[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: It has been argued that the Swiss-Cheese cosmology can mimic Dark Energy, when it comes to the observed luminosity distance-redshift relation. Besides the fact that this effect tends to disappear on average over random directions, we show in this work that based on the Rees-Sciama effect on the cosmic microwave background (CMB), the Swiss-Cheese model can be ruled out if all holes have a radius larger than about 35 Mpc. We also show that for smaller holes, the CMB is not observably affected, and that the small holes can still mimic Dark Energy, albeit in special directions, as opposed to previous conclusions in the literature. However, in this limit, the probability of looking in a special direction where the luminosity of supernovae is sufficiently supressed becomes very small, at least in the case of a lattice of spherical holes considered in this paper. Comment: 23 pages, 10 figures. Matches published version
Journal of Cosmology and Astroparticle Physics 02/2009; · 6.04 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We summarize the utility of precise cosmic microwave background (CMB) polarization measurements as probes of the physics of inflation. We focus on the prospects for using CMB measurements to differentiate various inflationary mechanisms. In particular, a detection of primordial B-mode polarization would demonstrate that inflation occurred at a very high energy scale, and that the inflaton traversed a super-Planckian distance in field space. We explain how such a detection or constraint would illuminate aspects of physics at the Planck scale. Moreover, CMB measurements can constrain the scale-dependence and non-Gaussianity of the primordial fluctuations and limit the possibility of a significant isocurvature contribution. Each such limit provides crucial information on the underlying inflationary dynamics. Finally, we quantify these considerations by presenting forecasts for the sensitivities of a future satellite experiment to the inflationary parameters. Comment: 107 pages, 14 figures, 17 tables; Inflation Working Group contribution to the CMBPol Mission Concept Study; v2: typos fixed and references added
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: There has been much recent discussion, and some confusion, regarding the use of existing observational data to estimate the likelihood that next-generation cosmic microwave background (CMB) polarization experiments might detect a nonzero tensor signal, possibly associated with inflation. We examine this issue in detail here in two different ways: (1) first we explore the effect of choice of different parameter priors on the estimation of the tensor-to-scalar ratio r and other parameters describing inflation, and (2) we examine the Bayesian complexity in order to determine how effectively existing data can constrain inflationary parameters. We demonstrate that existing data are not strong enough to render full inflationary parameter estimates in a parametrization- and prior-independent way and that the predicted tensor signal is particularly sensitive to different priors. For parametrizations where the Bayesian complexity is comparable to the number of free parameters we find that a flat prior on the scale of inflation (which is to be distinguished from a flat prior on the tensor-to-scalar ratio) leads us to infer a larger, and in fact slightly nonzero tensor contribution at 68% confidence level. However, no detection is claimed. Our results demonstrate that all that is statistically relevant at the current time is the (slightly enhanced) upper bound on r, and we stress that the data remain consistent with r = 0.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Temperature anisotropies in the cosmic microwave background (CMB) are affected by the late integrated Sachs-Wolfe (lISW) effect caused by any time variation of the gravitational potential on linear scales. Dark energy is not the only source of lISW, since massive neutrinos induce a small decay of the potential on small scales during both matter and dark energy domination. In this work, we study the prospect of using the cross correlation between CMB and galaxy-density maps as a tool for constraining the neutrino mass. On the one hand massive neutrinos reduce the cross-correlation spectrum because free-streaming slows down structure formation; on the other hand, they enhance it through their change in the effective linear growth. We show that in the observable range of scales and redshifts, the first effect dominates, but the second one is not negligible. We carry out an error forecast analysis by fitting some mock data inspired by the Planck satellite, Dark Energy Survey (DES) and Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST). The inclusion of the cross correlation data from Planck and LSST increases the sensitivity to the neutrino mass mν by 38% (and to the dark energy equation of state w by 83%) with respect to Planck alone. The correlation between Planck and DES brings a far less significant improvement. This method is not potentially as good for detecting mν as the measurement of galaxy, cluster, or cosmic shear power spectra, but since it is independent and affected by different systematics, it remains potentially interesting if the total neutrino mass is of the order of 0.2 eV; if instead it is close to the lower bound from atmospheric oscillations, mν∼0.05 eV, we do not expect the ISW-galaxy correlation to be ever sensitive to mν.
Physical review D: Particles and fields 03/2008; 77(6).
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We update constraints on the Hubble function H(phi) during inflation, using the most recent cosmic microwave background (CMB) and large scale structure (LSS) data. Our main focus is on a comparison between various commonly used methods of calculating the primordial power spectrum via analytical approximations and the results obtained by integrating the exact equations numerically. In each case, we impose naive, minimally restrictive priors on the duration of inflation. We find that the choice of priors has an impact on the results: the bounds on inflationary parameters can vary by up to a factor two. Nevertheless, it should be noted that within the region allowed by the minimal prior of the exact method, the accuracy of the approximations is sufficient for current data. We caution however that a careless minimal implementation of the approximative methods allows models for which the assumptions behind the analytical approximations fail, and recommend using the exact numerical method for a self-consistent analysis of cosmological data. Comment: 16 pages, 3 figures
Journal of Cosmology and Astroparticle Physics 02/2008; · 6.04 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We derive new constraints on the Hubble function H(phi) and subsequently on the inflationary potential V(phi) from WMAP 3-year data combined with the Sloan Luminous Red Galaxy survey (SDSS-LRG), using a new methodology which appears to be more generic, conservative and model-independent than in most of the recent literature, since it depends neither on the slow-roll approximation, nor on any extrapolation scheme for the potential beyond the observable e-fold range, nor on additional assumptions about initial conditions for the inflaton velocity. This last feature represents the main improvement of this work, and is made possible by the reconstruction of H(phi) prior to V(phi). Our results only rely on the assumption that within the observable range, corresponding to ~ 10 e-folds, inflation is not interrupted and the function H(phi) is smooth enough for being Taylor-expanded at order one, two or three. We conclude that the variety of potentials allowed by the data is still large. However, it is clear that the first two slow-roll parameters are really small while the validity of the slow-roll expansion beyond them is not established. Comment: 5 pages, 3 figures. Numerical module available at http://wwwlapp.in2p3.fr/~valkenbu/inflationH/ . References added, discussion expanded
Journal of Cosmology and Astroparticle Physics 10/2007; · 6.04 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We discuss the latest constraints on a Taylor-expanded scalar inflaton potential, obtained focusing on its observable part only. This is in contrast with other works in which an extrapolation of the potential is applied using the slow-roll hierarchy. We find significant differences. The results discussed here apply to a broader range of models, since no assumption about the invisible e-folds of inflation has to be made, thereby remaining conservative. Comment: 5 pages, 2 figures. Talk given at Cargese Summer School: Cosmology and Particle Physics Beyond the Standard Models. To appear in PoS
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We derive some new constraints on single-field inflation from the Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe 3-year data combined with the Sloan Luminous Red Galaxy survey. Our work differs from previous analyses by focusing only on the observable part of the inflaton potential, or in other words, by making absolutely no assumption about extrapolation of the potential from its observable region to its minimum (i.e., about the branch of the potential responsible for the last ~50 inflationary e-folds). We only assume that inflation starts at least a few e-folds before the observable Universe leaves the Hubble radius, and that the inflaton rolls down a monotonic and regular potential, with no sharp features or phase transitions. We Taylor-expand the inflaton potential at order v=2, 3 or 4 in the vicinity of the pivot scale, compute the primordial spectra of scalar and tensor perturbations numerically and fit the data. For v>2, a large fraction of the allowed models is found to produce a large negative running of the scalar tilt, and to fall in a region of parameter space where the second-order slow-roll formalism is strongly inaccurate. We release a code for the computation of inflationary perturbations which is compatible with CosmoMC.