On the Backreaction of Scalar and Spinor Quantum Fields in Curved Spacetimes - From the Basic Foundations to Cosmological Applications
First, the present work is concerned with generalising constructions and results in quantum field theory on curved spacetimes from the well-known case of the Klein-Gordon field to Dirac fields. To this end, the enlarged algebra of observables of the Dirac field is constructed in the algebraic framework. This algebra contains normal-ordered Wick polynomials in particular, and an extended analysis of one of its elements, the stress-energy tensor, is performed. Based on detailed calculations of the Hadamard coefficients of the Dirac field, it is found that a construction of a stress-energy tensor fulfilling necessary physical properties is possible. Additionally, the mathematically sound Hadamard regularisation prescription of the stress-energy tensor is compared to the mathematically less rigorous DeWitt-Schwinger regularisation and it is found that both prescriptions are essentially equivalent in rigorous terms. While the aforementioned results hold in generic curved spacetimes, particular attention is also devoted to a specific class of Robertson-Walker spacetimes with a lightlike Big Bang hypersurface. Employing holographic methods, Hadamard states for the Klein-Gordon and the Dirac field are constructed. These states are preferred in the sense that they constitute asymptotic equilibrium states in the limit to the Big Bang hypersurface. Finally, solutions of the semiclassical Einstein equation for quantum fields of arbitrary spin are analysed in the flat Robertson-Walker case. One finds that these solutions explain the measured supernova Ia data as good as the $\La$CDM model. Hence, one arrives at a natural explanation of dark energy and a simple quantum model of cosmological dark matter. It is the hope of the author that the present thesis can serve as an accessible introduction to the field of (algebraic) quantum field theory on curved spacetimes and its recent developments.