We investigate an effective model for the finite-temperature symmetry-restoration phase transition of the electroweak theory. It is obtained by dimensional reduction of the (3 + 1)-dimensional full theory and by subsequent integration over all static gauge degrees of freedom. The resulting theory corresponds to a 3-dimensional O(4) ferromagnet containing cubic and quartic terms of the field in its potential function. Possible nonperturbative effects of a magnetic screening mass are parametrically included in the potential. We analyse the theory using mean-field and numerical Monte Carlo (MC) simulation methods. At the value of the physical Higgs mass, mH = 37 GeV, considered in the present investigation, we find a discontinuous symmetry-restoring phase transition. We determine the critical temperature, order parameter jump, interface tension and latent heat characteristics of the transition. The Monte Carlo results indicate a somewhat weaker first-order phase transition as compared to the mean-field treatment, demonstrating that non-perturbative fluctuations of the Higgs field are relevant. This effect is especially important for the interface tension. Any observation of hard first-order transition could result only from non-perturbative effects related to the gauge degrees of freedom.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Nuclear and High Energy Physics