Optimizing future experimental probes of inflation

Damien Easson, Brian A. Powell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


The discovery of many novel realizations of the inflationary universe paradigm has led to a degeneracy problem: many different inflationary Lagrangians generate the same perturbation spectra. Resolving this problem requires the future discovery of additional observables beyond the scalar adiabatic and tensor two-point functions on CMB scales. One important source of degeneracy arises in models where the density perturbation is generated by a noninflationary degree of freedom, for example, through curvatons or modulated reheating. We consider the curvaton scenario as representative of this class, and analyze the degeneracy with single field, canonical inflation that results if the curvaton goes undetected by future observations. We perform Monte Carlo potential reconstructions in the absence of distinguishing observables, such as non-Gaussiantities or isocurvature modes. The resulting degeneracy is considerable and the improved measurements of spectral parameters from future probes like CMBPol offer little to better the situation. Given a degeneracy-breaking observation, the observables must still be inverted to obtain the inflationary potential, with different observations resulting in reconstructions of varying quality. We find that a future detection of isocurvature modes or a precision measurement of the tensor spectral index will enable the most successful reconstructions in the presence of curvatons.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number043502
JournalPhysical Review D - Particles, Fields, Gravitation and Cosmology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Feb 2 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nuclear and High Energy Physics
  • Physics and Astronomy (miscellaneous)


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