Inflationary Initial Conditions for the Cosmological Gravitational Wave Background

Author(s)

Valbusa Dall'Armi, Lorenzo, Mierna, Alina, Matarrese, Sabino, Ricciardone, Angelo

Abstract

The initial conditions on the anisotropies of the stochastic gravitational-wave background of cosmological origin (CGWB) largely depend on the mechanism that generates the gravitational waves. Since the CGWB is expected to be non-thermal, the computation of the initial conditions could be more challenging w.r.t. the Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB), whose interactions with other particles in the early Universe lead to a blackbody spectrum. In this paper, we show that the initial conditions for the cosmological background generated by quantum fluctuations of the metric during inflation deviate from adiabaticity. These primordial gravitational waves are indeed generated by quantum fluctuations of two independent degrees of freedom (the two polarization states of the gravitons). Furthermore, the CGWB plays a negligible role in the Einstein's equations, because its energy density is subdominant w.r.t. ordinary matter. Therefore, the only possible way to compute the initial conditions for inflationary gravitons is to perturb the energy-momentum tensor of the gravitational field defined in terms of the small-scale tensor perturbation of the metric. This new and self-consistent approach shows that a large, non-adiabatic initial condition is present even during the single-field inflation. Such a contribution enhances the total angular power spectrum of the CGWB compared to the standard adiabatic case, increasing also the sensitivity of the anisotropies to the presence of relativistic and decoupled particles in the early Universe. In this work we have also proved that our findings are quite general and apply to both single-field inflation and other scenarios in which the CGWB is generated by the quantum fluctuations of the metric, like the curvaton.

Figures

Left: plot of the angular power spectrum of the CGWB for adiabatic initial conditions (AD) and for inflationary initial conditions (IIC) with $n_{\rm gwb} = 0.35$. Right: plot of the tensor contributions to the angular power spectrum for AD and IIC.

Left: plot of the angular power spectrum of the CGWB for adiabatic initial conditions (AD) and for inflationary initial conditions (IIC) with $n_{\rm gwb} = 0.35$. Right: plot of the tensor contributions to the angular power spectrum for AD and IIC.


Left: plot of the angular power spectrum of the CGWB for adiabatic initial conditions (AD) and for inflationary initial conditions (IIC) with $n_{\rm gwb} = 0.35$. Right: plot of the tensor contributions to the angular power spectrum for AD and IIC.

Left: plot of the angular power spectrum of the CGWB for adiabatic initial conditions (AD) and for inflationary initial conditions (IIC) with $n_{\rm gwb} = 0.35$. Right: plot of the tensor contributions to the angular power spectrum for AD and IIC.


Plot of the correlation between the CMB and the CGWB at different multipoles for adiabatic initial conditions (AD) and for inflationary initial conditions (IIC) with $n_{\rm gwb} = 0.35$.

Plot of the correlation between the CMB and the CGWB at different multipoles for adiabatic initial conditions (AD) and for inflationary initial conditions (IIC) with $n_{\rm gwb} = 0.35$.


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