Finding Horndeski theories with Einstein gravity limits

Ryan McManus, Lucas Lombriser, Jorge Peñarrubia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

The Horndeski action is the most general scalar-tensor theory with at most second-order derivatives in the equations of motion, thus evading Ostrogradsky instabilities and making it of interest when modifying gravity at large scales. To pass local tests of gravity, these modifications predominantly rely on nonlinear screening mechanisms that recover Einstein's Theory of General Relativity in regions of high density. We derive a set of conditions on the four free functions of the Horndeski action that examine whether a specific model embedded in the action possesses an Einstein gravity limit or not. For this purpose, we develop a new and surprisingly simple scaling method that identifies dominant terms in the equations of motion by considering formal limits of the couplings that enter through the new terms in the modified action. This enables us to find regimes where nonlinear terms dominate and Einstein's field equations are recovered to leading order. Together with an efficient approximation of the scalar field profile, one can then further evaluate whether these limits can be attributed to a genuine screening effect. For illustration, we apply the analysis to both a cubic galileon and a chameleon model as well as to Brans-Dicke theory. Finally, we emphasise that the scaling method also provides a natural approach for performing post-Newtonian expansions in screened regimes.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages33
JournalJournal of Cosmology and Astroparticle Physics (JCAP)
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 4 Nov 2016


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