Relaxation of vacuum energy in q-theory

Research paper by F. R. Klinkhamer, M. Savelainen, G. E. Volovik

Indexed on: 21 Jan '16Published on: 21 Jan '16Published in: High Energy Physics - Theory


The $q$-theory formalism aims to describe the thermodynamics and dynamics of the deep quantum vacuum. The thermodynamics leads to an exact cancellation of the quantum-field zero-point-energies in equilibrium, which partly solves the main cosmological constant problem. But, with reversible dynamics, the spatially-flat Friedmann-Robertson-Walker universe asymptotically approaches the Minkowski vacuum only if the Big Bang already started out in an initial equilibrium state. Here, we extend $q$-theory by introducing dissipation from irreversible processes. Neglecting the possible instability of a de-Sitter vacuum, we obtain different scenarios with either a de-Sitter asymptote or collapse to a final singularity. The Minkowski asymptote still requires fine-tuning of the initial conditions.