In explicit symmetry breaking, the equations of motion of a physical system are variant under the broken symmetry; by contrast, for spontaneous symmetry breaking (SSB), these equations are invariant, but the entire system is not because its vacuum (background) is non-invariant. Further use for the ...

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What is spontaneous symmetry breaking in QUANTUM systems?

Most descriptions of spontaneous symmetry breaking, even for spontaneous symmetry breaking in quantum systems, actually only give a classical picture. According to the classical picture, spontaneous ...
39
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2answers
996 views

Symmetries of the Standard Model: exact, anomalous, spontaneously broken

There are a number of possible symmetries in fundamental physics, such as: Lorentz invariance (or actually, Poincaré invariance, which can itself be broken down into translation invariance and ...
26
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1answer
687 views

How does the Super-Kamiokande experiment falsify SU(5)?

In his book "The Trouble With Physics", Lee Smolin writes that he is still stunned by the falsification of the $SU(5)$ Georgi-Glashow model by the null results of proton decay experiments. I should ...
26
votes
2answers
738 views

Finding the vacuum which breaks a symmetry

I will start with an example. Consider a symmetry breaking pattern like $SU(4)\rightarrow Sp(4)$. We know that in $SU(4)$ there is the Standard Model (SM) symmetry $SU(2)_L\times U(1)_Y$ but depending ...
24
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2answers
3k views

Norton's dome and its equation

Norton's dome is the curve $$h(r) = -\frac{2}{3g} r ^{3/2}.$$ Where $h$ is the height and $r$ is radial arc distance along the dome. The top of the dome is at $h = 0$. Via Norton's web. If we put ...
23
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1answer
2k views

Emergent symmetries

As we know, spontaneous symmetry breaking(SSB) is a very important concept in physics. Loosely speaking, zero temprature SSB says that the Hamiltonian of a quantum system has some symmetry, but the ...
19
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2answers
3k views

Self energy, 1PI, and tadpoles

I'm having a hard time reconciling the following discrepancy: Recall that in passing to the effective action via a Legendre transformation, we interpret the effective action $\Gamma[\phi_c]$ to be ...
18
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2answers
1k views

What is (meant by) a non-compact $U(1)$ Lie group?

In John Preskill's review of monopoles he states on p. 471 Nowadays, we have another way of understanding why electric charge is quantized. Charge is quantized if the electromagnetic $U(l)_{\rm ...
17
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1answer
613 views

Vibrational anharmonic coupling and noise-induced spontaneous symmetry breaking in a hexagonal finite mechanical lattice

Happy holidays, everyone! The following is part question, part visual gallery, and part classical mechanics problem. Inspired by snow over the weekend I began simulating the vibrations of the ...
16
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1answer
664 views

Spontaneous breaking of Lorentz invariance in gauge theories

I was browsing through the hep-th arXiv and came across this article: Spontaneous Lorentz Violation in Gauge Theories. A. P. Balachandran, S. Vaidya. arXiv:1302.3406 [hep-th]. (Submitted on 14 ...
16
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3answers
1k views

Spontaneous symmetry breaking in classical mechanics, quantum mechanics and quantum field theory

I wondered if someone could help me understand spontaneous symmetry breaking (SSB) in classical mechanics, quantum mechanics and quantum field theory. Consider a Higgs-like potential, with a local ...
16
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0answers
332 views

“S-duality” between confinement and the Higgs mechanism?

I feel picked by the second to last sentence in this answer to a question about what would happen if EM and QCD were spontaneously broken, which says "In fact, there is a sense in theoretical ...
15
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3answers
2k views

Why is the Symmetry Group for the Electroweak force $SU(2) \times U(1)$ and not $U(2)$?

Let me first say that I'm a layman who's trying to understand group theory and gauge theory, so excuse me if my question doesn't make sense. Before symmetry breaking, the Electroweak force has 4 ...
15
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1answer
316 views

Explicit supersymmetry breaking fermion mass terms

I hope you can clear up my following confusions. In Girardello's and Grisaru's paper (Nuclear Physics B, 194, 65 (1982)) where they analysed the most general soft explicit supersymmetry breaking ...
14
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2answers
1k views

What is the role of the vacuum expectation value in symmetry breaking and the generation of mass?

Consider a theory of one complex scalar field with the following Lagrangian. $$ \mathcal{L}=\partial _\mu \phi ^*\partial ^\mu \phi +\mu ^2\phi ^*\phi -\frac{\lambda}{2}(\phi ^*\phi )^2. $$ The ...
14
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1answer
1k views

Are there massless bosons at scales above electroweak scale?

Spontaneous electroweak symmetry breaking (i.e. $SU(2)\times U(1)\to U(1)_{em}$ ) is at scale about 100 Gev. So, for Higgs mechanism, gauge bosons $Z$ & $W$ have masses about 100 GeV. But before ...
14
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1answer
596 views

Does the existence of Higgs imply the existence of Magnetic Monopoles?

I am aware that in theories with spontaneous symmetry breaking, Magnetic Monopoles can exist as topological solitons. Can the same be done with the Standard Model gauge group. I am familiar with the ...
13
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2answers
483 views

In what sense do Goldstone bosons live in the coset?

Goldstone's theorem says that if a group, $G$, is broken into its subgroup, $H$, then massless particles will appear. The number of massless particles are given by the dimension of the coset, $G/H$. ...
11
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2answers
3k views

Spontaneous Time Reversal Symmetry Breaking?

It is known that you can break P spontaneously--- look at any chiral molecule for an example. Spontaneous T breaking is harder for me to visualize. Is there a well known condensed matter system which ...
11
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2answers
890 views

Understanding Elitzur's theorem from Polyakov's simple argument?

I was reading through the first chapter of Polyakov's book "Gauge-fields and Strings" and couldn't understand a hand-wavy argument he makes to explain why in systems with discrete gauge-symmetry only ...
11
votes
5answers
266 views

How is the ground state chosen in a spontaneous symmetry breaking process?

This question is about how the ground state is chosen in a spontaneous symmetry breaking process. Say we have a Mexican Hat potential (e.g. the one for the Higgs field) and are sitting at the unstable ...
10
votes
3answers
1k views

How come a photon acts like it has mass in a superconducting field?

I've heard the Higgs mechanism explained as analogous to the reason that a photon acts like it has mass in a superconducting field. However, that's not too helpful if I don't understand the latter. ...
10
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1answer
1k views

What is a quark condensate?

What is a quark condensate? is it a bound state between 2 quarks? can we have 3(or more)-quarks condensate? What mediates the interaction between the constituents of the condensate? Are the ...
10
votes
1answer
261 views

Does measurement, quantum in particular, always increase the total entropy?

Measurement of a quantum observable (in an appropriate, old-fashioned sense) necessarily involves coupling to a system with a macroscopically large number of degrees of freedom. Entanglement with this ...
10
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1answer
328 views

Chiral perturbation theory: what is the Quark Condensate? why expand in $U$ rather than Goldstone fields?

I'm studying Chiral Perturbation Theory ($\chi PT$) from Scherer's Introduction to Chiral Perturbation Theory. What I am currently having some trouble understanding are two things: The quark ...
10
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1answer
135 views

Breaking of E6 to SO(10) in heterotic string theory

Some of the heterotic string models have an $E_6\otimes E_8$ symmetry. Examples include some orbifold models, some free fermionic models and Gepner models. We can break the gauge symmetry by including ...
9
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2answers
2k views

Why do we need Higgs field to re-explain mass, but not charge?

We already had definition of mass based on gravitational interactions since before Higgs. It's similar to charge which is defined based on electromagnetic interactions of particles. Why did Higgs ...
9
votes
2answers
547 views

Could spontaneous symmetry breaking happen again in our universe?

It is generally believed that $10^{-35}$ seconds after the Big Bang, the symmetry of a GUT was broken and after $10^{-12}$ seconds the electroweak force was broken: \begin{equation} \mathrm{SU(2)} ...
9
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1answer
2k views

Topological order vs. Symmetry breaking: what does (non-)local order parameter mean?

Topological order are sometimes defined in opposition with the order parameter originating from a symmetry breaking. The latter one being possibly described by a Landau theory, with an order ...
9
votes
1answer
1k views

Possibility of Bose-Einstein condensation in low dimensions

I remember having a problem (for practice preliminary exams at UC Berkeley) to prove that Bose-Einstein condensation(BEC) is not possible in two dimensions (as opposed to three dimensions): For ...
9
votes
1answer
243 views

A graphical proof that the $SU(2)/\mathbb{Z}_2$ vortex is non-orientable

The text, see [1], compares the vortex solutions of a spontaneously broken symmetry $U(1) \rightarrow 1$ and $SU(2)\rightarrow U(1) \rightarrow \mathbb{Z}_2$. The vortices can be classified by ...
9
votes
2answers
1k views

Symmetry Breaking And Phase transition

Is every phase transition associated with a symmetry breaking? If yes, what is the symmetry that a gaseous phase have but the liquid phase does not? What is the extra symmetry that normal $\bf He$ ...
9
votes
3answers
566 views

Spontaneous breaking of Lorentz invariance

Is it possible to spontaneously break Lorentz invariance, i.e., have a Lagrangian that respects LI but a vacuum which does not? If it is possible, why isn't there even the slightest hint of the ...
9
votes
1answer
1k views

What is the difference between quantum fluctuations and thermal fluctuations?

Start with a simple scalar field Lagrangian $\mathcal{L}(\phi)$ at zero temperature $T = 0$, which has a hidden symmetry and spontaneously break it. By the standard procedure a field $\phi$ is ...
9
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0answers
145 views

Simple argument for unexpected behavior in SUSY model

Consider a supersymmetric theory with 3 chiral superfields, $X, \Phi_1$ and $\Phi_2,$ with canonical Kahler potential and superpotential $$ W= \frac12 h_1 X\Phi_1^2 +\frac12 h_2 \Phi_2\Phi_1^2 + fX.$$ ...
8
votes
2answers
592 views

Precise statement of Mermin–Wagner theorem

Roughly speaking, Mermin-Wagner theorem states that continuous symmetries cannot be spontaneously broken at finite temperature in systems with sufficiently short-range interactions in dimensions ...
8
votes
2answers
190 views

Can a superpartner be less massive than its SM counterpart?

Theoretically, can a superpartner be less massive than its standard model counterpart? I realize there are experimental constraints.
8
votes
1answer
662 views

Dispersion of ferromagnetic ($E\propto k^2$) and antiferromagnetic ($E\propto k$) spin wave

The dispersion of ferromagnetic spin wave at low energy is $E\propto k^2$, while $E\propto k$ for antiferromagnetic case. Is there a simple/physical argument (such as symmetry) for these results? ...
8
votes
1answer
145 views

Which is the coupling between the photon and the SU(2)xU(1) gauginos, before symmetry breaking?

The photon field is the non chiral piece of SU(2)xU(1), independently of symmetry breaking or not, isn't it? But before symmetry breaking, each gauge boson has only a chiral gaugino as ...
8
votes
2answers
419 views

Do the standard cosmology models spontaneously break Lorentz symmetry?

In standard cosmology models (Friedmann equations which your favorite choice of DM and DE), there exists a frame in which the total momenta of any sufficiently large sphere, centered at any point in ...
8
votes
2answers
653 views

Dynamical supersymmetry breaking and Witten index

Witten index, defined as ${\rm Tr}(-1)^F$, determines if supersymmetry is spontaneously broken or not for a given model. However, it is also known that supersymmetry can be dynamically broken. One ...
8
votes
2answers
183 views

Quantum Anomalies and Quantum Symmetries

In Quantum Field Theories (QFT) there is a well known phenomenon of anomalies, where a classical symmetry is broken in the quantum theory due to a so called anomaly. This symmetry breaking can be ...
8
votes
1answer
404 views

If a symmetry operator S in a QFT annihilates the vacuum, why does S preserve the space of 1-particle states?

In the paper "Supersymmetry and Morse Theory", on the third page (p. 663 in the journal version), Witten says: "Now in any quantum field theory if a symmetry operator (an operator which commutes ...
8
votes
2answers
390 views

Time crystals : fake or revolution?

This article about "crystals of time" just appeared on the PRL website. Viewpoint: Crystals of Time (http://physics.aps.org/articles/v5/116) The authors (including famous Frank Wilczek) claim that ...
8
votes
1answer
540 views

What are the similarities and differences between Stueckelberg mechanism and Higgs mechanism?

What is the difference and similarities between Stueckelberg mechanism and Higgs mechanism? They both make the gauge field massive. Is the Stueckelberg mechanism a special case about U(1) gauge fields ...
8
votes
4answers
593 views

What role does “spontaneously symmetry breaking” played in the “Higgs Mechanism”?

In talking about Higgs mechanism, the first part is always some introduction to the concept of spontaneously symmetry breaking (SSB), some people saying that Higgs mechanism is the results of SSB of ...
7
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1answer
197 views

Restoration of spontaneously broken symmetry at high energy

It is common to find books saying that above a certain energy, a certain symmetry in particle physics is restored, e.g. the $SU(2)\times U(1)$ electroweak symmetry was unbroken between $10^{-36}$ to ...
7
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1answer
333 views

Where does the hidden supersymmetric sector of the MSSM come from?

At the end of Chapter 14 of the "Supersymmetry Demystified book" from Patrick Labelle it is mentioned that to constrain the number of allowed softly SUSY breaking terms, a shadow or hidden ...
7
votes
2answers
115 views

Lie groups with same algebra

I had a problem when considering symmetry breaking in an SO(4) gauge theory: $\mathcal{L} = \left| D_\mu\phi \right|^2$ where $D_\mu$ is the SO(4) covariant derivative. Then assuming there is some ...
7
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1answer
663 views

Early time in the Big Bang

I am not a physicist, so I would really appreciate using a simple language for the explanation of my question. From what I understood at the early Big Bang the four fundamental forces were unified to ...