Document Type

Article

Publication Date

1-3-2006

Publication Title

Physical Review D

Abstract

We study the out-of-equilibrium nonlinear dynamics of fields after post-inflationary preheating. During preheating, the energy in the homogeneous inflaton is exponentially rapidly transfered into highly occupied out-of-equilibrium inhomogeneous modes, which subsequently evolve towards equilibrium. The infrared modes excited during preheating evolve towards a saturated distribution long before thermalization completes. We compute the equation of state during and immediately after preheating. It rapidly evolves towards radiation domination long before the actual thermal equilibrium is established. The exact time of this transition is a non-monotonic function of the coupling between the inflaton and the decay products, and it varies only very weakly (around 10 −35 s) as this coupling changes over several orders of magnitude. This result is applied to refine the relation between the number of efoldings N and the physical wavelength of perturbations generated during inflation. We also discuss the implications for the theory of modulated perturbations from preheating. We finally argue that many questions of the thermal history of the universe should be addressed in terms of pre-thermalization, illustrating this point with a calculation of perturbative production of gravitinos immediately after chaotic inflation. We also highlight the effects of three-legs inflaton interactions on the dynamics of preheating and thermalization in an expanding universe.

Volume

73

Issue

023501

First Page

023501-1

Last Page

023501-15

DOI

DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevD.73.023501

ISSN

2470-0029

Rights

© 2006 The American Physical Society

Comments

Archived as published.

Included in

Physics Commons

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