Maxim Chernodub (Institut Denis Poisson, Tours, France and West University of Timișoara, Romania): Solidifying vacuum: phase structure of the electroweak model in a strong magnetic field


Using first-principle numerical simulations, we demonstrate for the first time that the vacuum subjected to a strong magnetic field becomes a disordered solid made of vortices parallel to the magnetic field. The emergence of the vortex phase also points to the fascinating possibility that the vacuum becomes a superconductor and, simultaneously, a superfluid. Our simulations also reveal that at an even higher magnetic field, the solid state of the vacuum melts down (at zero temperature) and disappears: the vacuum enters a new, symmetry-restored phase. While these phases were conjectured about, respectively, thirty and fifty years ago, they remained a pure analytical hypothesis before our first-principle calculation. Astrophysical estimations suggest that the magnetic field of the relevant strength can be produced above the horizons of the magnetized black holes, indicating that the exotic superconducting-superfluid-solid state of the vacuum might exist in our Universe even today.

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