Using the O(N) model as an example, we investigate the self-interaction effects of inflaton on the dynamics of the primordial perturbations. When taking interactions into account, it is essential to employ a self-consistent off-equilibrium formalism to study the evolution of the inflationary background field and its fluctuations with back-reaction effects. Within the Hartree factorization scheme, we show that the O(N) model has at least two observable remains left behind by the off-equilibrium processes: the running spectral index of primordial density perturbations and the correlations between perturbation modes in phase space. We find that the running of the spectral index is fully determined by the rate of the energy transfer from the inflationary background field to its fluctuations via particle creation processes as well as the dynamics of the background field itself. Furthermore, the amplitude of the field fluctuations turns out to be scale dependent due to the off-equilibrium evolution. As a consequence, the scale dependence of fluctuations yields a correlation between the phase-space modes of energy density perturbations, while the one-point function of the fluctuations in each Hartree mode is still Gaussian. More importantly, the mode-mode correlation of the primordial perturbations depends upon the dynamics of the self-interaction as well as the initial conditions of the inflation. Hence, we propose that the running spectral index and the correlation between phase-space modes would be two observable fossils to probe, the epoch of inflation, even beyond.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physics and Astronomy (miscellaneous)