Gauge-flation is a recently proposed model in which inflation is driven solely by a non-Abelian gauge field thanks to a specific higher order derivative operator. The nature of the operator is such that it does not introduce ghosts. We compute the cosmological scalar and tensor perturbations for this model, improving over an existing computation. We then confront these results with the Planck data. The model is characterized by the quantity γ ≡ g 2Q2/H2 (where g is the gauge coupling constant, Q the vector vev, and H the Hubble rate). For γ < 2, the scalar perturbations show a strong tachyonic instability. In the stable region, the scalar power spectrum ns is too low at small γ, while the tensor-to-scalar ratio r is too high at large γ. No value of γ leads to acceptable values for ns and r, and so the model is ruled out by the CMB data. The same behavior with γ was obtained in Chromo-natural inflation, a model in which inflation is driven by a pseudo-scalar coupled to a non-Abelian gauge field. When the pseudo-scalar can be integrated out, one recovers the model of Gauge-flation plus corrections. It was shown that this identification is very accurate at the background level, but differences emerged in the literature concerning the perturbations of the two models. On the contrary, our results show that the analogy between the two models continues to be accurate also at the perturbative level.
- cosmological perturbation theory
- primordial gravitational waves (theory)