University of Minnesota
School of Physics & Astronomy

Physics and Astronomy Calendar

Thursday, June 14th 2007
12:15 pm:
Speaker: Jean-Francois Dufaux, University of Toronto
Subject: Stochastic gravitational wave background from preheating after inflation

The origin of matter in the universe from a decaying inflaton field is a basic feature of the inflationary paradigm. In many models, the first stage of this process, called preheating, is dominated by an explosive and non-perturbative production of highly inhomogeneous, non-thermal field fluctuations. These act in particular as a classical source for gravitational radiation.

In this talk, I will first review some aspects of preheating and of the subsequent evolution of the inflaton decay products towards thermal equilibrium. I will then discuss the computation of the resulting background of gravitational waves. The corresponding spectrum has a higher amplitude than the one generated during inflation, and it may fall into the range accessible for direct detection experiments (LIGO/VIRGO or BBO) if inflation occurs at a low enough energy scale. The discovery of such a background would open a new observational window into the dynamics of the very early universe.

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