st of the laws of nature treat particles and antiparticles equally, but stars and planets are made of particles, or matter, and not antiparticles, or antimatter. That asymmetry, which favors matter to a very small degree, has puzzled scientists for many years.
Specifically, the UCLA researchers write, the asymmetry may have been produced as a result of the motion of the Higgs field, which is associated with the Higgs boson, and which could have made the masses of particles and antiparticles in the universe temporarily unequal, allowing for a small excess of matter particles over antiparticles.
If a particle and an antiparticle meet, they disappear by emitting two photons or a pair of some other particles. In the “primordial soup” that existed after the Big Bang, there were almost equal amounts of particles of antiparticles, except for a tiny asymmetry: one particle per 10 billion. As the universe cooled, the particles and antiparticles annihilated each other in equal numbers, and only a tiny number of particles remained; this tiny amount is all the stars and planets, and gas in today’s universe, said Kusenko, who is also a senior scientist with the Kavli Institute for the Physics and Mathematics of the Universe.
The recent measurement of the Higgs boson mass implies a relatively slow rise of the Standard Model Higgs potential at large scales, and a possible second minimum at even larger scales. Consequently, the Higgs field may develop a large vacuum expectation value during inflation. The relaxation of the Higgs field from its large postinflationary value to the minimum of the effective potential represents an important stage in the evolution of the universe. During this epoch, the time-dependent Higgs condensate can create an effective chemical potential for the lepton number, leading to a generation of the lepton asymmetry in the presence of some large right-handed Majorana neutrino masses. The electroweak sphalerons redistribute this asymmetry between leptons and baryons. This Higgs relaxation leptogenesis can explain the observed matter-antimatter asymmetry of the universe even if the Standard Model is valid up to the scale of inflation, and any new physics is suppressed by that high scale. (paywall)
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