged particle pairs in a uniform electric field is reviewed and Schwinger’s result for the vacuum decay rate is recovered by this same real time analysis. The vacuum decay rate in each case is also calculated by switching the background field on adiabatically, allowing it to act for a very long time, and then adiabatically switching it off again. In both the uniform electric field and de Sitter cases, the particles created while the field is switched on are verified to be real, in the sense that they persist in the final asymptotic flat zero-field region. In the de Sitter case, there is an interesting residual dependence of the rate on how the de Sitter phase is ended, indicating a greater sensitivity to spatial boundary conditions. The electric current of the created particles in the E-field case and their energy density and pressure in the de Sitter case are also computed, and the magnitude of their backreaction effects on the background field estimated. Finally, possible consequences of the Hubble scale instability of the de Sitter vacuum for cosmology, vacuum dark energy, and the cosmological “constant” problem are discussed.},
doi = {10.1103/PhysRevD.97.065016},
journal = {Physical Review D},
number = 6,
volume = 97,
place = {United States},
year = {2018},
month = {3}
}

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