Journal article

Constraints on single-field inflation

Many alternatives to canonical slow-roll inflation have been proposed over the years, one of the main motivations being to have a model, capable of generating observable values of non-Gaussianity. In this work, we (re-)explore the physical implications of a great majority of such models within a single, effective field theory framework (including novel models with large non-Gaussianity discussed for the first time below). The constraints we apply both theoretical and experimental are found to be rather robust, determined to a great extent by just three parameters: the coefficients of the quadratic EFT operators (delta N)(2) and delta N delta E, and the slow-roll parameter epsilon. This allows to significantly limit the majority of single-field alternatives to canonical slow-roll inflation. While the existing data still leaves some room for most of the considered models, the situation would change dramatically if the current upper limit on the tensor-to-scalar ratio decreased down to r < 10(-2). Apart from inflationary models driven by plateau-like potentials, the single-field model that would have a chance of surviving this bound is the recently proposed slow-roll inflation with weakly-broken galileon symmetry. In contrast to canonical slow-roll inflation, the latter model can support r < 10(-2) even if driven by a convex potential, as well as generate observable values for the amplitude of non-Gaussianity.


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