Gauge-preheating and the end of axion inflation

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We study the onset of the reheating epoch at the end of axion-driven inflation where the axion is coupled to an Abelian, U(1), gauge field via a Chern-Simons interaction term. We focus primarily on m22 inflation and explore the possibility that preheating can occur for a range of coupling values consistent with recent observations and bounds on the overproduction of primordial black holes. We find that for a wide range of parameters preheating is efficient. In certain cases the inflaton transfers all of its energy to the gauge fields within a few oscillations. In most cases, we find that the gauge fields on sub-horizon scales end preheating in an unpolarized state due to the existence of strong rescattering between the inflaton and gauge-field modes. We also present a preliminary study of an axion monodromy model coupled to U(1) gauge fields, seeing a similarly efficient preheating behavior as well as indications that the coupling strength has an effect on the creation of oscillons.


Journal of Cosmology and Astroparticle Physics