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Title: The string axiverse and cosmology
Author: Marsh, David J. E.
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2012
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This thesis studies the cosmology of ultra-light scalar fields with masses in the range 10−33 eV ? m ? 10−18 eV and their effects on cosmology. The existence of such fields is motivated by the theoretical framework of the "String Axiverse". All types of string theory contain multiple axion fields associated with antisymmetric tensor fields compactified on closed cycles in the compact space. Since the masses of these fields scale exponentially with the volume of the cycle, it is possible for them to be naturally light. We study the effects of these fields as a component of the dark matter and show analytically and numerically that they cause a suppression of structure formation on cosmological scales set by the inverse mass. We show that it will be possible with future galaxy redshift and weak lensing surveys to detect an ultra- light field comprising of order a percent of the total dark matter. If such a field is allowed to couple to the geometry that provided its mass via a phenomenological scalar potential for the axion and modulus, then the expansion of the universe can be altered significantly. In particular, we find that it is possible to have multiple epochs of accelerated expansion over a large region of parameter space, and to have a flat universe with a big crunch in the distant future. Finally, we address the issue of isocurvature perturbations in axion cosmologies, and demonstrate that in the ultra-light case the power spectrum is effected. This may have implications for the conclusions made about fine tuning in the axiverse in relation to a potential detection of tensor modes in the CMB that are different to the case of a standard axion.
Supervisor: Ferreira, Pedro G.; March-Russell, John Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Astrophysics (theoretical) ; Theoretical physics ; Particle physics ; physics ; astrophysics ; cosmology ; string theory