Nucleation is More than Critical — A Case Study of the Electroweak Phase Transition in the NMSSM

Kavli Affiliate: Carlos E. M. Wagner

| First 5 Authors: Sebastian Baum, Marcela Carena, Nausheen R. Shah, Carlos E. M. Wagner, Yikun Wang

| Summary:

Electroweak baryogenesis is an attractive mechanism to generate the baryon
asymmetry of the Universe via a strong first order electroweak phase
transition. We compare the phase transition patterns suggested by the vacuum
structure at the critical temperatures, at which local minima are degenerate,
with those obtained from computing the probability for nucleation via tunneling
through the barrier separating local minima. Heuristically, nucleation becomes
difficult if the barrier between the local minima is too high, or if the
distance (in field space) between the minima is too large. As an example of a
model exhibiting such behavior, we study the Next-to-Minimal Supersymmetric
Standard Model, whose scalar sector contains two SU(2) doublets and one gauge
singlet. We find that the calculation of the nucleation probabilities prefers
different regions of parameter space for a strong first order electroweak phase
transition than the calculation based solely on the critical temperatures. Our
results demonstrate that analyzing only the vacuum structure via the critical
temperatures can provide a misleading picture of the phase transition patterns,
and, in turn, of the parameter space suitable for electroweak baryogenesis.

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