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Towards a reliable effective field theory of inflation

Authors: Mar Bastero-Gil, Arjun Berera, Rudnei O. Ramos, JG Rosa

Ref.: Physics Letters B 813, 136055 (2021)

Abstract: We present the first quantum field theory model of inflation that is renormalizable in the matter sector, with a super-Hubble inflaton mass and sub-Planckian field excursions, which is thus technically natural and consistent with a high-energy completion within a theory of quantum gravity. This is done in the framework of warm inflation, where we show, for the first time, that strong dissipation can fully sustain a slow-roll trajectory with slow-roll parameters larger than unity in a way that is both theoretically and observationally consistent. The inflaton field corresponds to the relative phase between two complex scalar fields that collectively break a U(1) gauge symmetry, and dissipates its energy into scalar degrees of freedom in the warm cosmic heat bath. A discrete interchange symmetry protects the inflaton mass from large thermal corrections. We further show that the dissipation coefficient decreases with temperature in certain parametric regimes, which prevents a large growth of thermal inflaton fluctuations. We find, in particular, a very good agreement with the Planck legacy data for a simple quadratic inflaton potential, predicting a low tensor-to-scalar ratio r<10^−5 .

DOI: 10.1016/j.physletb.2020.136055