ASPECTS OF THE COSMOLOGICAL ELECTROWEAK PHASE-TRANSITION
We study the decay of the metastable symmetric phase in the standard model at finite temperature. For the SU(2)-Higgs model the two wave function correction terms Z(phi)phi2, T) and Z(chi)(phi2, T) of Higgs and Goldstone boson fields are calculated to one-loop order. We find that the derivative expansion of the effective action is reliable for Higgs masses smaller than the W-boson mass. We propose a new procedure to evaluate the decay rate by first integrating out the vector field and the components of the scalar fields with non-zero Matsubara frequencies. The static part of the scalar field is treated in the saddle point approximation. As a by-product we obtain a formula for the decay rate of a homogeneous unstable state. The course of the cosmological electroweak phase transition is evaluated numerically for different Higgs boson masses and non-vanishing magnetic mass of the gauge boson. For Higgs masses above approximately 60 GeV the latent heat can reheat the system to the critical temperature, which qualitatively changes the nature of the transition.
423
1
171-196
171-196
Elsevier