Physical Review D
We present a fully nonlinear study of the development of equilibrium after preheating. Preheating is the exponentially rapid transfer of energy from the nearly homogeneous inflaton field to fluctuations of other fields and/or the inflaton itself. This rapid transfer leaves these fields in a highly nonthermal state with energy concentrated in infrared modes. We have performed lattice simulations of the evolution of interacting scalar fields during and after preheating for a variety of inflationary models. We have formulated a set of generic rules that govern the thermalization process in all of these models. Notably, we see that once one of the fields is amplified through parametric resonance or other mechanisms, it rapidly excites other coupled fields to exponentially large occupation numbers. These fields quickly acquire nearly thermal spectra in the infrared, which gradually propagates into higher momenta. Prior to the formation of total equilibrium, the excited fields group into subsets with almost identical characteristics ~e.g. group effective temperature!. The way fields form into these groups and the properties of the groups depend on the couplings between them. We also studied the onset of chaos after preheating by calculating the Lyapunov exponent of the scalar fields.
©2001 The American Physical Society
Felder, Gary and Kofman, Lev, "Development of Equilibrium After Preheating" (2001). Physics: Faculty Publications, Smith College, Northampton, MA.