Quantum Fields in Curved Space (Cambridge
- D Birrell N, W Davies P C
Abstract. Electrodynamics for self-interacting scalar fields in spatially flat FriedmannRobertson-Walker space-times is studied. The corresponding one-loop field equation for the expectation value of the complex scalar field in the conformal vacuum is derived. For exponentially expanding universes, the equations for the Bogoliubov coefficients describing the coupling of the scalar field to gravity are solved numerically. They yield a non-local correction to the Coleman-Weinberg effective potential which does not modify the pattern of minima found in static de Sitter space. Such a correction contains a dissipative term which, accounting for the decay of the classical configuration in scalar field quanta, may be relevant for the reheating stage. The physical meaning of the non-local term in the semiclassical field equation is investigated by evaluating this contribution for various background field configurations.