Determining the outcome of cosmic bubble collisions in full general relativity
Abstract
Cosmic bubble collisions provide an important possible observational window on the dynamics of eternal inflation. In eternal inflation, our observable universe is contained in one of many bubbles formed from an inflating metastable vacuum. The collision between bubbles can leave a detectable imprint on the cosmic microwave background radiation. Although phenomenological models of the observational signature have been proposed, to make the theory fully predictive one must determine the bubble collision spacetime, and thus the cosmological observables, from a scalar field theory giving rise to eternal inflation. Because of the intrinsically nonlinear nature of the bubbles and their collision, this requires a numerical treatment incorporating General Relativity. In this paper, we present results from numerical simulations of bubble collisions in full General Relativity. These simulations allow us to accurately determine the outcome of bubble collisions, and examine their effect on the cosmology inside a bubble universe. We confirm the validity of a number of approximations used in previous analytic work, and identify qualitatively new features of bubble collision spacetimes. Both vacuum bubbles and bubbles containing a realistic inflationary cosmology are studied. We identify the constraints on the scalar field potential that must be satisfied in order to obtain collisions that are consistent with our observed cosmology, yet leave detectable signatures.
 Publication:

Physical Review D
 Pub Date:
 April 2012
 DOI:
 10.1103/PhysRevD.85.083516
 arXiv:
 arXiv:1112.4487
 Bibcode:
 2012PhRvD..85h3516J
 Keywords:

 98.80.Cq;
 Particletheory and fieldtheory models of the early Universe;
 High Energy Physics  Theory;
 Astrophysics  Cosmology and Extragalactic Astrophysics;
 General Relativity and Quantum Cosmology
 EPrint:
 37 pages, 26 figures. Accepted to PRD, replaced with minor corrections to match published version