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Title: Effects of massive fields on the early universe
Author: Cespedes, Sebastian
ISNI:       0000 0004 7660 9074
Awarding Body: University of Cambridge
Current Institution: University of Cambridge
Date of Award: 2019
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Cosmology is one of the best tools to understand the physics that governs the universe at high energies. On one hand, inflation is a very robust mechanism to explain the initial conditions of the universe. On the other hand general relativity provides a solid framework for the formation of cosmic structures at cosmological scales. Nevertheless, there are still important issues that remain without a clear answer. For example, inflation still lacks of a concrete microphysical description, and also there is still no satisfactory mechanism to explain the late time acceleration of the universe. This thesis addresses these two topics. In the first part we discuss the effects of heavy degrees of freedom coupled to inflation. This has been an important topic over the years, because the experimental success might make it possible to detect new degrees of freedom in inflation. In chapter two we discuss the case when non relativistic heavy fields are coupled to the inflaton through a non minimal gravitational coupling. Here we find that, for certain geometries, the heavy field can modify the potential for a few e-folds, either stopping inflation, or setting its initial conditions. In chapter 3 we study the dynamics of fluctuations in holographic inspired models of multi-field inflation. We find that the entropy mass $\mu$ (the mass of the fluctuation orthogonal to the trajectory of inflation) satisfies an universal upper bound given by $\mu \leq 3 H / 2$. This bound coincides with the requirement of unitarity of conformal operators living on the boundary of the theory. In the second part of the thesis we study high energy effects on the Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB). In the fourth chapter we study the role of disformal transformation on cosmological backgrounds and its relation to the speed of sound for tensor modes. A speed different from one for tensor modes can arise in several contexts such as Galileons theories, or massive gravity. Nevertheless the speed is very constrained to be one by observations of gravitational wave emission. It has been shown that in inflation a disformal transformation allows the speed for tensor modes, to be set to one without making changes to the curvature power spectrum. We show that on the CMB, after doing the transformation, there is an imprint on the acoustic peaks, and the diffusion damping. This has interesting consequences: for a particular class of theories the transformation can be used to constrain the parameter space in different regimes. In chapter five we study the impact of gravitons with non-vanishing masses on the polarisation of th CMB . We also focus on putative modifications to the speed of the gravitational waves. We find that a change of the graviton speed shifts the acoustic peaks of the B-mode polarization and then could be easily constrained. In all cases when both massless and massive gravitons are present, we find that the B-mode CMB spectrum is characterised by a low $l$ plateau together with a shifted position for the first few peaks compared to a massless graviton spectrum. This shift depends on the mixing between the gravitons in their coupling to matter and could serve as a hint in favour of the existence of multiple gravitons.
Supervisor: Davis, Anne Sponsor: Conicyt
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Cosmology ; Inflation ; Modified Gravity ; CMB ; Gravitational Waves