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Hi,

Let be a scalar field φ that permeates all space. The quantum of the field has a mass m. The field is at the minimum of its potential. When this minimum is for φ≠0 (a broken symmetry), the quantum may be observed by exciting the field, as with the Higgs boson.

But if the symmetry is not broken, the field is at the minimum of its potential for φ=0. Is it then possible to observe its quantum?

I am asking this thinking of inflationary cosmology: in a scenario such as the "new inflation" the inflaton field potential has its minimum for φ≠0. The inflaton boson may then, at least in a thought experiment, be observable with an accelerator. But with the "chaotic inflation" the minimum is at φ=0. Is the inflaton boson observable then?

I would be grateful if you could enlighten me.

Let be a scalar field φ that permeates all space. The quantum of the field has a mass m. The field is at the minimum of its potential. When this minimum is for φ≠0 (a broken symmetry), the quantum may be observed by exciting the field, as with the Higgs boson.

But if the symmetry is not broken, the field is at the minimum of its potential for φ=0. Is it then possible to observe its quantum?

I am asking this thinking of inflationary cosmology: in a scenario such as the "new inflation" the inflaton field potential has its minimum for φ≠0. The inflaton boson may then, at least in a thought experiment, be observable with an accelerator. But with the "chaotic inflation" the minimum is at φ=0. Is the inflaton boson observable then?

I would be grateful if you could enlighten me.

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