We give a prescription for embedding classical solutions and, in particular, topological defects in field theories which are invariant under symmetry groups that are not necessarily simple. After providing examples of embedded defects in field theories based on simple groups, we consider the electroweak model and show that it contains the Z string and a one-parameter family of strings called the W string. It is argued that although the members of this family are gauge equivalent when considered in isolation, each member becomes physically distinct when multistring configurations are considered. We then turn to the issue of stability of embedded defects and demonstrate the instability of a large class of such solutions in the absence of bound states or condensates. The Z string is shown to be unstable for all values of the Higgs boson mass when W=/4. W strings are also shown to be unstable for a large range of parameters. Embedded monopoles suffer from the Brandt-Neri-Coleman instability. Finally, we connect the electroweak string solutions to the sphaleron.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Nuclear and High Energy Physics
- Physics and Astronomy (miscellaneous)