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Inflaton decay in de Sitter spacetime

D Boyanovsky, R Holman, Prem Kumar Orcid Logo

Physical Review D, Volume: 56, Issue: 4, Pages: 1958 - 1972

Swansea University Author: Prem Kumar Orcid Logo

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DOI (Published version): 10.1103/PhysRevD.56.1958

Abstract

We study the decay of scalar fields, in particular the inflaton, into lighter scalars in a De Sitter spacetime background. After providing a practical def- inition of the rate, we focus on the case of an inflaton interacting with a massless scalar field either minimally or conformally coupled to the...

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Published in: Physical Review D
Published: 1997
URI: https://cronfa.swan.ac.uk/Record/cronfa16107
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Abstract: We study the decay of scalar fields, in particular the inflaton, into lighter scalars in a De Sitter spacetime background. After providing a practical def- inition of the rate, we focus on the case of an inflaton interacting with a massless scalar field either minimally or conformally coupled to the curvature. The evolution equation for the expectation value of the inflaton is obtained to one loop order in perturbation theory and the decay rate is recognized from the solution. We find the remarkable result that this decay rate displays an equilibrium Bose-enhancement factor with an effective temperature given by the Hawking temperature H/2π, where H is the Hubble constant. This con- tribution is interpreted as the “stimulated emission” of bosons in a thermal bath at the Hawking temperature. In the context of new inflation scenarios, we show that inflaton decay into conformally coupled massless fields slows down the rolling of the expectation value. Decay into Goldstone bosons is also studied. Contact with stochastic inflation is established by deriving the Langevin equation for the coarse-grained expectation value of the inflaton field to one-loop order in this model. We find that the noise is gaussian and cor- related (colored) and its correlations are related to the dissipative (“decay”) kernel via a generalized fluctuation-dissipation relation.
College: Faculty of Science and Engineering
Issue: 4
Start Page: 1958
End Page: 1972