Beyond the poles in attractor models of inflation

Karamitsos, S. (2019) Beyond the poles in attractor models of inflation. Journal of Cosmology and Astroparticle Physics, 2019 (9). ISSN 1475-7516

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We offer a geometric interpretation of attractor theories with singular kinetic terms as a union of multiple canonical models. We demonstrate that different domains (separated by poles) can drastically differ in their phenomenology. We illustrate this with the help of a "master model" that leads to distinct predictions depending on which side of the pole the field evolves before examining the more realistic example of alpha-attractor models. Such models lead to quintessential inflation within the poles when featuring an exponential potential. However, beyond the poles, we discover a novel behaviour: the scalar field responsible for the early-time acceleration of the Universe may reach the boundary of the field-space manifold, indicating that the theory is incomplete and that a boundary condition must be imposed in order to determine its late-time behaviour. If the evolution of the field is arrested before this happens, however, we discover that quintessence can be achieved without a potential offset. Turning to multifield models with singular kinetic terms, we see that poles generalise straightforwardly to singular curves, which act as "model walls" between distinct pole-free inflationary models. As an example, we study a simple two-field alpha-attractor-inspired model, whose evolution of isocurvature perturbations is sensitive to where the non-canonical field begins its trajectory. We finally discuss initial conditions in attractor theories, where the existence of multiple disconnected canonical models implies that we must make a fundamental choice: in which domain we impose a distribution for the inflaton in order to then determine the likelihood of inflation.

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Journal Article
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Journal of Cosmology and Astroparticle Physics
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18 Feb 2020 16:15
Last Modified:
19 Sep 2023 02:21