### Abstract

We study the decay of the metastable symmetric phase in the standard model at finite temperature. For the SU(2)-Higgs model the two wave function correction terms Z_{φ{symbol}}(φ{symbol}^{2}, T) and Z_{x}(φ{symbol}^{2}, T) of Higgs and Goldstone boson fields are calculated to one-loop order. We find that the derivative expansion of the effective action is reliable for Higgs masses smaller than the W-boson mass. We propose a new procedure to evaluate the decay rate by first integrating out the vector field and the components of the scalar fields with non-zero Matsubara frequencies. The static part of the scalar field is treated in the saddle point approximation. As a by-product we obtain a formula for the decay rate of a homogeneous unstable state. The course of the cosmological electroweak phase transition is evaluated numerically for different Higgs boson masses and non-vanishing magnetic mass of the gauge boson. For Higgs masses above ∼ 60 GeV the latent heat can reheat the system to the critical temperature, which qualitatively changes the nature of the transition.

Original language | English |
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Pages (from-to) | 171-196 |

Number of pages | 26 |

Journal | Nuclear Physics, Section B |

Volume | 423 |

Issue number | 1 |

DOIs | |

Publication status | Published - Jul 18 1994 |

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### ASJC Scopus subject areas

- Nuclear and High Energy Physics

### Cite this

*Nuclear Physics, Section B*,

*423*(1), 171-196. https://doi.org/10.1016/0550-3213(94)90569-X