Fate of the false vacuum: Semiclassical theory
Abstract
It is possible for a classical field theory to have two homogeneous stable equilibrium states with different energy densities. In the quantum version of the theory, the state of higher energy density becomes unstable through barrier penetration; it is a false vacuum. This is the first of two papers developing the qualitative and quantitative semiclassical theory of the decay of such a false vacuum for theories of a single scalar field with nonderivative interactions. In the limit of vanishing energy density between the two ground states, it is possible to obtain explicit expressions for the relevant quantities to leading order in h; in the more general case, the problem can be reduced to solving a single nonlinear ordinary differential equation.
 Publication:

Physical Review D
 Pub Date:
 May 1977
 DOI:
 10.1103/PhysRevD.15.2929
 Bibcode:
 1977PhRvD..15.2929C