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Title: Hydrodynamics of the electroweak phase transition
Author: Sopena, Miguel
ISNI:       0000 0004 2743 9881
Awarding Body: University of Sussex
Current Institution: University of Sussex
Date of Award: 2013
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This work investigates the hydrodynamics of the expansion of the bubbles of the broken symmetry phase during the electroweak phase transition in the early universe, in which SU(2) electroweak symmetry is broken and fundamental particles acquire mass through the Higgs mechanism. The electroweak phase transition has received renewed attention as a viable setting for the production of the matter-antimatter asymmetry of the universe. The relevant mechanisms are strongly dependent on key parameters like the expansion velocity of the walls of bubbles of the new phase. In addition, the key dynamical parameters of the phase transition may generate signatures (like gravitational waves) which may become detectable in the near future. This work builds on existing hydrodynamical studies of the growth of bubbles of the broken symmetry phase and adapts them to novel scenarios, producing predictions of the wall velocity. The early universe at the time of the electroweak phase transition is modelled as a perfect relativistic fluid. A fundamental problem is to account for the interaction between the so-called cosmic 'plasma' and the bubble wall, which may slow down wall propagation and produce a steady state with finite velocity. This 'friction' is accounted for by a separate term in the hydrodynamical equations. This work adapts existing microphysical calculations of the friction to two physical models chosen because of their suitability as regards producing the baryon asymmetry of the universe: 1) An extension of the Standard Model with dimension-6 operators (for which this is the first calculation of the wall velocity ever produced) and 2) The Light Stop Scenario (LSS) of the Minimal Supersymmetric Standard Model (MSSM) (for which this is the first 2-loop calculation). The predicted values of the wall velocity are coherent and consistent with previous studies, confirming, in particular, the prediction of a low wall velocity for the LSS.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: QC0145.2 Fluids. Fluid mechanics. General works ; QC0310.15 Thermodynamics