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Publication# Chiral charge erasure via thermal fluctuations of magnetic helicity

Abstract

We consider a relativistic plasma of fermions coupled to an Abelian gauge field and carrying a chiral charge asymmetry, which might arise in the early Universe through baryogenesis. It is known that on large length scales, lambda greater than or similar to 1/(alpha mu(5)), the chiral anomaly opens an instability toward the erasure of chiral charge and growth of magnetic helicity. Here the chemical potential mu(5) parametrizes the chiral asymmetry and alpha is the fine-structure constant. We study the process of chiral charge erasure through the thermal fluctuations of magnetic helicity and contrast with the well-studied phenomenon of Chern-Simons number diffusion. Through the fluctuation-dissipation theorem we estimate the amplitude and time scale of helicity fluctuations on the length scale lambda, finding delta H similar to lambda T and tau similar to alpha lambda T-3(2) for a relativistic plasma at temperature T. We argue that the presence of a chiral asymmetry allows the helicity to grow diffusively for a time t similar to T-3/(alpha(5)mu(4)(5)) until it reaches an equilibrium value H similar to mu T-5(2)/alpha, and the chiral asymmetry is partially erased. If the chiral asymmetry is small, mu(5) < T/alpha, this avenue for chiral charge erasure is found to be slower than the chiral magnetic effect for which t similar to T/(alpha(3)mu(2)(5)). This mechanism for chiral charge erasure can be important for the hypercharge sector of the Standard Model as well as extensions including U(1) gauge interactions, such as asymmetric dark matter models.

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Related concepts (9)

Standard Model

The Standard Model of particle physics is the theory describing three of the four known fundamental forces (electromagnetic, weak and strong interactions – excluding gravity) in the universe and classifying all known elementary particles. It was developed in stages throughout the latter half of the 20th century, through the work of many scientists worldwide, with the current formulation being finalized in the mid-1970s upon experimental confirmation of the existence of quarks.

Fermion

In particle physics, a fermion is a particle that follows Fermi–Dirac statistics. Generally, it has a half-odd-integer spin: spin 1/2, spin 3/2, etc. In addition, these particles obey the Pauli exclusion principle. Fermions include all quarks and leptons and all composite particles made of an odd number of these, such as all baryons and many atoms and nuclei. Fermions differ from bosons, which obey Bose–Einstein statistics. Some fermions are elementary particles (such as electrons), and some are composite particles (such as protons).

Chiral anomaly

In theoretical physics, a chiral anomaly is the anomalous nonconservation of a chiral current. In everyday terms, it is equivalent to a sealed box that contained equal numbers of left and right-handed bolts, but when opened was found to have more left than right, or vice versa. Such events are expected to be prohibited according to classical conservation laws, but it is known there must be ways they can be broken, because we have evidence of charge–parity non-conservation ("CP violation").

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