THE SM HIGGS VACUUM INSTABILITY, INFLATION AND THE FATE OF OUR UNIVERSE



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Recording Details

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PIRSA Number: 
15030129

Abstract

The presence of an instability in the Standard Model Higgs potential may have important implications for inflation and the viability of our Universe. In particular, if the Hubble scale during inflation is comparable to (or larger than) the instability scale of the potential, quantum fluctuations in the Higgs field will lead to the Higgs sampling the unstable part of the potential during inflation. However, to correctly study transitions to the unstable regime and determine the significance for the resulting universe requires addressing a number of subtleties. I will discuss these subtleties and a variety of possible approaches to studying Higgs evolution during inflation. By considering both (1) the evolution of Higgs fluctuations in the Gaussian approximation and (2) a perturbative calculation of the fluctuation two-point correlation function, I aim to elucidate how to address these issues in a consistent, physical way. The insight provided by these approaches will set the scene for studying Higgs fluctuations via the Fokker-Planck (FP) approach, which captures the non-Gaussian nature of the field. As such, it provides information about the rare—but, in terms of the fate of our Universe, potentially extremely important—patches that experience particularly large fluctuations.