We study the phase diagram of lattice gauge theories coupled to fixed-length scalar (Higgs) fields. We consider several gauge groups: Z2, U(1), and SU(N). We find that when the Higgs fields transform like the fundamental representation of the gauge group the Higgs and confining phases are smoothly connected, i.e., they are not separated by a phase boundary. When the Higgs fields transform like some representation other than the fundamental, a phase boundary may exist. This is the case for SU(N) with all the Higgs fields in the adjoint representation and for U(1) with all the Higgs fields in the charge-N(N>1) representation. We present an argument due to Wegner that indicates the stability of the pure gauge transition. Another phase, free charge or Coulomb, is generally present. In this regime, the spectrum of the theory contains massless gauge bosons (for continuous groups) and finite-energy states that represent free charges.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physics and Astronomy (miscellaneous)