Challenges to Inflation in the Post-Planck Era

Jingwei Liu, Fulvio Melia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Space-based missions studying the cosmic microwave background (CMB) have progressively refined the parameter space in conventional models of inflation shortly (∼10−37 s) after the Big Bang. While most inflationary scenarios proposed thus far in the context of general relativity have since been ruled out, the basic idea of inflation may still be tenable, albeit with several unresolved conundrums, such as conflicting initial conditions and inconsistencies with the measured CMB power spectrum. In the new slow-roll inflationary picture, inflation arising in plateau-like potentials requires an initiation beyond the Planck time. This delay may be consistent with the cutoff, k min , measured recently in the primordial power spectrum. However, the actual value of k min would imply an initiation time too far beyond the Big Bang for inflation to solve the horizon problem. In this paper, we also describe several other undesirable consequences of this delay, including an absence of well-motivated initial conditions and a significant difficulty in providing a viable mechanism for properly quantizing the primordial fluctuations. Nevertheless, many of these inconsistencies may still be avoided if one introduces nonconventional modifications to inflation, such as a brief departure from slow-roll dynamics, possibly due to a dramatic change in the inflationary potential, inflation driven by multiple fields, or a nonminimal coupling to gravity. In addition, some of these difficulties could be mitigated via the use of alternative cosmologies based, e.g., on loop quantum gravity, which replaces the initial Big Bang singularity with finite conditions at a bounce-like beginning.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number109
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Volume967
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 1 2024

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science

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