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On the importance of heavy fields during inflation

  • Cespedes, Sebastian
  • Atal, Vicente
  • Palma, Gonzalo A.
Published Article
Publication Date
May 07, 2012
Submission Date
Jan 23, 2012
DOI: 10.1088/1475-7516/2012/05/008
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We study the dynamics of two-field models of inflation characterized by a hierarchy of masses between curvature and isocurvature modes. When the hierarchy is large, a low energy effective field theory (EFT) exists in which only curvature modes participate in the dynamics of perturbations. In this EFT heavy fields continue to have a significant role in the low energy dynamics, as their interaction with curvature modes reduces their speed of sound whenever the multi-field trajectory is subject to a sharp turn in target space. Here we analyze under which general conditions this EFT remains a reliable description for the linear evolution of curvature modes. We find that the main condition consists on demanding that the rate of change of the turn's angular velocity stays suppressed with respect to the masses of heavy modes. This adiabaticity condition allows the EFT to accurately describe a large variety of situations in which the multi-field trajectory is subject to sharp turns. To test this, we analyze several models with turns and show that, indeed, the power spectra obtained for both the original two-field theory and its single-field EFT are identical when the adiabaticity condition is satisfied. In particular, when turns are sharp and sudden, they are found to generate large features in the power spectrum, accurately reproduced by the EFT.

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