cosmic inflation

(redirected from Inflaton field)
Related to Inflaton field: Inflation theory, scalar field

cosmic inflation

n.
The theory that the universe underwent a brief period of exponential expansion shortly after the Big Bang. Also called inflation theory.
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I will concentrate on a particular case: the fragmentation of the inflaton into localized, long-lived excitations of the inflaton field (oscillons), which can end up dominating the energy density of the universe.
Random quantum fluctuations in the inflaton field itself would have created spatial variations in the density of matter.
The gravitational waves are disturbances in spacetime itself, and are only stretched--not created--by the inflaton field.
In a response paper also posted on Astro-ph, Douglas Scott and James Zibin (University of British Columbia, Canada) counter that because there are inherent limitations in the ability of any civilization to measure such small-scale temperature fluctuations, and because the CMB probability distribution does not directly reflect the behavior of the inflaton field, Hsu and Zee overestimate the amount of information that can be encoded in the CMB by perhaps two or three orders of magnitude.
Inflation is still a vague idea that's based on a vague inflaton field," concedes Guth.
Inflation's scalar field, the inflaton field, is simply a number at every point in space, and that number should take on the same value everywhere to spur cosmic expansion--though it must change with time so that inflation eventually can end.