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Browsing by Author "Tomberg, Eemeli"

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  • Tomberg, Eemeli (2016)
    In this thesis, we study the decoherence of cosmological scalar perturbations during inflation. We first discuss the FRW model and cosmic inflation. Inflation is a period of accelerated expansion in the early universe, in typical models caused by a scalar field called inflaton. We review cosmological perturbation theory, where perturbations of the inflaton field and scalar degrees of freedom of the metric tensor are combined into the gauge-invariant Sasaki-Mukhanov variable. We quantize this variable using canonical quantization. Then, we discuss how interactions between the perturbations and their environment can lead to decoherence. In decoherence, the reduced density operator of the perturbations becomes diagonal with respect to a particular pointer basis. We argue that the pointer basis for the cosmological scalar perturbations consists of approximate eigenstates of the field value operator. Finally, we discuss how decoherence can help understand the transition from quantum theory to classical perturbation theory, and justify the standard treatment of perturbations and their initial conditions in cosmology. We conclude that since decoherence should not spoil the observationally successful predictions of this standard treatment, it is unlikely that the actual amount of decoherence could be observed in, say, the CMB radiation.