Effective field theories and inflation Academic Article uri icon

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abstract

  • We investigate the possible influence of very-high-energy physics on inflationary predictions focussing on whether effective field theories can allow effects which are parametrically larger than order H^2/M^2, where M is the scale of heavy physics and H is the Hubble scale at horizon exit. By investigating supersymmetric hybrid inflation models, we show that decoupling does not preclude heavy-physics having effects for the CMB with observable size even if H^2/M^2 << O(1%), although their presence can only be inferred from observations given some a priori assumptions about the inflationary mechanism. Our analysis differs from the results of hep-th/0210233, in which other kinds of heavy-physics effects were found which could alter inflationary predictions for CMB fluctuations, inasmuch as the heavy-physics can be integrated out here to produce an effective field theory description of low-energy physics. We argue, as in hep-th/0210233, that the potential presence of heavy-physics effects in the CMB does not alter the predictions of inflation for generic models, but does make the search for deviations from standard predictions worthwhile.

publication date

  • October 1, 2003