Power-counting during single-field slow-roll inflation Academic Article uri icon

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abstract

  • We elucidate the counting of the relevant small parameters in inflationary perturbation theory. Doing this allows for an explicit delineation of the domain of validity of the semi-classical approximation to gravity used in the calculation of inflationary correlation functions. We derive an expression for the dependence of correlation functions of inflationary perturbations on the slow-roll parameter $\epsilon = -\dot{H}/H^2$, as well as on $H/M_p$, where $H$ is the Hubble parameter during inflation. Our analysis is valid for single-field models in which the inflaton can traverse a Planck-sized range in field values and where all slow-roll parameters have approximately the same magnitude. As an application, we use our expression to seek the boundaries of the domain of validity of inflationary perturbation theory for regimes where this is potentially problematic: models with small speed of sound and models allowing eternal inflation.

publication date

  • February 1, 2018