SciPost Phys. 13, 049 (2022) ·
published 2 September 2022
We study false vacuum decays catalysed by magnetic monopoles which act as tunnelling sites with exponentially enhanced decay rates. The field profiles describing the decay do not have the typically assumed $O(3)/O(4)$ symmetry, thus requiring an extension of the usual decay rate calculation. To numerically determine the saddle point solutions which describe the tunnelling process we use a new algorithm based on the mountain pass theorem. This method can be applied more widely to phase transitions with reduced symmetry, such as decays away from the zero and infinite temperature limits. Our results show that monopole-catalysed tunnelling can dominate over the homogeneous false vacuum decay for a wide range of parameters, significantly modify the gravitational wave signal or trigger phase transitions which would otherwise never complete. A single boring monopole in our Hubble patch may determine the lifetime of the Standard Model vacuum.