Higgs inflation

University essay from Uppsala universitet/Teoretisk fysik

Abstract: In this project a recent model of inflation in which the Standard Model Higgs field with a nonminimal coupling to gravity takes on the role of the inflaton field is investigated. The tensor to scalar ratio, spectral index and the running of the spectral index  is calculated for a tree level analysis and compared with the Planck experiment. The value of the nonminimal coupling constant $\xi$ is estimated by obtaining a relation between the amplitude of scalar perturbations and the Higgs mass, it is found that $\xi \sim 10^4$. The basic aspects of how the results are modified through quantum corrections and what the consequences of the nonminimal coupling are for the effective field theory description is discussed. It is found that a tree level analysis yields predictions which are inside the allowed regions of the cosmological parameters given by the Planck experiment. The large value of the nonminimal coupling leads to unitarity problems for this model of inflation.  However quantum effects will have a significant effect and how they modify the results of the tree level analysis is what decides if Higgs inflation is a viable theory. 

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