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Thermal properties of an inflationary universe

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2519-2534
Number of pages16
JournalPhysical Review D - Particles, Fields, Gravitation and Cosmology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 15 Aug 1996


An energetic justification of a thermal component during inflation is given. The thermal component can act as a heat reservoir which induces thermal fluctuations on the inflaton field system. We showed previously that such thermal fluctuations could dominate quantum fluctuations in producing the initial seeds of density perturbations. A Langevin-like rate equation is derived from quantum field theory which describes the production of fluctuations in the inflaton field when acted upon by a simple modeled heat reservoir. In a certain limit this equation is shown to reduce to the standard Langevin equation, which we used to construct "warm inflation" scenarios in previous work. A particle physics interpretation of our system-reservoir model is offered.

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