Post-inflationary non-Gaussianities on the cosmic microwave background

Su, Shi Chun (2015-06-30)


The cosmic microwave background (CMB) provides unprecedented details about the history of our universe and helps to establish the standard model in modern cosmology. With the ongoing and future CMB observations, higher precision can be achieved and novel windows will be opened for studying different phenomena. Non-Gaussianity is one of the most exciting effects which fascinate many cosmologists. While numerous alternative inflationary models predict detectable primordial non-Gaussianities generated during inflation, the single-field slow-roll inflation of the standard model is known to produce negligible non-Gaussianities. However, post-inflationary processes guarantee the generation of non-Gaussianities through the nonlinear evolution of our universe after inflation, regardless of the underlying inflationary theory. These non-Gaussianities not only may contaminate the potential primordial non-Gaussian signals, but also may offer independent tests for late-time physics (such as General Relativity). Therefore, it is of great interest to study them quantitatively. In this thesis, we will study the post-inflationary non-Gaussianities in two main aspects. First, we calculate the CMB bispectrum imprinted by the 2nd-order perturbations during recombination. We carry out a numerical calculation including all the dominant effects at recombination and separate them consistently from the late-time effects. We find that the recombination bispectrum is subdominant compared to the ISW-lensing bispectrum. Although the effect will not be detectable for the Planck mission, its signal-to-noise is large enough that they present themselves as systematics. Thus, it has to be taken into account in future experiments. Second, we formulate the lensing, redshift and time-delay effects through the Boltzmann equation. The new formalism allows us to explicitly list out all the approximations implied in the canonical remapping approach. In particular, we quantify the correction of the CMB temperature power spectrum from the lens-lens couplings and confirm that the correction is small.