Scalar Field Potentials in Inflationary Cosmology: General Results and Models Using Pseudo Nambu-Goldstone Bosons.
Inflationary cosmology is an elegant and straightforward solution to two of the largest puzzles presented by the standard "Big Bang" cosmology: why is the universe so flat, and why is the cosmic microwave background in such excellent thermal equilibrium? However, models of inflation in particle physics typically suffer from the shortcoming that the fundamental energy scale for inflation is driven to nearly the Planck scale by observational constraints. In addition, models of inflation often require the "fine-tuning" of parameters to very small values in order to remain consistent with observation. This thesis investigates inflationary potentials in a general context, and shows that the difficulty of fundamental scales being forced to the Planck scale is in fact characteristic only of scalar field potentials V(phi) dominated near their maxima by terms of order phi^2. It is found that potentials dominated by terms of order phim with m > 2 can satisfy observational constraints at an essentially arbitrary symmetry breaking scale. Potentials characterized by m = 2 and m = 4 are illustrated in the context of several "natural inflation" models, with particular emphasis on questions of fine-tuning and fundamental scale. Natural inflation theories are a class of models in which inflation is driven by a pseudo Nambu-Goldstone boson, which acquires a mass as a result of radiative corrections. Two models characterized by m = 2 are evaluated, in which the potential for inflation is generated by loop effects from a fermion sector which explicitly breaks a global U(1) symmetry. The m = 4 case is implemented in a model with a broken SO(3) symmetry, in which the potential is generated by gauge boson loops. Constraints from the Cosmic Background Explorer (COBE) Differential Microwave Radiometer (DMR) measurement of the temperature anisotropy of the cosmic background radiation are used to limit the parameters of the models.
- Pub Date:
- January 1996
- Physics: Elementary Particles and High Energy; Physics: Astronomy and Astrophysics