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In physical cosmology, baryogenesis is the generic term for hypothetical physical processes that produced an asymmetry between baryons and antibaryons in the very early universe, resulting in the substantial amounts of residual matter that make up the universe today.

Baryogenesis theories (the most important being electroweak baryogenesis and GUT baryogenesis) employ sub-disciplines of physics such as quantum field theory, and statistical physics, to describe such possible mechanisms. The fundamental difference between baryogenesis theories is the description of the interactions between fundamental particles.

The next step after baryogenesis is the much better understood Big Bang nucleosynthesis, during which light atomic nuclei began to form.


The Dirac equation,[1] formulated by Paul Dirac around 1928 as part of the development of relativistic quantum mechanics, predicts the existence of antiparticles along with the expected solutions for the corresponding particles. Since that time, it has been verified experimentally that every known kind of particle has a corresponding antiparticle. The CPT Theorem guarantees that a particle and its antiparticle have exactly the same mass and lifetime, and exactly opposite charge. Given this symmetry, it is puzzling that the universe does not have equal amounts of matter and antimatter. Indeed, there is no experimental evidence that there are any significant concentrations of antimatter in the observable universe.

There are two main interpretations for this disparity: either the universe began with a small preference for matter (total baryonic number of the universe different from zero), or the universe was originally perfectly symmetric, but somehow a set of phenomena contributed to a small imbalance in favour of matter over time. The second point of view is preferred, although there is no clear experimental evidence indicating either of them to be the correct one. The preference is based on the following point of view: if the universe encompasses everything (time, space, and matter), nothing exists outside of it and therefore nothing existed before it, leading to a total baryonic number of 0. From a more scientific point of view, there are reasons to expect that any initial asymmetry would be wiped out to zero during the early history of the universe. One challenge then is to explain how the total baryonic number is not conserved.

Sakharov conditions

In 1967, Andrei Sakharov proposed[2] a set of three necessary conditions that a baryon-generating interaction must satisfy to produce matter and antimatter at different rates. These conditions were inspired by the recent discoveries of the cosmic background radiation [3] and CP-violation in the neutral kaon system. [4] The three necessary "Sakharov conditions" are:

Baryon number B violation.
C-symmetry and CP-symmetry violation.
Interactions out of thermal equilibrium.

Currently, there is no experimental evidence of particle interactions where the conservation of baryon number is broken perturbatively: this would appear to suggest that all observed particle reactions have equal baryon number before and after. Mathematically, the commutator of the baryon number quantum operator with the (perturbative) Standard Model hamiltonian is zero: [B,H] = BH − HB = 0. However, the Standard Model is known to violate the conservation of baryon number non-perturbatively: a global U(1) anomaly. Baryon number violation can also result from physics beyond the Standard Model (see supersymmetry and Grand Unification Theories).

The second condition — violation of CP-symmetry — was discovered in 1964 (direct CP-violation, that is violation of CP-symmetry in a decay process, was discovered later, in 1999). If CPT-symmetry is assumed, violation of CP-symmetry demands violation of time inversion symmetry, or T-symmetry.

In the out-of-equilibrium decay scenario,[5] the last condition states that the rate of a reaction which generates baryon-asymmetry must be less than the rate of expansion of the universe. In this situation the particles and their corresponding antiparticles do not achieve thermal equilibrium due to rapid expansion decreasing the occurrence of pair-annihilation.

Matter content in the universe
See also: Baryon asymmetry

Baryon asymmetry parameter

The challenges to the physics theories are then to explain how to produce this preference of matter over antimatter, and also the magnitude of this asymmetry. An important quantifier is the asymmetry parameter,

\( \eta = \frac{n_B - n_{\bar B}}{n_\gamma}. \)

This quantity relates the overall number density difference between baryons and antibaryons (\(n_B \) and \( n_{\bar B} \) , respectively) and the number density of cosmic background radiation photons \( n_\gamma \).

According to the Big Bang model, matter decoupled from the cosmic background radiation (CBR) at a temperature of roughly 3,000 kelvin, corresponding to an average kinetic energy of 3,000 K / (10.08×104K/eV) = 0.3 eV. After the decoupling, the total number of CBR photons remains constant. Therefore due to space-time expansion, the photon density decreases. The photon density at equilibrium temperature T, per cubic kelvin and per cubic centimeter, is given by

\( n_\gamma = \frac{1}{\pi^2} {\left(\frac{k_B T}{\hbar c}\right)}^3 \int_0^\infty \frac{x^2}{\exp(x) - 1} dx \simeq 20.3 \left(\frac{T}{1\text{K}}\right)^3 \text{cm}^{-3} , \)

with kB as the Boltzmann constant, ħ as the Planck constant divided by 2π and c as the speed of light in vacuum. At the current CBR photon temperature of 2.725 K, this corresponds to a photon density nγ of around 411 CBR photons per cubic centimeter.

Therefore, the asymmetry parameter η, as defined above, is not the "good" parameter. Instead, the preferred asymmetry parameter uses the entropy density s,

\eta_s = \frac{n_B - n_{\bar B}}{s} \)

because the entropy density of the universe remained reasonably constant throughout most of its evolution. The entropy density is

\( s \ \stackrel{\mathrm{def}}{=}\ \frac{\mathrm{entropy}}{\mathrm{volume}} = \frac{p + \rho}{T} = \frac{2\pi^2}{45}g_{*}(T) T^3 \)

with p and ρ as the pressure and density from the energy density tensor Tμν, and g* as the effective number of degrees of freedom for "massless" particles (inasmuch as mc2 ≪ kBT holds) at temperature T,

\( g_*(T) = \sum_\mathrm{i=bosons} g_i{\left(\frac{T_i}{T}\right)}^3 + \frac{7}{8}\sum_\mathrm{j=fermions} g_j{\left(\frac{T_j}{T}\right)}^3, \)

for bosons and fermions with gi and gj degrees of freedom at temperatures \(T_i \) and \(T_j \) respectively. At the present era, \( s = 7.04n_\gamma. \)

Astronomy: The Big Bang. What is Baryogenesis?

See also

CP violation
Anthropic principle
Affleck-Dine mechanism


^ P.A.M. Dirac (1928). "The Quantum Theory of the Electron". Proceedings of the Royal Society of London A 117 (778): 610–624. Bibcode 1928RSPSA.117..610D. doi:10.1098/rspa.1928.0023.
^ A. D. Sakharov (1967). "Violation of CP invariance, C asymmetry, and baryon asymmetry of the universe". Journal of Experimental and Theoretical Physics 5: 24–27., republished as A. D. Sakharov (1991). "Violation of CP invariance, C asymmetry, and baryon asymmetry of the universe". Soviet Physics Uspekhi 34: 392–393. Bibcode 1991SvPhU..34..392S. doi:10.1070/PU1991v034n05ABEH002497.
^ A. A. Penzias and R. W. Wilson (1965). "A Measurement of Excess Antenna Temperature at 4080 Mc/s". Astrophysical Journal 5: 419–421. Bibcode 1965ApJ...142..419P. doi:10.1086/148307.
^ J. W. Cronin, V. L. Fitch et al. (1964). "Evidence for the 2π decay of the K0
2 meson". Physical Review Letters 13: 138–140. Bibcode 1964PhRvL..13..138C. doi:10.1103/PhysRevLett.13.138.
^ A. Riotto, M. Trodden (1999). "Recent progress in baryogenesis". Annual Review of Nuclear and Particle Science 49: 46. arXiv:hep-ph/9901362. Bibcode 1999ARNPS..49...35R. doi:10.1146/annurev.nucl.49.1.35.


E. W. Kolb and M. S. Turner (1994). The Early Universe. Perseus Publishing. ISBN 0-201-62674-8.


A. D. Dolgov (1997). "Baryogenesis, 30 Years After". arXiv:hep-ph/9707419 [hep-ph].
A. Riotto (1998). "Theories of Baryogenesis". arXiv:hep-ph/9807454 [hep-ph/9807454].
M. Trodden (1998). "Electroweak Baryogenesis". arXiv:hep-ph/9803479 [hep-ph].

Timeline of the Big Bang
Augustinian era · Big Bang · Planck epoch · Grand unification epoch · Electroweak epoch (Inflationary epoch, Reheating, Baryogenesis) · Quark epoch · Hadron epoch · Lepton epoch · Photon epoch (Big Bang nucleosynthesis, Matter domination, Recombination) · Dark ages · Reionization

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