Fluctuations in the intensity and polarization of the cosmic microwave background (CMB) and the large-scale distribution of matter in the universe each contain clues about the nature of the earliest moments of time. The next generation of CMB and large-scale structure (LSS) experiments are poised to test the leading paradigm for these earliest moments-the theory of cosmic inflation-and to detect the imprints of the inflationary epoch, thereby dramatically increasing our understanding of fundamental physics and the early universe. A future CMB experiment with sufficient angular resolution and frequency coverage that surveys at least 1% of the sky to a depth of 1 uK-arcmin can deliver a constraint on the tensor-to-scalar ratio that will either result in a 5 σ measurement of the energy scale of inflation or rule out all large-field inflation models, even in the presence of foregrounds and the gravitational lensing B-mode signal. LSS experiments, particularly spectroscopic surveys such as the Dark Energy Spectroscopic Instrument, will complement the CMB effort by improving current constraints on running of the spectral index by up to a factor of four, improving constraints on curvature by a factor of ten, and providing non-Gaussianity constraints that are competitive with the current CMB bounds.
- Pub Date:
- March 2015
- Early Universe;
- Cosmic Microwave Background;
- Large-scale Structure;
- Astrophysics - Cosmology and Nongalactic Astrophysics
- Report from the "Dark Energy and CMB" working group for the American Physical Society's Division of Particles and Fields long-term planning exercise ("Snowmass"). Current version matches what will appear in the Snowmass 2013 issue of Astroparticle Physics