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Title: Cosmological consequences of supersymmetric flat directions
Author: Riva, Francesco
ISNI:       0000 0004 2700 3076
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2009
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In this work we analyze various implications of the presence of large field vacum expectation values (VEVs) along supersymmetric flat directions during the early universe. First, we discuss supersymmetric leptogenesis and the gravitino bound. Supersym- metric thermal leptogenesis with a hierarchical right-handed neutrino mass spectrum normally requires the mass of the lightest right-handed neutrino to be heavier than about 109 GeV. This is in conflict with the upper bound on the reheating temperature which is found by imposing that the gravitinos generated during the reheating stage after inflation do not jeopardize successful nucleosynthesis. We show that a solution to this tension is actually already incorporated in the framework, because of the presence of flat directions in the supersymmetric scalar potential. Massive right- handed neutrinos are efficiently produced non-thermally and the observed baryon asymmetry can be explained even for a reheating temperature respecting the gravitino bound if two conditions are satisfied: the initial value of the flat direction must be close to Planckian values and the phase-dependent terms in the flat direction potential are either vanishing or sufficiently small. We then show that flat directions also contribute to the total curvature perturbation. Such perturbation is generated at the first oscillation of the flat direction condensate when the latter relaxes to the minimum of its potential after the end of inflation. If the contribution to the total curvature perturbation from supersymmetric flat direction is the dominant one, then a significant level of non-Gaussianity in the cosmological perturbation is also naturally expected. Finally, we argue that supersymmetric flat direction VEVs can decay non perturbatively via preheating even in the case where they undergo elliptic motion in the complex plane instead of radial motion through the origin. It has been generally argued that in this case adiabaticity is never violated and preheating is inefficient. Considering a toy U(1) gauge theory, we explicitly calculate the scalar potential, in the unitary gauge, for excitations around several flat directions. We show that the mass matrix for the excitations has non-diagonal entries which vary with the phase of the flat direction vacuum expectation value. Furthermore, this mass matrix has zero eigenvalues whose eigenstates change with time. We show that these light degrees of freedom are produced copiously in the non-perturbative decay of the flat direction VEV.
Supervisor: March-Russell, John ; Sarkar, Subir Sponsor: Greendale Scholarship ; Marie Curie Scholarship
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Theoretical physics ; Particle physics ; Elementary particle theory ; Astrophysics (theoretical) ; Supersymmetry ; Early Universe