Scale-invariant alternatives to general relativity. II. Dilaton properties
In the present paper, we revisit gravitational theories which are invariant under TDiffs-transverse (volume-preserving) diffeomorphisms and global scale transformations. It is known that these theories can be rewritten in an equivalent diffeomorphism-invariant form with an action including an integration constant (cosmological constant for the particular case of non-scale-invariant unimodular gravity). The presence of this integration constant, in general, breaks explicitly scale invariance and induces a runaway potential for the (otherwise massless) dilaton, associated with the determinant of the metric tensor. We show, however, that if the metric carries mass dimension [GeV](-2), the scale invariance of the system is preserved, unlike the situation in theories in which the metric has mass dimension different from -2. The dilaton remains massless and couples to other fields only through derivatives, without any conflict with observations. We observe that one can define a specific limit for fields and their derivatives (in particular, the dilaton goes to zero, potentially related to the small distance domain of the theory) in which the only singular terms in the action correspond to the Higgs mass and the cosmological constant. We speculate that the self-consistency of the theory may require the regularity of the action, leading to the absence of the bare Higgs mass and cosmological constant, whereas their small finite values may be generated by nonperturbative effects.