Interpreting cosmological vacuum decay

J. S. Alcaniz, J. A. S. Lima
2005 Physical Review D  
The cosmological vacuum decay scenario recently proposed by Wang and Meng \cite{wm} is rediscussed. From thermodynamic arguments it is found that the $\epsilon$ parameter quantifying the vacuum decay rate must be positive in the presence of particle creation. If there is no particle creation, the proper mass of Cold Dark Matter (CDM) particles is necessarily a time dependent quantity, scaling as $m(t) = m_o a(t)^{\epsilon}$. By considering the presence of baryons in the cosmological scenario,
more » ... logical scenario, it is also shown that their dynamic effect is to alter the transition redshift $z_*$ (the redshift at which the Universe switches from decelerating to accelerating expansion), predicting values of $z_*$ compatible with current estimates based on type Ia supernova. In order to constrain the $\Omega_m - \epsilon$ plane, a joint statistical analysis involving the current supernovae observations, gas mass fraction measurements in galaxy clusters and CMB data is performed. At 95% c.l. it is found that the vacuum decay rate parameter lies on the interval $\epsilon = 0.11 \pm 0.12$). The possibility of a vacuum decay into photons is also analyzed. In this case, the energy density of the radiation fluid scales as $\rho_r = \rho_{ro}a^{-4 + \epsilon}$, and its temperature evolution law obeys $T(t) = T_oa(t)^{\epsilon/4 - 1}$.
doi:10.1103/physrevd.72.063516 fatcat:u3454bsqa5dgtp3mw47cuojbk4