Quantum stabilization of a hedgehog type of cosmic string
CITATION: Quandt, M., Graham, N. & Weigel, H. 2017. Quantum stabilization of a hedgehog type of cosmic string. Nuclear Physics B, 923:350-377, doi:10.1016/j.nuclphysb.2017.07.022.
The original publication is available at https://www.sciencedirect.com
Within a slightly simplified version of the electroweak standard model we investigate the stabilization of cosmic strings by fermion quantum fluctuations. Previous studies of quantum energies considered variants of the Nielsen–Olesen profile embedded in the electroweak gauge group and showed that configurations are favored for which the Higgs vacuum expectation value drops near the string core and the gauge field is suppressed. This work found that the strongest binding was obtained from strings that differ significantly from Nielsen–Olesen configurations, deforming essentially only the Higgs field in order to generate a strong attraction without inducing large gradients. Extending this analysis, we consider the leading quantum cor-rection to the energy per unit length of a hedgehog type string, which, in contrast to the Nielsen–Olesen configuration, contains a pseudoscalar field. To employ the spectral method we develop the scattering and bound state problems for fermions in the background of a hedgehog string. Explicit occupation of bound state levels leads to strings that carry the quantum numbers of the bound fermions. We discuss the pa-rameter space for which stable, hedgehog type cosmic strings emerge and reflect on phenomenological consequences of these findings.