Superconducting strings

Edward Witten

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

919 Scopus citations

Abstract

It is known that certain spontaneously broken gauge theories give rise to stable strings or vortex lines. In this paper it is shown that under certain conditions such strings behave like superconducting wires whose passage through astrophysical magnetic fields would generate a variety of striking and perhaps observable effects. The superconducting charge carriers may be either bosons (if a charged Higgs field has an expectation value in the core of the string) or fermions (if charged fermions are trapped in zero modes along the string, as is known to occur in certain circumstances). They might be observable as synchrotron sources or as sources of high-energy cosmic rays. If the charge carriers are ordinary quarks and leptons, the strings have important baryon number violating interactions with magnetic fields; such a string, traversing a galactic magnetic field of 10-6 G, creates baryons (or antibaryons) at a rate of order 1012 particles/cm of string per second.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)557-592
Number of pages36
JournalNuclear Physics, Section B
Volume249
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 11 1985
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Nuclear and High Energy Physics

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