The first part of this thesis deals with the dark matter problem. A simple non-supersymmetric extension of the standard model is presented, which provides dark matter candidates not excluded by the existing dark matter searches. The simplest candidate is the neutral component of a zero hypercharge triplet, with vector gauge interactions. The upper bound on its mass is a few TeV. We also discuss possible modifications of the standard freeze-out scenario, induced by the presence of a phase transition. More specifically, if the critical temperature of the electroweak phase transition is sufficiently small, it can change the final abundances of heavy dark matter particles, by keeping them massless for a long time. Recent experimental bounds on the Higgs mass from LEP imply that this is not the case in the minimal standard model. In the second part we discuss non-trivial configurations, involving fermions which obtain their mass through Yukawa interactions with a scalar field. Under certain conditions, the vacuum expectation value of the scalar field is shifted from the minimum of the effective potential, in regions of high fermion density. This may result in the formation of fermion bound states. We study two such cases: (a) Using the non-linear SU(3)L times SU(3)R chiral Lagrangian coupled to a field theory of nuclear forces, we show that a bound state of baryons with a well defined surface may concievably form in the presence of kaon condensation. This state is of similar density to ordinary nuclei, but has net strangeness equal to about two thirds the baryon number. We discuss the properties of lumps of strange baryon matter with baryon number between ~20 and ~10 57 where gravitational effects become important. (b) The Higgs field near a very heavy top quark or any other heavy fermion is expected to be significantly deformed. By computing explicit solutions of the classical equations of motion for a spherically symmetric configuration without gauge fields, we show that in the standard model this cannot happen without violating either vacuum stability or perturbation theory at energies very close to the top quark mass.
- Pub Date:
- Physics: Elementary Particles and High Energy, Physics: Astronomy and Astrophysics, Physics: Nuclear