The Secret Higgstory of the Highest Temperature during Reheating – on August 2, 2021 at 7:06 am

We study the role of the Standard Model Higgs condensate, formed during
cosmological inflation, in the epoch of reheating that follows. We focus on the
scenario where the inflaton decays slowly and perturbatively, so that there is
a long period between the end of inflation and the beginning of radiation
domination. The Higgs condensate decays non-perturbatively during this period,
and we show that it heats the primordial plasma to much higher temperatures
than would result from the slowly-decaying inflaton alone. We discuss the
effect of this hot plasma on the thermalization of the inflaton’s decay
products, and study its phenomenological implications for the formation of
cosmological relics like dark matter, with associated isocurvature
fluctuations, and the restoration of the electroweak and Peccei-Quinn
symmetries.
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