Journal Article

Connecting the very large and the very small: effective particle mass in curved-space cosmological models

Peter R. Phillips

in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

Published on behalf of The Royal Astronomical Society

Volume 395, issue 2, pages 943-954
Published in print May 2009 | ISSN: 0035-8711
Published online April 2009 | e-ISSN: 1365-2966 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2966.2009.14580.x
Connecting the very large and the very small: effective particle mass in curved-space cosmological models

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We investigate the propagation of electromagnetic fields and potentials in the plasma of the early Universe, assuming a Friedmann–Robertson–Walker background with negative curvature. Taking over results from classical plasma physics, we show that charged particles will acquire an effective mass that has not only the expected thermal component but also a non-thermal component due to the influence of distant matter. Although this is a direct effect of the vector potential, we show the theory is nevertheless gauge invariant. This phenomenon is therefore in the same category as the Aharonov–Bohm effect. The non-thermal component becomes increasingly important with time, and in some cosmological models can prove to be of decisive importance in bringing about the phase transition that generates normal masses.

Keywords: elementary particles; plasmas; cosmology: theory; early Universe

Journal Article.  7787 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Astronomy and Astrophysics

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