We study the production of chiral fermions in a background of a strong non-abelian gauge field with a non-vanishing Chern-Pontryagin density. We discuss both pair production analogous to the Schwinger effect as well as asymmetric production through the chiral anomaly, sourced by the Chern-Pontryagin density. In abelian gauge theories one may nicely understand these processes by considering that the fermion dispersion relation forms discrete Landau levels. Here we extend this analysis to a non-abelian gauge theory, considering an intrinsically non-abelian isotropic and homogeneous SU(2) gauge field background with a non-vanishing Chern-Pontryagin density. We show that the asymmetric fermion production, together with a non-trivial vacuum contribution, correctly reproduces the chiral anomaly. This indicates that the usual vacuum subtraction scheme, imposing normal ordering, fails in this case. As a concrete example of this gauge field background, we consider chromo-natural inflation. Applying our analysis to this particular model, we compute the backreaction of the generated fermions on the gauge field background. This backreaction receives contributions both from the vacuum through a Coleman-Weinberg-type correction and from the fermion excitations through an induced current.
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ArXiv ePrint: 1812.08021
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Domcke, V., Ema, Y., Mukaida, K. et al. Chiral anomaly and Schwinger effect in non-abelian gauge theories. J. High Energ. Phys. 2019, 111 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/JHEP03(2019)111
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