Date of Award

Spring 5-16-2015

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Department

Physics

First Advisor

John T. Giblin, Jr.

Abstract

Inflation seems to be the most compelling explanation for the expansion of the universe. Alone, the rapid expansion of the universewould result in a much lower temperature than necessary for nucleosynthesis. To counteract this temperature discrepancy, we introduce reheating, a process of thermalizing the universe after inflation. Normally, most toy models simply use scalar fields to produce reheating. By coupling gauge fields to a scalar inflaton, however, parametric resonance and tachyonic dynamics may be introduced into an inflationary model. The introduction of the gauge fields provides a much more efficient mechanism through which radiative energy that would otherwise be trapped in the inflaton’s potential can be released. In addition to being more efficient at reheating, gauge fields add more plausibility to the model as gauge fields prove to be underlying factors in most of physics. Specifically, we studied Abelian gauge fields with U(1) symmetry. Using our Grid and Bubble Evolver(GABE), a lattice evolving program, we parameterize the coupling constant between the gauge and scalar fields. This parameterization allows us to probe for the most efficient reheating. Ideally, the model can be extended to study SU(2) symmetry, probing deeper into interesting , non-Abelian physics, such as the electroweak interaction.

Share

COinS