Constraining the early universe with primordial black holes

Young, Samuel Mark (2016) Constraining the early universe with primordial black holes. Doctoral thesis (PhD), University of Sussex.

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Inflation is the leading candidate to explain the initial conditions for the Universe we see today. It consists of an epoch of accelerated expansion, and regularly solves many problems with the Big Bang theory. Non-Gaussianity of the primordial curvature perturbation can potentially be used to discriminate between competing models and provide an understanding of the mechanism of inflation.

Whilst inflation is believed to have lasted at least 50 - 60 e-folds, constraints from sources such as the cosmic microwave background (CMB) or large-scale structure of the Universe (LSS) only span the largest 6 - 10 e-folds inside today's Hubble horizon, limiting our ability to constrain the early universe. Strong constraints on the non-Gaussianity on smaller scales. Primordial black holes (PBHs) represent a unique probe to study the small-scale early Universe, placing an upper limit on the primordial power spectrum spanning around 40 e-folds smaller than those visible in the CMB. PBHs are also a viable dark matter candidate.

In this thesis, the effect of non-Gaussianity upon the abundance of PBHs, and the implications of such an effect are considered. It is shown that even smaller non-Gaussianity parameters can have a large effect on the constraints that can be placed on the primordial curvature perturbation power spectrum - which can become stronger or weaker by an order of magnitude. The effects of super-horizon curvature perturbation modes at the time of PBH formation are considered, and it is shown that these have little effect on the formation of a PBH, but can have an indirect effect on the abundance of PBHs due to modal coupling to horizon-scale modes in the presence of non-Gaussianity. By taking into account the effect of modal coupling to CMB-scale modes, many models can be ruled out as a mechanism to produce enough PBHs to constitute dark matter.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Schools and Departments: School of Mathematical and Physical Sciences > Physics and Astronomy
Subjects: Q Science > QB Astronomy > QB0495 Descriptive astronomy > QB0799 Stars > QB0843.A-Z Other particular types of stars, A-Z > QB0843.B55 Black holes
Depositing User: Library Cataloguing
Date Deposited: 19 Oct 2016 14:34
Last Modified: 19 Oct 2016 14:34

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