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Screening and degenerate kinetic self-acceleration from the nonlinear freedom of reconstructed Horndeski theories

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Original languageEnglish
JournalPhysical Review D
Publication statusPublished - 15 Aug 2019


We have previously presented a reconstruction of Horndeski scalar-tensor theories from linear cosmological observables. It includes free nonlinear terms which can be added onto the reconstructed covariant theory without affecting the background and linear dynamics. After discussing the uniqueness of these correction terms, we apply this nonlinear freedom to a range of different applications. First we demonstrate how the correction terms can be configured to endow the reconstructed models with screening mechanisms such as the chameleon, k-mouflage, and Vainshtein effects. A further implication is the existence of classes of Horndeski models that are degenerate with standard cosmology to an arbitrary level in the cosmological perturbations. Particularly interesting examples are kinetically self-accelerating models that mimic the dynamics of the cosmological constant to an arbitrary degree in perturbations. Finally, we develop the reconstruction method further to the level of higher-order effective field theory, which under the restriction to a luminal propagation speed of gravitational waves introduces two new free functions per order. These functions determine the corresponding correction terms in the linearly reconstructed action at the same order. Our results enable the connection of linear cosmological constraints on generalized modifications of gravity and dark energy with the nonlinear regime and astrophysical probes for a more global interpretation of the wealth of forthcoming cosmological survey data.

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