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Publication# A naturally light dilaton

Abstract

Goldstone's theorem does not apply straightforwardly to the case of spontaneously broken scale invariance. We elucidate under what conditions a light scalar degree of freedom, identifiable with the dilaton, can naturally arise. Our construction can be considered an explicit dynamical solution to the cosmological constant problem in the scalar version of gravity.

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Scale invariance

In physics, mathematics and statistics, scale invariance is a feature of objects or laws that do not change if scales of length, energy, or other variables, are multiplied by a common factor, and th

Cosmological constant problem

In cosmology, the cosmological constant problem or vacuum catastrophe is the disagreement between the observed values of vacuum energy density (the small value of the cosmological constant) and theo

Differential equation

In mathematics, a differential equation is an equation that relates one or more unknown functions and their derivatives. In applications, the functions generally represent physical quantities, the

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We study the general class of gravitational field theories constructed on the basis of scale invariance (and therefore absence of any mass parameters) and invariance under transverse diffeomorphisms, which are the 4-volume conserving coordinate transformations. We show that these theories are equivalent to a specific type of scalar-tensor theories of gravity (invariant under all diffeomorphisms) with a number of properties, making them phenomenologically interesting. They contain, in addition to the dimensionless coupling constants of the original theory, an arbitrary dimensionful parameter Lambda(0). This parameter is associated with an integration constant of the equations of motion, similar to the arbitrary cosmological constant appearing in unimodular gravity. We focus on the theories where Newton's constant and the electroweak scale emerge from the spontaneous breaking of scale invariance and are unrelated to Lambda(0). The massless particle spectrum of these theories contains the graviton and a new particle-dilaton. For Lambda(0) = 0, the massless dilaton has only derivative couplings to matter fields and the bounds on the existence of a 5th force are easily satisfied. As for the matter fields, we determine the conditions leading to a renormalizable low-energy theory. If Lambda(0) not equal 0, scale invariance is broken. The arbitrary constant Lambda(0) produces a "run-away" potential for the dilaton. As a consequence, the dilaton can act as a dynamical dark energy component. We elucidate the origin of the cosmological constant in the class of theories under consideration and formulate the condition leading to its absence. If this condition is satisfied, dark energy is purely dynamical and associated to the dilaton.

2011Currently, the best theoretical description of fundamental matter and its gravitational interaction is given by the Standard Model (SM) of particle physics and Einstein's theory of General Relativity (GR). These theories contain a number of seemingly unrelated scales. While Newton's gravitational constant and the mass of the Higgs boson are parameters in the classical action, the masses of other elementary particles are due to the electroweak symmetry breaking. Yet other scales, like ΛQCD associated to the strong interaction, only appear after the quantization of the theory. We reevaluate the idea that the fundamental theory of nature may contain no fixed scales and that all observed scales could have a common origin in the spontaneous break-down of exact scale invariance. To this end, we consider a few minimal scale-invariant extensions of GR and the SM, focusing especially on their cosmological phenomenology. In the simplest considered model, scale invariance is achieved through the introduction of a dilaton field. We find that for a large class of potentials, scale invariance is spontaneously broken, leading to induced scales at the classical level. The dilaton is exactly massless and practically decouples from all SM fields. The dynamical break-down of scale invariance automatically provides a mechanism for inflation. Despite exact scale invariance, the theory generally contains a cosmological constant, or, put in other words, flat spacetime need not be a solution. We next replace standard gravity by Unimodular Gravity (UG). This results in the appearance of an arbitrary integration constant in the equations of motion, inducing a run-away potential for the dilaton. As a consequence, the dilaton can play the role of a dynamical dark-energy component. The cosmological phenomenology of the model combining scale invariance and unimodular gravity is studied in detail. We find that the equation of state of the dilaton condensate has to be very close to the one of a cosmological constant. If the spacetime symmetry group of the gravitational action is reduced from the group of all diffeomorphisms (Diff) to the subgroup of transverse diffeomorphisms (TDiff), the metric in general contains a propagating scalar degree of freedom. We show that the replacement of Diff by TDiff makes it possible to construct a scale-invariant theory of gravity and particle physics in which the dilaton appears as a part of the metric. We find the conditions under which such a theory is a viable description of particle physics and in particular reproduces the SM phenomenology. The minimal theory with scale invariance and UG is found to be a particular case of a theory with scale and TDiff invariance. Moreover, cosmological solutions in models based on scale and TDiff invariance turn out to generically be similar to the solutions of the model with UG. In usual quantum field theories, scale invariance is anomalous. This might suggest that results based on classical scale invariance are necessarily spoiled by quantum corrections. We show that this conclusion is not true. Namely, we propose a new renormalization scheme which allows to construct a class of quantum field theories that are scale-invariant to all orders of perturbation theory and where the scale symmetry is spontaneously broken. In this type of theory, all scales, including those related to dimensional transmutation, like ΛQCD, appear as a consequence of the spontaneous break-down of the scale symmetry. The proposed theories are not renormalizable. Nonetheless, they are valid effective theories below a field-dependent cut-off scale. If the scale-invariant renormalization scheme is applied to the presented minimal scale-invariant extensions of GR and the SM, the goal of having a common origin of all scales, spontaneous breaking of scale invariance, is achieved.

Recent analyses of cosmological data suggest the presence of an extra relativistic component beyond the Standard Model content. The Higgs-Dilaton cosmological model predicts the existence of a massless particle - the dilaton - associated with the spontaneous symmetry breaking of scale invariance and undetectable by any accelerator experiment. Its ultrarelativistic character makes it a suitable candidate for contributing to the effective number of light degrees of freedom in the Universe. In this Letter we analyze the dilaton production at the (p)reheating stage right after inflation and conclude that no extra relativistic degrees of freedom beyond those already present in the Standard Model are expected within the simplest Higgs-Dilaton scenario. The elusive dilaton remains thus essentially undetectable by any particle physics experiment or cosmological observation. (C) 2012 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.