algebraic quantum field theory (perturbative, on curved spacetimes, homotopical)
quantum mechanical system, quantum probability
interacting field quantization
A classical field theory with action functional having the standard kinetic action and non-derivative interactions has stable, time-independent solutions to its equations of motion where all fields are constant on a value that is a local minimum of the interaction term potential energy (if any).
In the corresponding quantum field theory, however, a state that is initially concentrated this way on a local minimum which is not also a global minimum is not time-independent, but will exhibit quantum tunneling behaviour by which the fields “tunnel” through the local potential barrier into the global minimum. Therefore one speaks of a false vacuum in this case.
The classical articles are
Sidney Coleman, Fate of the false vacuum: Semiclassical theory , Phys. Rev. D 15, 2929–2936 (1977) (doi:10.1103/PhysRevD.15.2929)
Sidney Coleman, Frank De Luccia, Gravitational effects on and of vacuum decay , Phys. Rev. D 21, 3305–3315 (1980) (doi:10.1103/PhysRevD.21.3305)
More recent development (in view of Higgs metastability):
Last revised on January 2, 2021 at 09:13:15. See the history of this page for a list of all contributions to it.