Physical cosmology is the study of the largest-scale structures and dynamics of the Universe and is concerned with fundamental questions about its origin, structure, evolution, and ultimate fate.For an overview, see Cosmology as a science originated with the Copernican princip...
Probing inflation with CMB polarization
- Citation data:
AIP Conference Proceedings, ISSN: 0094-243X, Vol: 1141, Page: 10-120
- Publication Year:
- Physics and Astronomy; Physics
conference paper description
We summarize the utility of precise cosmic microwave background (CMB) polarization measurements as probes of the physics of inflation. We focus on the prospects for using CMB measurements to differentiate various inflationary mechanisms. In particular, a detection of primordial B-mode polarization would demonstrate that inflation occurred at a very high energy scale, and that the inflaton traversed a super-Planckian distance in field space. We explain how such a detection or constraint would illuminate aspects of physics at the Planck scale. Moreover, CMB measurements can constrain the scale-dependence and non-Gaussianity of the primordial fluctuations and limit the possibility of a significant isocurvature contribution. Each such limit provides crucial information on the underlying inflationary dynamics. Finally, we quantify these considerations by presenting forecasts for the sensitivities of a future satellite experiment to the inflationary parameters. © 2009 American Institute of Physics.