The measured (central) values of the Higgs and top quark masses indicate that the Standard Model (SM) effective potential develops an instability at high field values. The scale of this instability, determined as the Higgs field value at which the potential drops below the electroweak minimum, is about 10^11 GeV. However, such a scale is unphysical as it is not gauge-invariant and suffers from a gauge-fixing uncertainty of up to two orders of magnitude. Subjecting our system, the SM, to several probes of the instability (adding higher order operators to the potential; letting the vacuum decay through critical bubbles; heating up the system to very high temperature; inflating it) and asking in each case physical questions, we are able to provide several gauge-invariant scales related with the Higgs potential instability.
Département de Physique Théorique
Université de Genève
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