The presence of cosmological perturbations affects the background metric and matter configuration in which the perturbations propagate. This effect, studied a long time ago for gravitational waves, also is operational for scalar gravitational fluctuations, inhomogeneities which are believed to be more important in inflationary cosmology. The back-reaction of fluctuations can be described by an effective energy-momentum tensor. The issue of coordinate invariance makes the analysis more complicated for scalar fluctuations than for gravitational waves. We show that the back-reaction of fluctuations can be described in a diffeomorphism-invariant way. In an inflationary cosmology, the back-reaction is dominated by infrared modes. We show that these modes give a contribution to the effective energy-momentum tensor of the form of a negative cosmological constant whose absolute value grows in time. We speculate that this may lead to a self-regulating dynamical relaxation mechanism for the cosmological constant. This scenario would naturally lead to a finite remnant cosmological constant with a magnitude corresponding to ΩΛ ~ 1.
COSMO-99, International Workshop on Particle Physics and the Early Universe
- Pub Date:
- High Energy Physics - Theory;
- General Relativity and Quantum Cosmology;
- High Energy Physics - Phenomenology
- 9 pages, invited lecture at COSMO-99 (ICTP, Trieste, Sept. 27 - Oct. 2 1999)