False vacuum states are metastable in quantum field theories, and true vacuum bubbles can be nucleated due to the quantum tunneling effect. It was recently suggested that an evaporating black hole (BH) can be a catalyst of bubble nucleations and dramatically shortens the lifetime of the false vacuum. In particular, in the context of the Standard Model valid up to a certain energy scale, even a single evaporating BH may spoil the successful cosmology by inducing the decay of our electroweak vacuum. In this paper, we reinterpret catalyzed vacuum decay by BHs, using an effective action for a thin-wall bubble around a BH to clarify the meaning of bounce solutions. We calculate bounce solutions in the limit of a flat spacetime and in the limit of negligible backreaction to the metric, where it is much easier to understand the physical meaning, and compare these results with the full calculations done in the literature. As a result, we give a physical interpretation of the enhancement factor: it is nothing but the probability of producing states with a finite energy. This makes it clear that all the other states such as plasma should also be generated through the same mechanism, and calls for finite density corrections to the tunneling rate, which tend to stabilize the false vacuum. We also clarify that the dominant process is always consistent with the periodicity indicated by the BH Hawking temperature after summing over all possible remnant BH masses or bubble energies, although the periodicity of each bounce solution as a function of a remnant BH can be completely different from the inverse temperature of the system, as mentioned in the previous literature.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physics and Astronomy (miscellaneous)