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New inflation vs. chaotic inflation, higher degree potentials and the reconstruction program in light of WMAP3

Abstract

The cosmic microwave background power spectra are studied for different families of single field new and chaotic inflation models in the effective field theory approach to inflation. We implement a systematic expansion in 1/N(e), where N(e)~;;50 is the number of e-folds before the end of inflation. We study the dependence of the observables (n(s), r and dn(s)/dlnk) on the degree of the potential (2n) and confront them to the WMAP3 and large scale structure data: This shows in general that fourth degree potentials (n=2) provide the best fit to the data; the window of consistency with the WMAP3 and LSS data narrows for growing n. New inflation yields a good fit to the r and n(s) data in a wide range of field and parameter space. Small field inflation yields r0.16 (for N(e)=50). All members of the new inflation family predict a small but negative running -4(n+1) x 10-4=0.16 (for N(e)=50) and only a restricted subset of chaotic models are consistent with the combined WMAP3 bounds on r, n(s), dn(s)/dlnk with a narrow window in field amplitude around |phi(c)|~;;15M(Pl). We conclude that a measurement of r<0.16 (for N(e)=50) distinctly rules out a large class of chaotic scenarios and favors small field new inflationary models. As a general consequence, new inflation emerges more favored than chaotic inflation.

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