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I Monopole Creation and Higgs Field

  1. Mar 14, 2016 #1
    Please consider this statement from Alan Guth (from his book "The Inflationary Universe"). The context is the creation of magnetic monopoles:

    The monopoles, therefore, are the surviving remnants of the chaos in the Higgs fields immediately after the phase transition.

    Guth then goes on to present an argument to the effect that Higgs fields tend to 'align' with one another over time - thereby eliminating this 'chaos' - but only to the extent permitted by the speed limit of light: the Higgs field at location A cannot align with the Higgs field at location B by a time t if a ray of light cannot get from A to B in t seconds or less. I get this last bit about effects not propagating faster than c.

    The thrust of the argument seems to be that failure to achieve universal alignment resulted in monopole creation (loosely: some regions of space were too far apart from each other to be able to align given the speed of light limit). Conversely, if universal alignment had occurred, there should be no monopoles.

    Can anyone present a comprehensible explanation as to why this failure to achieve alignment should give birth to monopoles?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 14, 2016 #2

    Chalnoth

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    Magnetic monopoles can form when there is a "defect".

    I think the easiest defect to understand is to consider the above situation, where A and B are both regions of aligned Higgs fields which began separately, but later collided. The two-dimensional boundary between the two regions becomes stuck in a higher-energy state. This kind of defect is known as a "domain wall".

    In principle you can have a defect of any number of dimensions. A one-dimensional defect is known as a cosmic string. A magnetic monopole is a zero-dimensional defect.

    For a little bit more on defects:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Topological_defect
     
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