Tuesday, September 18, 2007
Inflation and dark matter
Andrew Liddle makes the interesting suggestion that inflation and dark matter could have a common source. If the hypothetical 'inflaton' field responsible for inflation actually existed, then, as a quantum field, it would have possessed inflaton particles as excitation quanta of the field. The conventional hypothesis is that, whilst dark matter particles interact gravitationally with the known particles of the Standard Model, they interact very rarely via the non-gravitational forces. As a particular consequence, dark matter neither absorbs nor scatters light from other sources, and, with the possible exception of annihilation processes, dark matter doesn't emit light. Liddle suggests that dark matter consists of inflaton particles left over from the inflationary era of the universe. For Liddle's idea to work, however, it is necessary to suggest that inflatons have no non-gravitational interaction at all with the particles of the Standard Model.