Symmetron cosmology

Kurt Hinterbichler, Justin Khoury, Aaron Levy, Andrew Matas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

195 Scopus citations


The symmetron is a scalar field associated with the dark sector whose coupling to matter depends on the ambient matter density. The symmetron is decoupled and screened in regions of high density, thereby satisfying local constraints from tests of gravity, but couples with gravitational strength in regions of low density, such as the cosmos. In this paper we derive the cosmological expansion history in the presence of a symmetron field, tracking the evolution through the inflationary, radiation- and matter-dominated epochs, using a combination of analytical approximations and numerical integration. For a broad range of initial conditions at the onset of inflation, the scalar field reaches its symmetry-breaking vacuum by the present epoch, as assumed in the local analysis of spherically symmetric solutions and tests of gravity. For the simplest form of the potential, the energy scale is too small for the symmetron to act as dark energy, hence we must add a cosmological constant to drive late-time cosmic acceleration. We briefly discuss a class of generalized, nonrenormalizable potentials that can have a greater impact on the late-time cosmology, though cosmic acceleration requires a delicate tuning of parameters in this case.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number103521
JournalPhysical Review D - Particles, Fields, Gravitation and Cosmology
Issue number10
StatePublished - Nov 18 2011


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