Quantum vacuum in hot nuclear matter: A non-perturbative treatment
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We derive the equation of state for hot nuclear matter using the Walecka model in a non-perturbative formalism. We include here the vacuum polarization effects arising from the nucleon and scalar mesons through a realignment of the vacuum. A ground state structure with baryon-antibaryon condensates yields the results obtained through the relativistic Hartree approximation of summing baryonic tadpole diagrams. Generalization of such a state to include the quantum effects for the scalar meson fields through the σ -meson condensates amounts to summing over a class of multiloop diagrams. The techniques of the thermofield dynamics method are used for the finite-temperature and finite-density calculations. The in-medium nucleon and sigma meson masses are also calculated in a self-consistent manner. We examine the liquid-gas phase transition at low temperatures (≈ 20 MeV), as well as apply the formalism to high temperatures to examine a possible chiral symmetry restoration phase transition.