### Abstract

We present a detailed analysis of the phase transition in the standard model at finite temperature. Using an improved perturbation theory, where plasma masses are determined from a set of one-loop gap equations, we evaluate the effective potential V_{eff}(φ, T) in next-to-leading order, i.e., including terms cubic in the gauge coupling g, the scalar self-coupling λ^{1/2}, and the top-quark Yukawa coupling f_{t}. The gap equations yield a non-vanishing magnetic plasma mass for the gauge bosons, originating from the non-abelian self-interactions. We discuss in detail size and origin of higher order effects and conclude that the phase transition is weakly first-order up to Higgs masses of about 70 GeV, above which our calculation is no longer self-consistent. For larger Higgs masses even an approximation containing all g^{4} contributions to V_{eff} is not sufficient, at least a full calculation to order g^{6} is needed. These results turn out to be rather insensitive to the top-quark mass in the range m_{top} = 100-180 GeV. Using Langer′s theory of metastability we calculate the nucleation rate of critical droplets and discuss some aspects of the cosmological electroweak phase transition.

Original language | English |
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Pages (from-to) | 260-299 |

Number of pages | 40 |

Journal | Annals of Physics |

Volume | 234 |

Issue number | 2 |

DOIs | |

Publication status | Published - Sep 1994 |

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### ASJC Scopus subject areas

- Physics and Astronomy(all)

### Cite this

*Annals of Physics*,

*234*(2), 260-299. https://doi.org/10.1006/aphy.1994.1082