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Publication# Particle creation from non-topological solitons

Abstract

Non topological solitons, Q balls can arise in many particle theories with U(1) global symmetries. As was shown by Cohen et al. [2], if the corresponding scalar field couples to massless fermions, large Q-balls are unstable and evaporate, producing a fermion flux proportional to the Q ball's surface. In this work we analyse Q-ball instabilities as a function of Q-ball size and fermion mass. In particular, we construct an exact quantum-mechanical description of the evaporating Q-ball. This new construction provides an alternative method to compute Q-Ball's evaporation rates. We shall also find a new expression for the upper bound on evaporation as a function of the produced fermion mass and study the effects of the size of the Q ball on particle production. We also analyse what happens if external fermion is scattered on a Q ball and demonstrate that it can be converted into antiparticle with a probability of the order of one. This result has important implications for astrophysical applications of dark matter Q balls.

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When a classical conservation law is broken by quantum corrections, the associated symmetry is said to be anomalous. This type of symmetry breaking can lead to interesting physics. For instance in strong interactions, the anomaly in the chiral current is important in the pion decay to two photons. In weak interactions, there is an anomaly in the baryon number current. Although anomalous baryon number violating transitions are strongly suppressed at small energies, they could be at the origin of the baryon asymmetry of the universe. In this thesis, we consider several issues related to the theoretical and phenomenological aspects of anomalies. Although our main aim is the study of the electroweak theory, most of the theoretical questions do not rely on its precise setup. In order to solve these problems, we design a 1+1 dimensional chiral Abelian Higgs model displaying similar nonperturbative physics as the electroweak theory and leading to many simplifications. This model contains sphaleron and instanton transitions and, as the electroweak theory, leads to anomalous fermion number nonconservation. The one-loop fermionic contribution to the probability of an instanton transition with fermion number violation is calculated in the chiral Abelian Higgs model where the fermions have a Yukawa coupling to the scalar field. These contributions are given by the determinant of the fermionic fluctuations. The dependence of the determinant on fermionic, scalar and vector mass is determined. We also show in detail how to renormalize the fermionic determinant in partial wave analysis. The 1+1 dimensional model has the remarkable property to enable the creation of an odd number of fractionally charged fermions. We point out that for 1+1 dimensions this process does not violate any symmetries of the theory, nor does it lead to any mathematical inconsistencies. We construct the proper definition of the fermionic determinant in this model and underline its non-trivial features that are of importance for realistic 3+1 dimensional models with fermion number violation. In theories with anomalous fermion number nonconservation, the level crossing picture is considered a faithful representation of the fermionic quantum number variation. It represents each created fermion by an energy level that crosses the zero-energy line from below. If several fermions of various masses are created, the level crossing picture contains several levels that cross the zero-energy line and cross each other. However, we know from quantum mechanics that the corresponding levels cannot cross if the different fermions are mixed via some interaction potential. The simultaneous application of these two requirements on the level behavior leads to paradoxes. For instance, a naive interpretation of the resulting level crossing picture gives rise to charge nonconservation. We resolve this paradox by a precise calculation of the transition probability, and discuss what are the implications for the electroweak theory. In particular, the nonperturbative transition probability is higher if top quarks are present in the initial state. Coming back to the electroweak theory, we point out that the results of many baryogenesis scenarios operating at or below the TeV scale are rather sensitive to the rate of anomalous fermion number violation across the electroweak crossover. Assuming the validity of the Standard Model of electroweak interactions, we estimate this rate for experimentally allowed values of the Higgs mass (mH = 100…300 GeV). We also discuss where the rate enters in the particle density evolution and how to compute the leading baryonic asymmetry.

This thesis describes measurements of Brownian motion of a colloidal particle using optical trapping. Two aspects are investigated: (i) influence of inertial effects on Brownian motion, and (ii) effect of the optical trap on Brownian motion. The first part describes the experimental setup used: in short, a focused infrared laser beam is used to create an optical trap, and also provides the light source for the position detection. A single particle is trapped by the laser if it is brought near the focus, but it still moves due to Brownian motion. By analyzing the power spectral density of the position signal, the detection limit of the experimental setup is estimated to be 2 µs. The second part contains a study of inertial effects in Brownian motion of a colloidal particle at the microsecond time scale. Measurements are performed for three cases: a particle in a bulk fluid, a particle next to a wall and a particle in a confined fluid. For a particle in a bulk fluid, power law decay of t-3/2 is observed in the particle's velocity autocorrelation function. This power law decay has its origin in the non-negligible fluid inertia. A small effect caused by the particle's inertia is also observed. For the case of a particle placed next to a wall, a faster decay with power law of t-5/2 is observed in the velocity correlations parallel to the wall. Finally, for a particle in a confined fluid, absence of power law decay is observed, and the data instead agree with the model of an exponential decay of velocity correlations. These experimental observations are in accord with the theoretical predictions and show that the effect of the fluid's inertia is most significant in the case of a particle in a bulk fluid, less significant in the case of a particle next to a wall and completely absent in the case of a particle in a confined fluid. The third part is devoted to the characterization of the Brownian motion of a colloidal particle in an optical trap. Data for the mean-square displacement 〈[Δx(t)]2〉 and power spectral density are in excellent agreement with the theory for a Brownian particle in a harmonic potential, which also accounts for inertial effects. The motion of the particle is dominated by inertial effects at short times and by the trap potential at longer times. We find the time below which the particle's motion is not influenced by the potential to be approximately τκ/20, where τκ is the relaxation time of the restoring force of the potential. This allows us to exclude the existence of free diffusive motion, 〈[Δx(t)]2〉 ∝ t , even for a spherical particle with a radius as small as 0.27 µm in a potential with a spring constant as small as 1.5 µN/m. In the experiment with a micron-sized sphere in the weakest trap potential, estimation of the time below which the particle motion is not influenced by the potential gives τκ/20 ≈ 100 µs. In the time range 2-100 µs, the experimental setup then functions as a position detector probing the motion of a free Brownian particle. Moreover, it is shown that such a detector is achieved for any sphere size in the range between 0.53 µm to 4.16 µm. Hence, the results open up a possibility for using optically trapped Brownian particle as a local reporter its environment on microsecond time scales. This technique could be applied in more complex environments, like polymer networks, cell interiors or bacterial solutions.

Since the first inductively coupled plasma (ICP) torch was developed in the 60's, RF thermal plasmas have found a variety of applications in material processing such as crystal growth, thermal spray coatings, spheroidization and vaporization of refractory materials. In recent decades, inductively coupled thermal plasmas have been used for the synthesis of high purity nanoparticles, thank to their remarkable advantages such as high energy density, variable operating pressures and low product contamination. The formation of nano-sized particles in thermal plasmas particularly using solid refractory precursor is a complex process. Hereby the injected precursor powders are heated by the high temperature of the thermal plasma. The heated powders are vaporized and decomposed into vapor species. During the following cooling, the vapor species are condensed to nano-sized particles. In this synthesis process, characterized by evaporation-condensation, the properties of the synthesized particles such as particle size, size distribution, phases and morphology are affected by various process parameters. Gas pressure, flow rates of the different torch gases, size of the precursor powders and powder loading in the plasma are considered as the influencing process parameters. In order to optimize and control the process for tailor-made nanoparticle synthesis, it is necessary to understand the effects of the process parameters on plasma properties and on the particle-plasma interactions resulting in final properties of the synthesized powders. In the present work, firstly, the enthalpy probe technique, a well-established plasma diagnostic tool for high pressure thermal plasma, has been applied to characterize the inductively coupled Ar-H2 thermal RF plasma used for alumina nanoparticle synthesis at different operating conditions. The plasma enthalpy has been determined, and the plasma temperature under a given gas pressure could subsequently be calculated assuming local thermodynamic equilibrium (LTE), once the gas composition has been determined by mass spectrometry. The gas velocity of the plasma jet could also be obtained by using the Bernoulli equation and stagnation pressure. Secondly, the influence of flow rates of central gas and precursor feed rates on the Al2O3 precursor evaporation has been investigated by process monitoring. Optical emission spectroscopy (OES) and laser light extinction (LE) measurements have been carried out to monitor in-situ the injection of the alumina precursors and to obtain information on the ongoing precursor evaporation. The emission line intensities of the aluminum vapor were used to determine the dependence of process parameters on precursor evaporation. Furthermore, the laser light extinction was used to calculate the number density of non plasma-treated powders, from which the number fraction of evaporated powders could be deduced. The size and morphology of the synthesized particles have been characterized ex-situ. Finally, the influence of quenching conditions on the condensation and formation of the nano-sized alumina particle has been studied by process analysis of the gas phase reactions of alumina. Optical emission spectroscopic was performed at different axial positions to monitor the gas phase reactions of the vaporized particles. Axial profiles of the emission line intensities of the main vapor species of alumina, Al(g) and AlO(g), were compared with the results of the enthalpy probe measurements and the thermal decomposition reactions of alumina found in literature. The results allow explanation of the alumina reactions in the thermal plasma as well as gives indications for the optimal axial position of the quenching gas injection. In addition to the determination of the optimal quenching position, the influence of the flow rates of quenching gas on the nanoparticle formation has been investigated. The synthesis of the submicron alumina using vapor-condensation principle predominantly leads to various thermodynamically metastable crystal structures called transition alumina. Therefore, the occurrence of different transition aluminas is discussed with regards to the flow rates of the quenching gas. The results presented in this thesis show that the synthesis process of the nanoparticle can be described on the basis of experimental results and basic information on the powder materials. The explanation of the influence of process parameters on powder evaporation and nanoparticle formation shows the usefulness of the in-situ plasma process monitoring, and the large potential for optimizing and controlling the nanopowder synthesis process in an inductively coupled RF thermal plasma.