Ghost instabilities of cosmological models with vector fields nonminimally coupled to the curvature

Burak Himmetoglu, Carlo R. Contaldi, Marco Peloso

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123 Scopus citations


We prove that many cosmological models characterized by vectors nonminimally coupled to the curvature (such as the Turner-Widrow mechanism for the production of magnetic fields during inflation, and models of vector inflation or vector curvaton) contain ghosts. The ghosts are associated with the longitudinal vector polarization present in these models and are found from studying the sign of the eigenvalues of the kinetic matrix for the physical perturbations. Ghosts introduce two main problems: (1) they make the theories ill defined at the quantum level in the high energy/subhorizon regime (and create serious problems for finding a well-behaved UV completion), and (2) they create an instability already at the linearized level. This happens because the eigenvalue corresponding to the ghost crosses zero during the cosmological evolution. At this point the linearized equations for the perturbations become singular (we show that this happens for all the models mentioned above). We explicitly solve the equations in the simplest cases of a vector without a vacuum expectation value in a Friedmann-Robertson-Walker geometry, and of a vector with a vacuum expectation value plus a cosmological constant, and we show that indeed the solutions of the linearized equations diverge when these equations become singular.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number123530
JournalPhysical Review D - Particles, Fields, Gravitation and Cosmology
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 28 2009


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