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Journal Article

Generalized phase transitions in Lovelock gravity


Camanho,  Xian
Quantum Gravity & Unified Theories, AEI-Golm, MPI for Gravitational Physics, Max Planck Society;

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Camanho, X., Edelstein, J. D., Giribet, G., & Gomberoff, A. (2014). Generalized phase transitions in Lovelock gravity. Physical Review D, 90(6): 064028. doi:10.1103/PhysRevD.90.064028.

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We investigate a novel mechanism for phase transitions that is a distinctive feature of higher-curvature gravity theories. For definiteness, we bound ourselves to the case of Lovelock gravities. These theories are known to have several branches of asymptotically AdS solutions. Here, extending our previous work, we show that phase transitions among some of these branches are driven by a thermalon configuration: a bubble separating two regions of different effective cosmological constants, generically hosting a black hole in the interior. Above some critical temperature, this thermalon configuration is preferred with respect to the finite-temperature AdS space, triggering a sophisticated version of the Hawking-Page transition. After being created, the unstable bubble configuration can in general dynamically change the asymptotic cosmological constant. While this phenomenon already occurs in the case of a gravity action with square curvature terms, we point out that in the case of Lovelock theory with cubic (and higher) terms new effects appear. For instance, the theory may admit more than one type of bubble and branches that are in principle free of pathologies may also decay through the thermalon mechanism. We also find ranges of the gravitational couplings for which the theory becomes sick. These add up to previously found restrictions to impose tighter constraints on higher-curvature gravities. The results of this paper point to an intricate phase diagram which might accommodate similarly rich behavior in the dual CFT side.