The cosmological constant problem and gravity in the infrared

Stefanyszyn, David (2016) The cosmological constant problem and gravity in the infrared. PhD thesis, University of Nottingham.

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Abstract

In this thesis we explore low energy extensions of Einstein's theory of General Relativity (GR). Initially our motivation will be the cosmological constant problem where large radiative corrections due to quantum field theories minimally coupled to the dynamical metric in GR leads to unacceptably large space-time curvatures. We will discuss the cosmological constant problem in detail, paying special attention to how it affects the global structure of a space-time whose dynamics are dictated by GR. With this in mind we will present and discuss recently proposed global modifications of GR which in the semi-classical limit sequester the radiatively unstable loop corrections to the cosmological constant from the space-time curvature. This is achieved by supplementing the local dynamics of GR with highly non-trivial global constraints, and we demonstrate how this can be achieved in a theory which is manifestly local. In this theory we will also consider the effects of an early universe phase transition on the late time dynamics.

Away from global modifications of GR we will also consider local modifications which necessarily involve the propagation of new degrees of freedom. We outline the possible screening mechanisms which, since no new gravitational degrees of freedom have been observed in local environments, are an important feature of any local modification of GR. For one of these mechanisms, namely, the Vainshtein mechanism, we will consider the regime of validity of theories which make use of the Vainshtein mechanism and assess suggestions that one can trust these theories beyond the scale we would naively expect them to become strongly coupled. Following this we will move onto the chameleon mechanism, another example of a screening mechanism, and present a high energy extension motivated by the breakdown in the original chameleon theory in the early universe. The interactions of the resulting DBI chameleon theory will be motivated by our discussion of the Vainshtein mechanism.

Item Type: Thesis (University of Nottingham only) (PhD)
Supervisors: Padilla, Antonio
Copeland, Edmund
Subjects: Q Science > QB Astronomy
Q Science > QC Physics > QC170 Atomic physics. Constitution and properties of matter
Faculties/Schools: UK Campuses > Faculty of Science > School of Physics and Astronomy
Item ID: 36036
Depositing User: Stefanyszyn, David
Date Deposited: 14 Dec 2016 06:40
Last Modified: 15 Dec 2016 05:23
URI: http://eprints.nottingham.ac.uk/id/eprint/36036

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