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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Toward understanding of the complete thermal history of the Universe: Probing the early Universe by gravitation
by Watanabe, Yuki, Ph.D., The University of Texas at Austin, 2009, 154; 3390100
Abstract (Summary)

Gravitational waves are truly transparent to matter in the Universe and carry the information of the very early epoch. We show that the energy density spectrum of the primordial gravitational waves has characteristic features due to the successive changes in the relativistic degrees of freedom during the radiation era. Our calculations are solely based on the standard model of cosmology and particle physics, and therefore these features must exist. Our calculations significantly improve the previous ones which ignored these effects and predicted a smooth, featureless spectrum.

Going back in time to the beginning of the radiation era, reheating of the Universe must have taken place after inflation for primordial nucleosynthesis to begin. We show that reheating occurs spontaneously in a broad class of inflation models with f(ø)R gravity (ø is inflaton). The model does not require explicit couplings between ø and bosonic or fermionic matter fields. The couplings arise spontaneously when ø settles in the vacuum expectation value (vev) and oscillates. This mechanism allows inflaton quanta to decay into any fields which are not conformally invariant in f(ø)R gravity theories.

Applying the above method, we study implications of the large-N species solution to the hierarchy problem, proposed by G. Dvali, for reheating after inflation. We show that, in this scenario, the decay rates of inflaton fields through gravitational decay channels are enhanced by a factor of N, and thus they decay into N species of the quantum fields very efficiently. Without violating energy conservation, cosmological consideration places non-trivial constraints on Dvali's solution to the hierarchy problem.

Going back in time still further, we study the period just before the beginning of reheating, the era of coherent oscillation of scalar fields. We show that non-Gaussian primordial curvature perturbations appear temporarily in the coherent oscillation phase after multi-field inflation. We directly solve the evolution equation of non-Gaussianity on super-horizon scales caused by the non-linear influence of entropy perturbations on the curvature perturbations during this phase. We show that our approach precisely matches with the so-called "separate universe approach" or "δN formalism" by studying a simple quadratic two-field potential.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Komatsu, Eiichiro
Commitee: Dicus, Duane A., Fischler, Willy, Matzner, Richard A., Shapiro, Paul R.
School: The University of Texas at Austin
Department: Physics
School Location: United States -- Texas
Source: DAI-B 71/02, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Astronomy, Particle physics
Keywords: Cosmology, Early Universe, Gravitational waves, Inflation, Non-gaussianity, Reheating
Publication Number: 3390100
ISBN: 978-1-109-58044-0
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