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Title: The standard model to the Planck scale
Author: Allison, Kyle F.
ISNI:       0000 0004 5361 9122
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2014
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The lack of direct evidence for physics beyond the SM at the LHC has led some to reevaluate the need for such physics to solve the hierarchy problem. Instead, the notion that the SM, or something like it, is valid up to the Planck scale and that technical naturalness is sufficient for solving the hierarchy problem has been suggested. This thesis examines minimal extensions of the SM that address its phenomenological and theoretical shortcomings while avoiding new physics between the electroweak and Planck scales that introduces a hierarchy problem. This thesis first studies two issues with the vMSM - an extension of the SM by three right-handed neutrinos - and their possible solutions. The first issue is the tension between dark matter production in the nuMSM and constraints from the Lyman-alpha forest data. To avoid this tension, the vMSM is extended by a Higgs singlet Φ and neutrino dark matter is produced through the decays of Φ rather than through left-right neutrino mixing. It is shown that the hierarchical parameters of this model can arise from symmetries broken at or near the Planck scale for two specific examples: one in which Φ stabilizes the electroweak vacuum and one in which Φ is a light inflaton. The second issue pertains to Higgs ξ-inflation. In the vMSM, a large non-minimal coupling ξ of the Higgs to gravity gives inflation but leads to a possible violation of perturbative unitarity below the inflationary scale. A study of Higgs ξ-inflation with Mh ≃ 125-126 GeV, for which the Higgs self-coupling λ runs to small values near the Planck scale, is carried out. It is shown that small λ can significantly reduce ξ required for inflation, but ξ cannot be small enough to address the possible unitarity issue. For small λ, a new region of Higgs ξ-inflation with a large tensor-to-scalar ratio r that is consistent with BICEP2 is discovered. This thesis then studies the technical naturalness and cosmology of a model that addresses the strong CP problem. It is shown that a classically scale invariant DFSZ invisible aξon model with a Peccei-Quinn scalar S, whose couplings to the SM are ultra-weak, can solve the strong CP problem and generate electroweak symmetry breaking via the Coleman-Weinberg mechanism. The ultra-weak couplings of S are natural due to an underlying approξmate shift symmetry. The model contains a light pseudo-Goldstone dilaton that can be consistent with cosmological bounds while the aξon can be the dark matter of the universe. Finally, a summary of the thesis is presented and future research topics are suggested.
Supervisor: Sarkar, Subir Sponsor: European Commission
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Elementary particle theory ; Particle physics ; Theoretical physics ; Neutrinos ; Symmetries ; Dark matter ; Baryon asymmetry ; Higgs inflation ; Scale invariance ; Technical naturalness ; Axion