Browsing by Subject "teoreettinen fysiikka, kosmologia"

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  • Taanila, Olli (Helsingin yliopisto, 2010)
    Inflation is a period of accelerated expansion in the very early universe, which has the appealing aspect that it can create primordial perturbations via quantum fluctuations. These primordial perturbations have been observed in the cosmic microwave background, and these perturbations also function as the seeds of all large-scale structure in the universe. Curvaton models are simple modifications of the standard inflationary paradigm, where inflation is driven by the energy density of the inflaton, but another field, the curvaton, is responsible for producing the primordial perturbations. The curvaton decays after inflation as ended, where the isocurvature perturbations of the curvaton are converted into adiabatic perturbations. Since the curvaton must decay, it must have some interactions. Additionally realistic curvaton models typically have some self-interactions. In this work we consider self-interacting curvaton models, where the self-interaction is a monomial in the potential, suppressed by the Planck scale, and thus the self-interaction is very weak. Nevertheless, since the self-interaction makes the equations of motion non-linear, it can modify the behaviour of the model very drastically. The most intriguing aspect of this behaviour is that the final properties of the perturbations become highly dependent on the initial values. Departures of Gaussian distribution are important observables of the primordial perturbations. Due to the non-linearity of the self-interacting curvaton model and its sensitivity to initial conditions, it can produce significant non-Gaussianity of the primordial perturbations. In this work we investigate the non-Gaussianity produced by the self-interacting curvaton, and demonstrate that the non-Gaussianity parameters do not obey the analytically derived approximate relations often cited in the literature. Furthermore we also consider a self-interacting curvaton with a mass in the TeV-scale. Motivated by realistic particle physics models such as the Minimally Supersymmetric Standard Model, we demonstrate that a curvaton model within the mass range can be responsible for the observed perturbations if it can decay late enough.
  • Wahlman, Lumi-Pyry (Helsingin yliopisto, 2019)
    Among all models of inflation, Higgs inflation stands out in its minimalistic approach. In Higgs inflation, the Standard Model Higgs boson drives the expansion of the spacetime. The properties of the Higgs boson are known from collider experiments, and the only new ingredient is a non-minimal coupling of the Higgs boson to gravity. There is no need to add any new particles, and the non-minimal coupling is the only free parameter of the model. While the predictions of Higgs inflation agree with observations at classical level, loop corrections to the Higgs self-potential and gravitational action complicate the picture. From the renormalisation group equations of the Standard Model it is known that the Higgs self-coupling decreases when the energy scale increases. Significant running at the scale of inflation can foil the flat plateau of tree-level inflation. It is also known that loop corrections to gravity will destabilise pure Higgs inflation. There is also another fundamental source of uncertainty: the gravitational degrees of freedom. In Higgs inflation, the spacetime metric is usually taken to be the only gravitational degree of freedom, but this need not be the case. In the Palatini formulation of General Relativity both the metric and the connection are independent degrees of freedom. In the case of Higgs inflation, these two approaches lead to physically inequivalent theories. This thesis focuses on the differences of Higgs inflation in metric and the Palatini formulation. First we show that the metric perturbations must be quantised, if the Higgs boson is the inflaton. Then we consider loop corrections to the Higgs self-coupling, and find that the tensor-to-scalar ratio is smaller in the Palatini formulation. We also consider dimension four correction terms in the gravitational action and find a similar effect on the tensor-to-scalar ratio. There is no clear theoretical indication of how to choose the gravitational degrees of freedom. Hence it is important to be able to differentiate between different choices by observations. We find that the metric and Palatini formulation of General Relativity have distinct cosmological signatures, which can be tested with next generation experiments. If a non-zero tensor-to-scalar ratio is detected, we can rule out Higgs inflation in the Palatini formulation.