Regular Article - Theoretical Physics
Fermion number 1/2 of sphalerons and spectral mirror symmetry
Department of Physics, Case Western Reserve University, 10900, Euclid Avenue, 44106, Cleveland, OH, USA
2 Department of Physics, Shahid Beheshti University, G.C., Evin, 19839, Tehran, Iran
Accepted: 8 September 2020
Published online: 25 September 2020
We present a rederivation of the baryon and lepton numbers of the S sphaleron of the standard electroweak theory based on spectral mirror symmetry. We explore the properties of a fermionic Hamiltonian under discrete transformations along a noncontractible loop of field configurations that passes through the sphaleron and whose endpoints are the vacuum. As is well known, CP transformation is not a symmetry of the system anywhere on the loop, except at the endpoints. By augmenting CP with a chirality transformation, we observe that the Dirac Hamiltonian is odd under the new transformation precisely at the sphaleron, and this ensures the mirror symmetry of the spectrum, including the continua. As a consistency check, we show that the fermionic zero mode presented by Ringwald in the sphaleron background is invariant under the new transformation. The spectral mirror symmetry which we establish here, together with the presence of the zero mode, are the two necessary conditions whence the fermion number of the sphaleron can be inferred using the reasoning presented by Jackiw and Rebbi or, equivalently, using the spectral deficiency of the Dirac sea. The relevance of this analysis to other solutions is also discussed.
© The Author(s) 2020
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