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Dynamics of Vacuum Decay

The phenomenon of first-order phase transitions in scalar field theories has wide implications in early universe cosmology and presents interesting theoretical challenges. In the standard approach, the problem is treated in analogy with quantum tunnelling in non-relativistic quantum mechanics. Recently, a real-time semi-classical technique was introduced to describe false vacuum decay. This method relies on the truncated Wigner approach of sampling stochastic vacuum fluctuations in ensembles of realizations and time-evolving classically to obtain quantitative predictions about the late-time state of the system up to one-loop order. We find that the picture of vacuum decay changes drastically when dynamics is taken into account. By zooming into the process of bubble nucleation, I will show that a more accurate description of the phenomenon requires knowledge of two new quantities: the two-point correlation function between bubble nucleation sites and the distribution of centre-of-mass velocities of the individual bubbles. I will also comment  qualitatively on the cosmological implications of these new findings.

Host: Gonzalo Alvarez
Event series  THEP Events